Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: Figaro

The sailing community’s notable diversity is dependent on how you’re trying to analyse it writes W M Nixon. For many, it’s the community aspect, the shared love of boats and sailing and interacting with sea or lake, which is the sport’s greatest appeal. But for others, the greatest attraction is because it’s a competitive vehicle sport.

In fact, it could be argued that a useful indicator of where you fit into the complex sailing world is your place along the boats-to-people continuum. At one extreme, there are those for whom the boat and her equipment is everything. And at the other end of this boats-to-people line, there are those for whom the successful interaction of the crew, the people management side, is paramount – organising the boat and dealing with her technical problems is something for specialized members of the team.

Not so long ago, while cruising the Hebrides, we met up with one of the purest boat nuts I’ve ever encountered, even if he did offset this tendency by using his superbly-maintained boat for very interesting projects.

We liked the look of his 34ft cutter, and as we were in a sublimely beautiful anchorage where no-one was in a hurry to move on in the morning, we inveigled an invitation aboard and were bowled over by the quality of everything on his boat, the maintenance, and the careful way it had been thought through to make his cruising as comfortable and practical as possible.

ainmara sula2 1“ Sailing” as its cruising participants like it – an idyllic summer morning in the Hebrides for the veteran Ainmara (left) and the superbly organised Victoria 34 cutter Sula. Photo: W M Nixon

For instance, he’d re-wired the boat completely by himself, and had done it in such a way that although everything seemed invisible and skilfully done, the simple opening of accessible locker doors in key areas revealed all the parts that needed to be easily reached.

It was a pure case of single-minded perfection, so much so that we were thinking of ways to entice him to Ireland some time to give our own boats the same treatment. But in his case, “single-minded” was the essence of it all. He’d once sailed alone in a Wayfarer from Scotland across the North Sea to Norway, but few knew of it because he did it for his own satisfaction – publicity wasn’t of interest to him.

And now, after we’d had coffee together, he was off across to Skye to climb in the Cuillins. On his own, of course, and using that perfect solo-sailed boat as a handy base camp. This was indeed a man who marched to the beat of a different drum. For our part, we were nipping across to Plockton on Loch Carron, a notably convivial place, to continue a cruise of sociable celebrations.

As far as we were concerned, this was cruising as it should be, and cruising lends itself to accommodating every level of direct or indirect boat technical involvement. However, cruising is a world in itself. But in racing, the fact of sailing being a vehicle sport immediately puts a wall between it and most other sports, particularly those stadium sports of greatest public interest.

americas 2013 cup3Is this sailing’s Formula 1? The America’s Cup boats of 2013 were foiling multihulls

next americas cup4The America’s Cup rings the changes – and whatever they are, they’re always expensive. The next series in New Zealand will be raced in 75ft foiling mono-hulls

So in trying to increase sailing’s public awareness, we quickly find people referencing Formula 1 car racing, and claiming that sailing will only find universal appeal if its major events are staged in the most spectacular boats available.

Certainly, this has long been the way of the America’s Cup. But that’s quite obviously a sailing spectacular for people to stare at in wonderment, rather than expect any sense or possibility of personal involvement.

However, the Olympics are different. Olympic sailing is arguably the kind of sailing we can do at club level but carried to the ultimate extremes of personal high performance. But is that necessarily the way that sailing should go? In a tech-obsessed era - a state we’ve arguably lived in since man chipped his first flint axe-head – there are those who would argue that the boats used in the Olympics should be at the furthest edge of technological development.

laser fleet5For club sailors, the fact that their popular Laser is an Olympic Class is seen as a bonus. But for the casual viewing public, could it possibly be that a large fleet of Lasers is not the most exciting or comprehensible sporting vista in the world?
This is their point in arguing that today’s boats are getting in the way of developing sailing’s popularity. In a sense, they argue that by using popular everyday boats for a television spectacular like the Olympics, the powers-that-be are making the images decidedly humdrum for an audience steeped in technological wizardry.

