Six women will start the 48th edition of The Solitaire URGO Le Figaro from Bordeaux on June 4th. A great illustration of this sports discipline that favours no gender only experience and skill. On the water, it is with equal arms that these six women will fight over the 1700 miles of the course, under the same conditions and with the same level of requirement.

“This is the first time that there are so many girls on The Solitaire URGO Le Figaro and it’s really nice. The more we are, the more it makes others want to participate, because it proves that it is possible. We get along well, and there is some solidarity. In fact, I already knew most of my competitors before, “says Justine Mettraux (Teamwork), currently 16th in the provisional ranking of the French Elite Championship of Open Race after three races.

A view shared by Mary Rook (Inspire +), who said that “it is always a good thing to see elite women in sport, especially in sailing”, and who hopes others will follow suit in coming years. In her opinion, the best way to ensure succession once her own learning is over will be “to help other women to progress”.

The same is true of Alexia Barrier (, who is pleased that the women’s genre is well represented, competing for her first time. “The main problem is often to succeed in financing our projects. On the other hand, I regret that there is no female ranking to enhance our participation.”

Ashore, the relationship amongst competitors and between the girls is one of solidarity, once at sea, that gives way to competition. “We have the chance to run in a mixed race. Sailing is one of the only sports that allows it, but we remain competitors. Once the start is over, it does not matter if we sail against men or women, it is indeed 42 opponents that I will have to battle it out with on 4th June,” recounts Cécile Laguette (Eclisse).

“Le Figaro is an affordable boat. Physical differences can be overcome by using slightly different techniques. Physicality is not the be all end all. Sleep management, strategy and navigation weigh more heavily. It is the skipper and their training that makes the difference.” says Sophie Faguet (Porsche – Corben).

“It makes no difference. The girls sail a little differently. We may think a little more before doing a maneuver, but otherwise, a sailor is a mariner, just as insignificant to the ‘The scale of the ocean,’ confirms Nathalie Criou (Richemond Yacht Club Foundation).

Just three weeks before the start of the race, Sophie Faguet, Mary Rook, Justine Mettraux, Cécile Laguette, Alexia Barrier and Nathalie Criou are already looking to Bordeaux. The 48th edition of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. A 2017 edition on which they hope to achieve the goals they have set themselves.

Update on their objectives:

Mary Rook (Inspire +): “My objective is more qualitative than quantitative. For me, doing the little things well will be a great success. I would love to be in the first half of the picture, but the most important thing for me is learning, including my mistakes.”

Justine Mettraux (Teamwork): “For the moment I’ve had the best start in the girls’ season, but I think I was probably the best prepared. That said, there is no specific female classification, so its not conclusive.”

Cécile Laguette (Eclisse): “This is my 2nd Solitaire. I hope to capitalize on the experience gained last year when I was in a learning phase. This year, I am more focused on performance. I want to do well, give everything and leave nothing at sea, and above all to be happy with my result on every step.

Alexia Barrier ( “I’m participating in my 1st Solitaire this year. A podium in the rookie category would be very satisfactory. I did not have much time to train, but I have competed in two AG2R LA MONDIALE and I have good experience racing offshore.

Nathalie Criou (Richemond Yacht Club Foundation): “My first goal is to finish the race, because for me to be able to start this race is already a challenge in itself. I have been racing for a long time and I have more than 20,000 miles offshore to my credit. I still have a personal goal, which is to try to be not too badly placed among the rookies.”

Sophie Faguet (Porsche – Corben): “What will be the most difficult for me is the lack of training given that I have not sailed the Figaro this winter. I only took part in the Solo Normandie and the Solo Master CoQ at the beginning of the season. If I had been able to train like last year, my goal would have been to get into the top 15. For the moment, I have a little difficulty to locate myself in the fleet. I would like to be included in the first part of the table, which will not be easy in light of the competition.”

Translated from La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro Press Communication 17.5.2017

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