Cowes Harbour is set to host some of the world’s top solo sailors in 2016 when the 47th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro arrives in Cowes next June. As many as 40 skippers are expected on the Solitaire start line next year, as a fleet formed of the best ocean racers and ambitious young rookies prepares to take on 1,425 miles of Europe’s roughest waters, single-handed.
Cowes was confirmed as the UK’s only race stopover during the Paris Boat Show earlier this month, after the Island’s main tourism body Visit Isle of Wight, and local stakeholders from ‘Destination Cowes’ including Cowes Harbour Commission, Cowes Town Council, Cowes Yacht Haven, Cowes Business Association and Red Funnel pledged their support. CHC will provide a package of in-kind support to the event, including harbour safety management, subsidised visitor moorings and branding opportunities.
La Solitaire du Figaro is one of the world’s toughest sailing competitions. Fiercely competitive, the race is recognised as the world championships of solo offshore racing, with the course taking just over a month to complete. Requiring a unique skill set and a raw ambition present in so few, La Solitaire du Figaro pushes competitors to the edges of their physical and mental limits.
For the first time in the race’s history, the 2016 edition of La Solitaire du Figaro will make a stopover at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Starting Leg 1 from Deauville in France on 19th June, the fleet will race the longest 510-mile leg across The English Channel, around the south of the Isle of Wight to Lands’ End, before heading east along the UK south coast towards the finish line in Cowes.
The Solitaire du Figaro Race Village will offer five days of fun family entertainment in Cowes, including food markets, a drinks bar, live music in the Race Village and “Try Sailing” for all on the Solent. Alongside the racing and live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive stands and activities to entertain the public.
Expected to arrive on the Isle of Wight around 22nd June, La Solitaire du Figaro will stay in the UK until Sunday, 26th June, when the fleet will set sail on Leg 2 (475nm) to Paimpol in Brittany.
From Paimpol, the fleet will race 310nm to La Rochelle, then to end the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro, competitors will race a final 160nm around Île de Ré, an island linked to La Rochelle by an impressive bridge. The 2016 Solitaire du Figaro will finish in La Rochelle on 7th July.