Taversham’s Wine Auctioneers is sponsoring Ben Beasley Sailing in one of the toughest Yacht Races on the Yachting Calendar. Recognised as the unofficial world championships of solo offshore racing.
The Solitaire du Figaro, originally called the Course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.
In 1980, Le Figaro newspaper bought the event and it has carried the name ever since.
Its founders wanted to create a solo race with two stages and without assistance for the skippers which was open to both professionals and amateurs. Over the years, it has become one of the most prestigious sailing races in France, and is considered the ‘unofficial world championship’ of solo offshore sailing.
The race historically starts from France with a total course between 1,500 and 2,000 miles. The first twelve participants had to cross the Bay of Biscay twice, from Brest to Laredo (then Santander in 1971), before going back to Pornic. Two years later a third stage was added to include a Channel crossing and even the Irish Sea before the Bay of Biscay. The race continued to develop with with four stages between France, Ireland and Spain introduced in 1977.
Over half a decade since it was launched, the race has created some of France’s top offshore sailors. In 2019, the latest generation foiling Figaro Beneteau 3 was introduced which elevated interest in the race once again.
Recognised as the unofficial world championships of solo offshore racing, the race is fiercely competitive. In 2023, as many as 30 skippers are expected on the start line in Saint-Brieuc in north-west France to take on 1,830 miles of Europe’s roughest waters, including some of world’s best ocean racers as well as ambitious young Rookies.
The Race starts Sunday 27th August and Finishes Wednesday 13th September 2023.