Solitaire du Figaro preview

41 singlehanders to take place in the singlehanded offshore racing world championship this August
The annual Solitaire du Figaro sets sail on 4 August from Boulogne-sur-Mer. Many view this as the effective world championship of singlehanded offshore racing. The race is sailed one up in one design 30ft Beneteau Figaro Solos, so aside from typical one design tweaks to the boat, results are entirely down to the skill of the skipper in the many disciplines necessary to do well in this type of racing. This includes everything basically, from steering, trimming, navigation, tactics to more mundane but no less vital aspects such as the ability to fix things should they go wrong or break. But in addition there are some challenging personal disciplines necessary to do well in this race - like sailing flat out for 3-4 day periods virtually without sleep (the four legs are each around 350-450 miles in length). This event is worthy of the 1980s yuppie adage 'sleep is for losers'. Leg one runs from Boulogne-sur-Mer along the south coast of the UK around Land's End and up to Crosshaven in southern Ireland where the boats are expected to arrive on 8 August. Three days later they depart Ireland for the Vendee Globe start/finish port of Les Sables d'Olonne. Leg three kicks off on 18 August and heads up to Belle Ile and then doglegs south to Gijon in northern Spain. The final leg starts on 25 August and sees the boats heading back north into the Channel to the finish line in Cherbourg Octeville where the fleet are due on 29 August. This year numbers are down and there are none of the French 'rock stars' such as class regulars Florence Arthaud and Philippe Poupon taking part. This is for a variety of reasons - it is a Route du Rhum year, but more significantly this is the