It’s an approach which came to a head a month ago when, thanks to the remarkably high Irish representation in the committees of World Sailing – a priceless inheritance from the determinedly internationalist days of Dun Laoghaire’s Ken Ryan – we were among the first to be able to report the confirmation about the inclusion of an offshore racer (to be crewed by a woman and a man) in the lineup for the 2024 Olympics at Paris, when the sailing will be at Marseille.

The boat proposed will be between 6 and 10 metres overall, and non-foiling. With the course planned to have them at sea for three days and two nights, it will be the longest event in the Olympics, and all boats will be connected for sound and vision 24/7, so the human interest levels should be very high indeed.

smurfit kappa6Tom Dolan with his Figaro 2 Smurfit-Kappa. This highly-regarded 2002 Marc Lombard design is now categorized by the builders as a “Heritage Boat”

This confirmation (at last) marked such a change to the Olympic sailing format that it provoked a considerable immediate reaction. But working on the policy that second thoughts are often best and usually less harmful, we persuaded some of our more outspoken reactors to tone it down a little with the promise that we’d keep them anonymous for the time being, and would publish after a reasonable interval.

However, now we’re in the buildup to Christmas when true sailors rely on the thought of the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race to preserve their sanity in the midst of smothering seasonal cheer. So here’s something else altogether - shot from both barrels - to provide something similar:

“I am no doubtless connected with the ‘higher governance level’ of our beloved sport than yourself or others, but the ‘design’ brief of the intended boat for Paris 2024 Offshore event (quote:“…..boat which will be used, the length overall will be between 6 metres and 10 metres, definitely non-foiling, and currently talked of as sloop rig with spinnaker…”) shows, yet again, how out of touch World Sailing is with its own sport!

The IMOCA 60 Class is progressively shifting to foil (see Route du Rhum 2018) and the Mini 6.50 class rules now allow foils, wingsails and even kites, while the new America’s Cup boat won’t even have a keel but 2 foils (etc etc…there are many other examples). Thus the notion that ‘what the public wants to see in the Olympics are non-foiling monohulls of 6 to 10m LOA’ baffles me!!!

mini 650 foils7The Mini 6.50 class now permits foils, and even with three on board, the little boat lifts and flies
Paris won the 2024 Olympic Games. Sailing is one of the Olympic Sports. Olympic Sailing attracts very little spectators and/or much less TV audience than the ‘professionally organised circuits’ (Minis, Figaros, IMOCAs, big multihulls, Route du Rhum, Vendee Globe etc etc…).

The aim is to change this and for once, France as the organiser and for all sailing nations, may stand a chance to make some Olympic sailing look sexy! And as you mention, there already had been an attempt – scheduled for June 2018 – to preview a potential Olympic offshore race

Nicolas Hénard, President of the Federation Francaise de Voile, declared:

« …We are the nation of offshore sailing, we can’t afford to miss this (opportunity). This is why I am doing the forcing on this with the organisation of a showcase event in Marseilles in June (2018) in parallel with the finals of the Worlds Cup with five Figaro 3 on loan from Beneteau…”

Unfortunately, due to funding issues, this demo event was cancelled…but of course the demo support was the Figaro 3.

Staging a new Olympic discipline in 2024 on a boat that, though not yet selected, is already outdated in 2018 for the intended purpose is ludicrous.

This is even more so for the Figaro 2 as the article suggests, a boat launched in 2002 and classified on the Beneteau website itself under the heading ‘Heritage” 

Also, my understanding is that, for an Olympic sailing event, boats have to be supplied (I guess new?!) by the organisers…hardly Figaro 2s then…

The reality is that:
• The Figaro Class and Circuit is the ‘only game in town’ worldwide for an ‘affordable’ (€210k ex. VAT including sails, electronics and safety equipment), one-design, short-handed, offshore racing class
• The Figaro Class is moving to foiling from 2019 onwards with the F3 because this is:
◦ What the competitors (read athletes for the Olympics) want!
◦ What the sport, as an offshore discipline, is at…right now, let alone in 2024
◦ What the viewing public demands

figaro three8It could be argued that the foiling Figaro 3 is no longer an extreme concept, and by 2024 it may even seem a little dated
The current ’design brief’ of the World Sailing Equipment Committee for the new proposed event in Marseilles 2024 can only be explained by either

