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The 2023 La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec will see 33 skippers competing over a 3 stage course of nearl

The 54th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec is set to start from Caen (Calvados, Normandy) on Sunday August 27 in Caen (Calvados) and will see 33 solo racers competing this year.

The pinnacle annual event on the solo offshore racing calendar will be contested over three stages, each of over 600 miles, between Caen and Piriac-sur-Mer (on the French Loire-Atlantique coast) with short stopovers in Kinsale, Ireland and Roscoff on the Bay of Morlaix.

The high level field of 33 solo sailors this time includes 11 rookies or bizuths (racing La Solitaire for their first time) and seven solo skippers from outside of France including Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan), who is aiming for a podium finish on his sixth participation, looking to better his career best fifth overall in 2020 and seventh last year and Germany’s 49er FX silver medalist Susann Buecke (This Race is Female). Kiwi Ben Beasley (Ocean Attitude) has been training hard in France and is looking to make his best impression among the rookie fleet.

Three stages of more than 600 nautical miles

The course has been designed by Yann Chateau, Race Director of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec and comprises three different kinds of stages, each of more than 600 nautical miles:

  • Caen to Kinsale (610 nautical miles ),

  • Kinsale – Bay of Morlaix (630 nms)

  • Bay of Morlaix – Piriac-sur-Mer (620 nms), total of 1860 nms

A major partner of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec who are committed until 2026, the Loire-Atlantique region will once again host the finish of the race.

Once more the design of the course should see the solo racers spend four days and nights at sea on each stage followed by a short recovery ashore. The race is the ultimate test of solo offshore racing, pushing sailors close to their limits by testing speed and stamina, the ability to manage oneself and keep performing to the highest level – making good strategic navigational decisions and sailing consistently fast, when extremely tired.

This year La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec will also incorporate short coastal races within the first hour after the start of each stage which will accumulate towards the Paprec Trophy. These should prove a great show for the assembled spectators.

And the intermediate sprints, introduced last year, will be repeated this year: on each stage, the first to arrive at a defined crossing point will gain a 5 minutes bonus, the 2nd will get 3 minutes and the 3rd of 1 minute, which will be deducted from their elapsed race time.

A high level !

The entry for this 54th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec reflects a high level with a number of sailors all with the capacity to win.

Notable is the comeback of Alexis Loison (Groupe REEL) who will compete for the 17th time. He finished 2nd in the Solo Maître CoQ early in the year but faces up to a posse of young talent, not least fellow Normandy skipper Guillaume Pirouelle, the winner of Spi Ouest France a few months ago and the Solo Guy Cotten a few days ago who Loison mentored when he transitioned from the 470 Olympic dinghy to solo offshore competition.

Pirouelle skipper of Région Normandie, 2nd overall and 1st bizuth in the general classification last year in theory is favourite having pushed Tom Laperche hard to the title last year. Among Pirouelle’s closest rivals will be Loïs Berrehar (Skipper MACIF 2022), winner of the Transat Paprec with Charlotte Yven (Skipper MACIF 2023). Then there is Gaston Morvan (Région Bretagne – CMB Performance) and Basile Bourgnon (EDENRED), respectively 3rd and 1st bizuth of the 2022 Elite Offshore Racing France Championship. And in with a fighting chance of becoming the first female to win overall is Elodie Bonnafous (Queguiner La Vie en Rose), 8th in La Solitaire du Figaro last year, whilst the experienced Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) has proven fast and opend the season winning the Solo Maître CoQ.

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This year, 11 bizuths will line up at the start of the race with the ambition, for some, to win the Beneteau Trophy for Bizuths. Among them: Hugo Dhallenne, who showed all his talent on the Mini circuit by winning all but one race in 2021, including the Mini Transat. Among the bizuths are New Zealander Ben Beasley (Ocean Attitude) who worked as a preparateur on the last race; Romain Bouillard (Page Blanche); Pierre Daniellot (Team Vendée Formation), who sailed with Charlotte Yven in 2021 and 2022; and Laurent Givry (Cap Horn). Other former Mini racers include Edouard Golbery (Race for Science – Verder), who participated in the Transat Paprec with Alicia de Pfyffer; Romain Le Gall (Centre Excellence Voile Secours Populaire 17) and Julie Simon, 1st bizuth of the Solo Maître CoQ 2023. Victor Le Pape (Région Bretagne CMB Espoir) and Anthony Quentin (Hace Alur) will complete the rookie line-up.

This year, seven non French will compete for the Vivi Trophy including Beucke who debuted as 7th Bizuth last year and who raced on The Ocean Race on the IMOCA Holcim – PRB) and Britons Piers Copham (Voiles des Anges) and David Paul ( a Drop); the Swiss Nils Palmieri who had a good La Solitaire du Figaro last year and the Irishman Dolan.

So who will succeed legendary past winners such as Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Jean Le Cam, Armel Le Cléac'h, Yann Eliès, Jérémie Beyou and of course Tom Laperche winner of the last edition? Who will write his name on the trophy of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec this year?

They said :

Sébastien Petithuguenin, CEO of the Paprec Group:

"The Figaro circuit reflects French excellence. Its accessibility allows young sailors to forge a solid experience at a controlled cost. Indeed, amateurs, beginners or experienced, can confront themselves on equal terms and show their ability to surpass themselves: perseverance, work, commitment, are values that Paprec teams share with these sailors. This is how we became the French leader in recycling, a major player in waste management and green energy production! Contested on monohull boats designed to last a long time, the races of this circuit are also the most ecological. After the Transat Paprec, we are particularly happy and proud to also give our name this year to this mythical and demanding race that is the Solitaire du Figaro Paprec."

Michel Ménard, President of the Loire-Atlantique Department:

"With an arrival in Piriac-sur-Mer in 2023, the ambition of the Loire-Atlantique Department is still to contribute to making La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec a great sporting moment, as well as a popular event, open to all. It is also a great opportunity to discover the great diversity of our territory and the strong relationship it has with its coastline and the world of boating.

Joseph Bizard, Managing Director OC Sport Pen Duick:

"The Solitaire du Figaro Paprec, 54th edition, has a high level field composed in particular of 11 bizuths and 6 foreign skippers. A breeding ground for talent, it will once again pitch seasoned sailors against the future stars of offshore racing on a race which always brings its share of surprises.

Jean-Bernard Le Boucher, Head of Classe Figaro Beneteau : “In one month, 33 sailors, including 5 women and 6 foreigners, will line up aboard their Figaro BENETEAU 3 at the start of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec. As in previous years, the field is high level and the race promises a great show. The Figaro Bénéteau Class is delighted to reconnect with stages abroad. We will be happy and proud to find the sailors engaged in Kinsale and to present to the 11 rookies these three long stages which will reveal new talents. The Figaro Beneteau Class is pleased, once again this year, to collaborate with OC Sport Pen Duick and the French Sailing Federation for the organization of this flagship event registered in the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship. Who will succeed Tom Laperche, the big winner of the 53rd edition? The games are open! We look forward to enthusiastically following these sailors who have not finished surprising us. »

Jean-Luc Denéchau, Head of Fédération Française de Voile : “The Solitaire du Figaro Paprec, 5th and last stage of the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship, is a benchmark event as much acclaimed by sailors as by the public who are passionate about this demanding offshore race. This solo race is a great opportunity for each competitor to showcase their management skills for a high-level sailing sports project and to showcase all their sporting skills. This new edition, the 54th, promises to be as exciting as it is difficult, and I wish all the sailors, women and men, a great race. »