Each year, the best and brightest solo-sailors from around the world come to compete in La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, a four stage, 1,700-mile race that takes competitors from Le Havre to Saint Brieuc to Ria De Muros-Noia and St. Gilles Croix De Vie. This event is known as one of the toughest solo-sailing competitions in the world. This year Joan Mulloy, a professional Irish solo-sailor from Co Mayo, will be the first Irish woman to ever compete in the race.
“Sailing has been part of my life for a very long time,” says Mulloy, who began sailing when she was just eight-years-old. “This race is really seen as a proving ground for solo offshore sailing.”
On the course, Mulloy will be completely alone, using only her wits and skill to propel her boat onward. The first three stages last about three to four days, depending on the sailor. During that time, Mulloy will only sleep for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, maybe taking two to three breaks during the night to rest her eyes and her body.
No other Irish woman has ever competed in this race and Mulloy hopes that entering this challenge will not only help her achieve her goal of racing in the Vendeé Globe in 2020 but also help others strive to reach their full potential.
“When you step back and think that I’m the first Irish woman to compete — I’m really happy and proud to be that,” says Mulloy. “And I would hope that I would inspire other people, male or female, Irish or any other nationality, to achieve their own goal or chase their own dream and just go for it.”
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