New course, new sponsor
La Solitaire du Figaro course for 2011 has been announced today at the Paris Boat Show. For the first time the route will comprise four French towns and one foreign. Also announced was Eric Bompard Cashmere’s commitment as main partner for the next three editions.
Eric Bompard, CEO of Eric Bompard Cashmere and Francis Morel, General Director of the Figaro Group are delighted with their agreement. “Mr Bompard showed particular interest in strengthening this relationship last year into today’s announced partnership that we are so pleased to announce. We are very happy that Eric Bompard Cashmere is consolidating its commitment to the Figaro Group by becoming, as well as a faithful advertiser, also as the main partner of La Solitaire. The Figaro Group shall be proud to display the colours of the new partnership as of the summer of 2011” said Francis Morel.
“Following a wonderful season on La Soliaire last August with the Edic Bompard boat we studied with great care the proposal for to be the Figaro’s title partner for the next three years. We accepted this joint adventure with great enthusiasm thanks to the values that the event and our company share,” said Eric Bompard.
Next year the single-handed sailors in La Solitaire du Figaro will sail a 1,695 nautical mile race in a traditional format with four legs. It will be back to basics with Perros-Guirec and the Brittany Region inaugurate the festivities. Over 23-31 July the seaside town will prepare a lively welcome for the competitors.
On 31 July the competitors will set off on the 320 nautical mile leg towards Caen. Although 160 miles long, the course of the first leg does not follow the direct route as competitors will have to follow the British coastline before sailing down into the Bay of Seine. The main town of Lower Normandy, where the harbour and the race village are ideally placed in the centre of town, shall welcome for one week thousands of visitors curious to meet the skippers. Following several days rest, the fleet shall set sail once again on 7 August on leg two, 470 nautical miles, towards Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.
After leaving the Bay of Seine, a 40-mile or so run, the first obstacle of leg two will be rounding the Barfleur Point. The course remains inshore, as the competitors head for the Cape de Hague and then the Channel Islands. It will be compulsory to leave the islands of Aurigny, Herm and Guernsey to starboard. The skippers will then cross the English Channel, 120 nautical miles to Land’s End. The last third of the course is a sail almost due North over 190 nautical miles to Dún Laoghaire harbour, southeast of Dublin. Ireland will be the only non-French stop-over of the 2011 course. Crew will be welcomed by the National Yacht Club.
After a few days rest and recuperation, the fleet then will set sail on 14 August to legendary harbour of Les Sables d’Olonne. The third leg is long at 475 nautical miles, due south for over 300 nautical miles. The Grand Basse de Portsall buoy will mark the entrance to a coastal run down the French coast after the sailors have left Ushant to starboard.
In 2007, the Vendée harbour celebrated Michel Desjoyeaux’s Solitaire victory. Since then, the General Council and the town have been strongly committed to sailing, always ready to welcome sailors of all walks of life - most notably the Vendée Globe skippers.
Finally, to conclude the 42nd Solitaire du Figaro, the 430 mile long fourth leg which will take the Figaro Bénéteau 2s from Les Sables d’Olonne to Dieppe. Unlike the first three legs, this one is 100% inshore, with Île d’Yeu and Belle Île and Ushant left to port. For the second part of the race, from Ushant to the top of Cotentin peninsula is 130 nautical miles, the course will be clearer, the only course mark being the isle of Aurigny, to be left to port. The last miles along the coast approaching the Cape d'Antifer will be the final obstacle of the race. The course, although coastal, will be very open and full of surprises. The finish in Northern Normandy is expected on 24 August. The race will conclude with a traditional closing parade on Sunday 28 August.
"The 2011 edition is a particularly selective competition through four legs equal in distance, but fraught with pitfalls. All throughout the course, the skippers will have to negotiate a great number of obstacles close to shore. The skipper, to achieve a faultless performance, will be in a league of his/her own," says Jacques Caraës, Race Director of La Solitaire du Figaro.