The 40th edition of La Solitaire includes some of sailing's best and its rising stars

55 competitors, three foreigners and 15 rookies, will compete over 1,706 nautical miles from Lorient to Dieppe – passing La Coruña in Spain, Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, and Dingle in Ireland – in 2009’s La Solitaire, and this year’s line-up is one of the event’s best.

Race director, Jacques Caraës, explained: “To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the ‘beautiful dame’ that is La Solitaire?.will take place with an exceptional line-up. Six previous winners will be racing, [who] will present serious competition, [and] there are many others capable of gaining a place on the podium.”

Six old winners and five Vendée-Globe skippers will be meeting in Lorient. Firstly, Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), triple winner of La Solitaire, is back with a single aim – to enjoy himself! Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) and Jérémie Beyou, winners of the 2003 and 2005 editions respectively, are not keeping any secrets – they want to win. Likewise, Nicolas Troussel (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) hopes to go down in history with a triple victory.

But he will have to reckon with Yann Eliès (Generali) who for the past few weeks has made a comeback on the Figaro circuit. He has never won La Solitaire (he came second in 2004), but will do everything possible to change that.

There is also talent to be discovered on La Solitaire, with 15 rookies competing this year. These include Briton Jonny Malbon (Artemis Ocean Racing), who competed in the last Vendee Globe.

The event will start with the Suzuki Prologue in Lorient on 28 July, and will finish in Dieppe at the end of August.

Important dates of La Solitaire du Figaro 2009:

Village opens: Thursday 23 July
Suzuki Prologue: Tuesday 28 July
Start of the 1st leg: Thursday 30 July

LA CORUÑA (345 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Saturday 1 August
Start of the 2nd leg: Tuesday 4 August

Expected arrival of the boats: Friday 7 August
Start of the 3rd leg: Monday 10 August

DINGLE (485 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Thursday 13 August
Start of the 4th leg: Sunday 16 August

DIEPPE (511 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 19 August
Closing Regatta: Saturday 22 August

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