The 404 nautical miles stage takes the 35 strong field of solo sailors east to Dunkirk, a new destination port for the multi stage solo offshore race which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The restrictions of movement, immigration and quarantine requirements around the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that the race is just not viable in January 2021.

No fewer than eighteen solo, double-handed and crewed races feature in the programme with, in particular, the two big round the world races.

His elapsed time was 3 days 17hrs 55mins, finishing only 1 min 35 seconds ahead of second placed Loïs Berrehar.

A seemingly confident, composed Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) may be on the threshold of his first ever leg win of his decade of Figaro racing.

CYCA Commodore, Noel Cornish AM, said, "The CYCA is continuing preparations for the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race."

The 39 year old skipper from the Team Vendée Formation, who has never won a stage, has been in the lead since very early yesterday morning.

After a first night at sea which proved painfully slow and frustrating at times, the leaders on the 642 nautical miles Stage 1 got their noses into the first of a forecast new southerly breeze.

The 35 solo sailors who started the 642 nautical miles first stage enjoyed a spirited send off in perfect 15-18 knot northerly winds.

Eight of the 35 solo skippers who will start the 51st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro on the Bay of Saint Brieuc on Sunday are not French natives and so are eligible to compete for the Vivi Trophy which was inaugurated last year.

Following Queensland border restrictions, the club resolved it would not be possible to conduct the race.

Oskana, a powerful Cookson 50 and arguably Tasmania’s fastest locally-based racing yacht, has been contesting the Combined Clubs Winter Series on the Derwent with Pritchard’s wife Bianca and their children in the crew.

The 2022 edition of the race, which will be the 14th race in its history, will finish at the Southport Yacht Club on Queensland’s Gold Coast rather than Mooloolaba. It will once again start from the New Plymouth Yacht Club.

As early as March of this year, the 21st edition of the race was headed for a record turnout in excess of 60 teams in what would have been the Round Ireland’s 40th Anniversary year.

Organisers have confirmed the next edition of the Race will start from Alicante, Spain, in October 2022 and finish in Genova, Italy, in the summer of 2023 during the 50th jubilee anniversary year of the Race.

In its place will be organised a long day race in the English Channel using laid and virtual marks, starting and finishing in Cowes.