Solitaire du Figaro

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2011 Fleet in Dún Laoghaire

The Solitaire du Figaro, previously called the Course de l'Aurore, is a solo multi-stage sailing race created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.[1] The unique character of the race, the presence of great solo sailors and its being open to amateurs, has made it one of the most cherished races in French sailing.


From 1970 to 1979 the race was organised by the newspaper L'Aurore. In 1980 the daily newspaper Le Figaro bought out L'Aurore and became the principal sponsor of the event.

From 2003, the eyewear company Alain Afflelou was an associate sponsor. The official name of the race became La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro. Since 2008, the motor manufacturer Suzuki replaced them, and the race became named La Solitaire du Figaro Suzuki.

Since 2011 the title sponsor of the race has been Eric Bompard Cachemire, a French fashion house specialising in cashmere garments.

The characteristics of the race are:

  • It starts around the end of July from a French port.
  • The race is split into 4 stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average. Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.


In early races, boats were all from the same series. Since 1980, the race used prototype half-tonners.[2]

In 1991, the Solitaire du Figaro made the milestone of becoming a One-Design race. The race organisers chose the Figaro Bénéteau (now called Figaro Bénéteau I) designed by Group Finot and Jean Berret.

Since 2003, a new design called Figaro Bénéteau II has been used, a modernised, more powerful version.

Past winners


All places are in France unless otherwise stated.


1st stage: Les Sables-d'Olonne - Getxo/Bilbao (Spain)
2nd stage: Getxo/Bilbao - La Rochelle
3rd stage: La Rochelle - Dingle (Ireland)
4th stage: Dingle - Saint-Nazaire - 1979 nmi
  • Overall results:
  1. Armel Le Cléac'h (Créaline) in 327h 08min 19s
  2. Alain Gautier (Foncia) +13s
  3. Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) +1h 26min 17s

42 skippers started, 42 finished.


1st stage: Caen - Portsmouth (England)
2nd stage: Portsmouth - Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
3rd stage: Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie - Gijón (Spain)
4th stage: Gijon - Quiberon - 1373 nmi

51 competitors.

  • Overall results:
  1. Charles Caudrelier (Bostik Findley) in 220h 53min 54s
  2. Yann Éliès (Groupe Generali Assurances) +52min 35s
  3. Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore) +1h 24min 35s

52 skippers started, 52 finished.


1st stage: Perros-Guirec - Getxo-Bilbao (Spain) - 390 nmi
2nd stage: Getxo-Bilbao - La Rochelle - 368 nmi
3rd stage: La Rochelle - Cork (Ireland) - 456 nmi
4th stage: Cork - Talmont-Saint-Hilaire - 496 nmi
  • Overall results:
  1. Jérémie Beyou France (Delta Dore) in 248h 49min 20s
  2. Michel Desjoyeaux France (Géant) +1h 20min 54s
  3. Kito de Pavant France (Groupe Bel) +1h 58min 41s
  4. Gildas Morvan France (Cercle Vert) +2h 17min 9s
  5. Yann Eliès France (Groupe Generali Assurances) +2h 24min 22s
  6. Laurent Pellecuer France (Cliptol Sport) +2h 29min 45s
  7. Frédéric Duthil France (Brossard) +2h 35min 53s
  8. Pietro d'Ali Italy (Nanni Diesel) +3h 5min 12s, first newcomer
  9. Erwan Tabarly France (Thales) +3h 13min 3s
  10. Charles Caudrelier France (Bostik) +3h 18min 57s

46 skippers started, 42 finished.


1st stage: Cherbourg-Octeville - Santander (Spain) - 590 nmi
2nd stage: Santander - Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie - 314 nmi
3rd stage: Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie - Dingle (Ireland) - 549 nmi
4th stage: Dingle - Concarneau - 449 nmi

Started 6 August 2006, with 44 competitors.

  • Overall results:
  1. Nicolas Troussel France (Financo) in 297h 01min 56s
  2. Thierry Chabagny France (Littoral) +1h 56min 55s
  3. Gérald Véniard France (Scutum) +3h 55min 28s
  4. Armel Le Cléac'h France (Brit Air) +5h 20min 20s
  5. Yann Éliès France (Groupe Generali assurances) +6h 33min 07s
  6. Charles Caudrelier France (Bostik) +6h 57min 50s
  7. Erwan Tabarly France (Iceberg Finance) +6h 58min 36s
  8. Oliver Krauss France (AXA Plaisance) +7h 21min 53s
  9. Eric Drouglazet France ( +7h 49min 08s
  10. Kito de Pavant France (Groupe Bel) +7h 58min 03s


Started 29 July 2007, with 50 competitors.

