La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro - the challenge!

La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro single-handed race is run in stages of about 500 miles each. It is known as the preparatory event for sailors contemplating the Vendee Globe, the non-stop around the world solo challengethat is the ultimate test of endurance on the high seas. Our 'niece', Joan Mulloy has her sights set on the Vendee and this year entered the Solitaire to test her mettle.

We happened to have our boat in Portosin in Galicia, Spain and were able to be there when the Solitaire came in to port on leg 2. It was a 520 mile jaunt across Biscay and the first time Joan had sailed around the Costa del Morte. It was great fun to welcome the sailors in, who naturally came in during the night. Simon Sebastiane won the leg.

Joan, whose halyard had failed just before the start of the leg, had to go back to her team, replace the halyard which they did in record time, and return to the start. Then she had to fight her way to the back of the fleet and claw her way through them. For that effort she was rewarded with a special €1000 prize. That was really something. From among 36 sailors, Joan was recognized as having fighting spirit. Cool. Her sponsor for Taste the Atlantic - A Seafood Journey, BIM, must be very happy. We wrote an article for Afloat magazine here and here.
Helicopters chasing boats in the Ria
When I asked Joan, "are you still game to do the Vendee Globe?" her response was an emphatic , "hell yes." My money is on Joanto make it to the start and to finish with extreme grace. She is cool under pressure and focused to succeed.

We got to spend some time with Joan and teammate, Irishman Tom Dolan of Smurfit Kappa. Very special young people they are. We wish them fair winds and dreams fulfilled. They departed on leg 3 back to France in light air after a 1.5 hour start delay and three general recalls. That could not have been easy on the nerves. The going back across Biscay is slow.

Sebastiane Simon coming in just after 3 am.

Tom Dolan on arrival in Portosin

Joan Mulloy crossing the finish line 

The fleet lined up at the RCNP

Joan receives special prize for fighting bac

Taste the Atlantic's prop shaft gets sealed before the race

The fleet at the start of leg 3

Joan tacking out of the Ria

Tom with a good start to leg 3


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