From June 17 to 21, Torbay will be hosting the UK leg of 2015 Solitaire Du Figaro – Eric Bompard Cachemire yacht race.

It will be the only UK stopover in this gruelling 2015 mile race known as the unofficial world championships of solo offshore sailing. Torquay Harbour will play host to a wide range of activities shoreside as part of a free race village - activities ranging from live music to cooking demonstrations.

Torbay’s Mayor, Gordon Oliver, said: “To be able to host such a prestigious event is a real coup for us and this top class sporting event builds on our aim to become an events capital.

“It is great to see such a large scale event complementing the many other maritime events which take place on the water throughout the year. Tor Bay has been used as a water arena for prestigious sailing competitions for many years and famously hosted the 1948 Olympic sailing.”

“We will, of course, be providing an English Riviera warm welcome for the visiting sailors and the large number of spectators expected to attend to enjoy the delights of the free race village.”

Starting from Bordeaux on 31st May, Torbay will be the fourth stopover in a line up of five hosting the end of Leg 3 and start of Leg 4 - as many as 45 one-design Bénéteau Figaro IIs will race between France, Spain and the UK.

The penultimate leg from France to Torbay will see the fleet head first to the notorious Fastnet Rock off the Irish Coast and around Lundy Island, before returning across the Irish Sea and into the English Channel.

Berry Head will come as a welcome sight for the increasingly tired sailors, arriving into Tor Bay on around the 17 June to conclude Leg 3. With the boats safely docked in Torquay’s public race village during the stopover, the skippers will have time to rest and recuperate on English soil.

On Friday 19 June, the Solitaire skippers will take part in an exhibition ‘pro-am’ race from Torquay to turning marks off Paignton and Brixham – a rare opportunity for the usually solo sailors to race with guests aboard.

The Solitaire du Figaro race village on Beacon Quay will be open daily to the public from 10am and a grand fireworks display is planned for Saturday 20 June after the Leg 3 prize giving.

Leg 4 will kick off from Torbay on Sunday 21 June, with an outdoor maritime themed multi-faith service of celebration and thanks will be held in the race village, wishing the 40 sailors well on their final leg to Dieppe.

Recognising the Solitaire du Figaro as an opportunity for increased tourism, international awareness and community involvement, Torbay’s bid has been successfully driven forward by Torbay Council and the Royal Torbay Yacht Club with the support of the Artemis Offshore Academy - the UK’s only training centre for solo offshore sailing.


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