Launching the Formula Foil Ocean Racing Championships
Published on September 12th, 2018
Created in 1970, the Solitaire du Figaro is a solo and staged sailing race in one design keelboats that is immensely popular in France. Thirty-six skipper are competing in 2018 which for three weeks has taken them in and about the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. It presents an annual challenge for amateurs and a tried and true springboard for aspiring professionals.
The 50th edition in 2019 will be the first race to feature the 32-foot VPLP designed Bénéteau Figaro 3 foiling monohulls. Now under production and on display at boat shows in the USA, it is unlike any Bénéteau you’ve seen before.
Inspired by the Figaro 3 design, British marketer Stuart Greenfield has hatched a plan for a new Formula Foil Ocean Racing Championships (FFORC) with the added incentive of £50,000 prize for the winner.
“The launch if the new Beneteau Figaro 3 provides a unique opportunity for the FFORC to bring an exciting format to the UK offshore racing community… and hopefully internationally,” said Greenfield.
“Ocean racing continues to grow in interest with the numbers of yachts competing on the increase. There is trend for smaller more exciting yachts with less crew doing more with the focus on adventure with the bonus of less time just sitting on the rail.”
The plan is for a minimum of 10 teams, sailing 10 races, over 10,000nm with a total prize fund of £80,000. The championship will run from Spring 2020 until February 2021, and then yearly, with the winner to be declared in Antigua. The plan is to make available 10 boats for a fee to the first 10 teams entering, plus any team owning a one design Figaro 3 can enter as well.
“For sailors wanting to race in teams without the hassle of boat maintenance and depreciation, and also want to race together as equals against the best, FFORC delivers this with the excitement of the races growing in length and difficulty as the 10-month cycle rolls out,” reports Greenfield.
The schedule is designed so that most racing is on weekends with the program to provide a range of offshore races in the English Channel before venturing on longer races to Ireland, Lanzarote, and finally a transatlantic race.
“Ensuring the format is compatible with non-professional weekend orientated sailors provides a unique opportunity, and with a significant prize winning will, I hope, also attract professionals and fully sponsored teams,” shared Greenfield.