So, you’ve probably clicked on this link wondering who on earth is David Paul and what actually is ‘La Solitaire du Figaro’. I completely understand that and I’m here to explain!

Well, in the simplest possible way David Paul (me) is a sailor and La Solitaire du Figaro is a 2500-mile single handed offshore sailing race, regarded as one of the toughest races across all of sport and one of France’s largest sporting events.

So how did I get to this point? Well, my journey in sailing started kind of by accident. As an only child, with working parents during the school holidays they used to send me to different sports camps for experiences as they didn’t have the time to look after me, either that or it was make sure I could properly socialize with other kids (they can confirm or deny what their intentions were!).

One day on the way to work my dad to avoid traffic my dad took an unplanned route and discovered a little slice of paradise called Hillingdon Outdoor Actives Center and suggested I tried sailing. Despite initial struggles with getting into the boat, I fell in love with the sport and from then onwards, I would spend my weekends at the centre learning to sail and racing.

Initially 9-year-old David’s aim was to beat as many grown-ups as possible! Then one day a friend announced all these plans to do regional competitions and sailing began to escalate slowly out of control. First with regional competitions then with National and now international racing.

The long-distance offshore sailing that I now find myself doing started as most things seem to in the 21st Century, through a post on social media by a friend looking for someone to join him in an offshore race from the UK to the Netherlands. During that first offshore race I discovered the incredible joy that comes from the beauty of sailing at night, the mixing of adventure with sport and the sense of being surrounded by nature.

The irony of water in the world we live in is that we are surrounded by it, yet we cannot drink it. When we race, this is especially apparent, we are surrounded by water yet we can only take 4 liters for each day of racing, and it is during racing that I feel that I fully appreciate clean water as a resource. We have to be so careful not to waste any, for example to brush my teeth while racing I use the cap to measure out the minimum wasted water. As such the idea to take Just a Drop to one of the biggest sailing races was born. Just a Drop in helping to provide clean water to thousands who desperately need it have under taken a huge challenge and in my own little way I have taken on a huge challenge and by partnering up I believe we can both assist each other in achieving these goals.

I discovered the race La Solitaire du Figaro during that first offshore race when we were overtaken by a French boat, the people I was sailing with rather than trying to re-overtake them merely responded with, “they’re a Figaro sailor we can’t stop them”. Pretty quickly I went into research mode about this race.

The race is commonly referred to as the ‘World Championships of offshore sailing’ because the French are so dominant in this form of sailing that the standard of racing at La Solitaire du Figaro is significantly higher than at any other international offshore sailing race. As such only the bravest or craziest non-French sailors decide to take them on in their home waters


The 2021 Edition of La Solitaire du Figaro

This year’s race is made up of four legs starting on 22 August in Saint-Nazaire, we’ll be working our way down to the Spanish coast, then up to Lorient. Leg 2 the shortest of the four will see us follow the French Coast, north round the famous tidal section at the Riaz. Leg 3 will give me a chance to race along my home water of the south coast of the UK before returning to France. With the final leg set to a race across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock off South West Ireland and back to where it all began.


What’s the competition like?

Well, the entry list isn’t out yet but expect, Olympians, world Champions, European Champions, national champions, Vendee Globe and The Ocean Race winners will all feature against a guy who only learnt how to sail as something to do in the school Holidays.

I will keep you up to date with training, and preparation races in the run up to La Solitaire in future blogs and if anyone has any questions about solo offshore racing, I will address them in future blogs.


If you'd like to support David's efforts to bring clean water to communities across the world then please donate here:

Alternatively, to find out how your company's logo could be featured on David's Yacht and seen by people all over the world, please contact: [email protected]