  • A complete misunderstanding of the sport (really?) or
  • Anything BUT a Beneteau Figaro 3 attitude resulting from pressure/lobbying from other National Sailing Federations or other boat manufacturers who do not have an ‘affordable’ one-design offshore sailing boat in production or even in draft (J Composite?) in an attempt to ‘not give an unfair advantage to French Figaro sailors starting on this support from March 2019!
  • If there are doubts that a new boat like the Figaro 3 will be available in sufficient number, FYI, Beneteau is rolling out one new Figaro 3 per week as we speak! That’s further good news, So the question for World Sailing is:
  • Do we specify the boat that’s required and expected (FYI, I do not have any interest whatsoever in Beneteau ?)?
  • Do we specify another one for political reasons and launch a new discipline in 2024 on an outdated support?

As for my ‘dream team’: Tom Dolan (French offshore circuit ‘veteran’, inc. Figaro circuit) and Annalise Murphy (3 Olympic campaigns by 2020, Moth sailor, Volvo Ocean Race veteran etc, would bring this event very much alive if they were racing a Figaro 3, or perhaps even its 2024 development.”

annalise murphy9

tom dolan10Dream team – Olympic Medallist Annalise Murphy and Figaro veteran Tom Dolan

Well, that’s telling it like it is – or might be. Instead of trying to minimise Olympic sailing’s vehicle sport aspect (which the 49er turns on its head anyway), World Sailing and the Paris/Marseille Olympics should go hell for leather for the most technologically-advanced yet economically-feasible boat possible.

It’s quite a challenge in itself. And if it seems a very long way from our agreeable meanderings about a perfect little cruising boat met with in the Hebrides, well, that’s the way it is – sailing is a very complex sport however you look at it.

Published in W M Nixon

A freshening nor’west to north wind brought life to the final stages of the concluding Stage 4 of the Solitaire URGO Figaro 2018 off Saint Gilles this afternoon, and kept Anthony Marchand in the lead at the finish of the 165 mile circuit course, bringing the leading boats to the finish three hours within the twenty-four being anticipated last night writes W M Nixon.

Vendee Globe 2020 entrant Charlie Dalin fulfilled his hopes of a good showing in this last dash by taking second, but the other Vendee Globe prospective, Sebastien Simon, had to be content with 14th out of 36 boats in a race whose final stages offered little opportunity for place changes.

Thus Ireland’s Tom Dolan continued to the finish in the 20th place with which he rounded the northern turn at Ile d’Yeu, but that kept him well ahead of Scotland’s Alan Roberts who had a frustrating race to come in at 30th, five places ahead of Joan Mulloy in Taste the Atlantic.

Race tracker and details here 

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

The final 165-mile stage of the Solitaire URGO Figaro 2018 – which began last night at 1830 hrs - is envisaged as a sprint of less than 24 hours in which the 36 solo skippers will do entirely without sleep as they make the final push to prove who is King of the Bay writes W M Nixon. But with light nor’east winds and localised calms persisting, the pace has sometimes been less than blistering, though the concentration is always white hot. The course, which starts and finishes at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie and includes a couple of westerly turning marks well out at sea on the north-going leg, is a clockwise circuit to include the Ile de Re to the south and the Ile d’Yeu to the north.

At the start after its short first windward leg, there was a theory circulating that slightly stronger winds might be found offshore for the leg to Ile de Re, and Ireland’s Joan Mulloy with Taste the Atlantic and Scotland’s Alan Roberts were in a group taking this option. But it proved to be a false trail, and by the time the front runners were passing Les Sables d’Olonne eight miles down the coast, the inshore leader Charlie Dalin had a couple of miles in hand on those offshore.

For Dalin, a good result in this concluding Stage 4 is important, as he had a frustrating performance in the long Stage 3 from northwest Spain to Saint-Gilles. He has a new IMOCA 60 in build for the 2020 Golden Globe, and sponsors need encouragement at the stage, something which they’re having in abundance with Simon Sebastien, current overall leader, who likewise has an IMOCA 60 on the way for 2020’s big one.