1st stage: Caen - Crosshaven (Ireland) - 425 nmi
2nd stage: Crosshaven- Brest - 344 nmi
3rd stage: Brest - A Coruña (Spain) - (shortened to 542 nmi)
4th stage: A Coruña - Les Sables-d'Olonne - 355 nmi

After ten competitions, Michel Desjoyeaux was the third French sailor to win his third Figaro race, this one being marked by strong winds (as much as 50 knots (58 mph; 93 km/h) in the last two stages which crossed the Gulf of Gascogne.

  • Overall results:
  1. Michel Desjoyeaux France (Foncia) in 247h 20min 47sec
  2. Frédéric Duthil France (Distinxion) +26 min 38s
  3. Corentin Douguet France (Leclerc/Bouygues Telecom) +1h 03min 50s
  4. Nicolas Troussel France (Financo) +1h 41min 26s
  5. Gildas Mahé France (Le Comptoir Immobilier) +2h 14min 23s
  6. Eric Drouglazet France (Luisina) +2h 39min 05s
  7. Gérald Veniard France (Scutum) +3h 16min 53s
  8. Gildas Morvan France (Cercle Vert) +3h 19min 48s
  9. Thomas Rouxel France (Défi Mousquetaires) +3h 29min 34s
  10. Marc Lepesqueux France (Rapid’Flore Caen-La-Mer) +4h 01min 11s

Nicolas Lunven in Bostik finished first newcomer in 14th place.


Started 25 July 2008, with 50 competitors.

1st stage: La Rochelle - Vigo (Spain) - shortened to 320 nmi
2nd stage: Vigo - Cherbourg-Octeville - 575 nmi
3rd stage: Cherbourg-Octeville - l'Aber Wrac'h - (shortened to 471 nmi)
  • Overall results:
  1. Nicolas Troussel France (Financo) in 226h 32min 51sec
  2. Gildas Morvan France (Cercle Vert) +2h 22min 15sec
  3. Frédéric Duthil France (Distinxion) +3h 34min 38s
  4. Erwan Tabarly France (Athema) +3h 53min 57sec
  5. Jeanne Grégoire France (Banque Populaire) +4h 54min 50sec
  6. Christopher Pratt France (DCNS 97) 4h 55min 37s
  7. Nicolas Bérenger France (KONE Ascenceurs) +5h 03min 54s
  8. Gildas Mahé France (Le Comptoir Immobilier) +5h 52min 27s
  9. Laurent Pellecuer France (Docteur Valnet aromathérapie) +5h 52min 46s
  10. Thierry Chabagny France (SUZUKI Automobiles) +6h 23min 08s

François Gabart in Espoir Région Bretagne finished first newcomer in 16th place.

Nicolas Troussel won a race marked by a windless first stage in which he "tué la course" ("killed the race", leading to the neologism "Do a Troussel", in French: faire une Troussel) by arriving six hours ahead.[6] It was his second victory in the race.


Started 30 July 2009 for the 40th race, with 52 competitors.

1st stage: Lorient - A Coruña (Spain) - 345 nmi
2nd stage: A Coruña - Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie 365 nmi
3rd stage: Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie- Dingle (Ireland) - 485 nmi
4th stage: Dingle- Dieppe - 511 nmi
  • Overall results:
  1. Nicolas Lunven (CGPI) in 285h 56min 55s
  2. Yann Éliès (Generali) +20min 29s
  3. Frédéric Duthil (Bbox Bouygues Télécom) +26min 14s


  1. Vangilve, Perrine (26 July 2009). "Solitaire du Figaro 40 ans d'histoire" (in French). Le Télé Retrieved 5 August 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Schreiner, Laurence (28 July 2009). "Solitaire : une quarantième pour entrer dans l'histoire" (in French). Le Figaro. Retrieved 12 August 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "1981: Arrivée de la dernière étape de la course du Figaro" (Video). Retrieved 5 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "1981: Portrait de Sylvain Rosier, vainqueur de la course du Figaro" (Video). Retrieved 5 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "1986: Dernière étape de la course du Figaro" (Video). Retrieved 5 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Guyader, Jacques (29 July 2008). "Solitaire du Figaro : Nicolas Troussel frappe un grand coup" (in French). Retrieved August 2010. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links