"Joan Mulloy has picked up a place to 34th"

Ireland’s Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa stayed with the inshore fleet, but found difficulty in hitting the pace he’d built up in Stage 3 when he was 11th overall and First Rookie, and off Les Sables he was back in 21st. This morning, with the fleet in the north-going sections up to Ile d’Yeu after the at-times challenging rounding of the Ile de Re, Dolan may be shown in 20th and making 6 knots. But he is only 2.6 miles astern of the current leader Benjamin Dutreux, who has Anthony Marchane and Charlie Dalin close by in second and third they beat to windward towards the Ile d’Yeu after putting the most westerly mark astern.

joan Mulloy FigaroJoan Mulloy prepares for the final start Photo: Alex Courcoux

Meanwhile, Joan Mulloy has picked up a place to 34th, she has the westerly mark astern and is on the wind beating for Ile d’Yeu with 6.6 knots on the clock.

Race Tracker here

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

 A new offshore series of races that will come to Irish waters has been launched in the UK called the Formula Foil Ocean Racing (FFOR) with a first prize of £50k.

Racing in identical Beneteau Figaro 3 yachts FFORC has been launched by a new business created by Stuart Greenfield. The championship will run from Spring 2020 until February 2021, and then yearly, the winner will be declared in Antigua. The championship is open to any Beneteau Figaro 3 with a minimum crew of 4 and maximum crew weight limit of 500kg. The yachts will be hand steered and be strictly one design.

The concept will begin with 10 identical yachts being made available to the first 10 teams entering on a fully managed basis. The yachts will run by the new company from a single base on the Isle of Wight and offered to teams on a fully ‘step-on and race’ basis for £75,000(+ VAT) * for the championship. This includes full use of a race prepared Beneteau Figaro 3 yacht and a set number of training and leisure days plus all maintenance and race entries. Teams may be amateur, sponsored, or fully professional. Amateur teams, if needed, will be provided with training and relevant first aid, sea survival and radio VHF courses to achieve the necessary qualifications to meet the Category 1 standard to which the races will comply. All races will count towards the results with no discards. 

"The yachts will be hand steered and be strictly one design"

The race programme will provide a range of offshore races in the English Channel before venturing on longer races to Ireland, Lanzarote, and finally a transatlantic race. The race program will ensure that all crews build up their experience in longer more challenging races over the 10-month championship. There will also be a small inshore element to include races such as Round the Island.

The race management will include race training and coaching, where necessary, to ensure crews reach the highest proficiency. The yachts will be equipped to World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category 1. The schedule is uniquely designed so that most racing is at weekends and to compete teams will only have to set aside a normal standard employed holiday commitment to compete in all races thereby ensuring that team members can remain fixed over the full period. Of course, it is also envisaged that teams could be made up of a squad of members and this is also an acceptable format. The aim is to enable teams to compete at the highest standard in the world’s newest and most exciting foiling yachts and still have a day job. 

The £75,000 package enables an amateur crew of 5 people without sponsorship to race for 10 months, every week if they wanted, for £15,000 per head per year. This concept offers one of the most exciting opportunities to race in the most innovative foiling mono-hulls without having to buy, run or maintain the yacht themselves. For sponsors, the opportunity to promote their brands to an international audience will be fulfilled by the very latest, tracking, drone and satellite communications fitted to every yacht. For the English Channel races, the fleet will be followed day and night by a high-speed offshore motorboat fitted with drone and satellite upload capabilities to bring a completely immersive experience for online followers. For new and younger teams this also adds an element of safety to the format.

Companies wishing to enter the championship for promotional and brand development or for corporate incentives for staff will be offered full access to the FFORC marketing and communications teams to ensure that there is a measurable return on investment delivered. FFORC will also provide racing skippers and qualified team members if required by corporate teams. 

Offshore racing is currently growing in popularity especially in smaller yachts with a focus towards fewer crew. This gives each member of the team more to do and more excitement with a focus on adventure. The Formula Foil Ocean Racing Championship (FFORC) format provides all these key selling points with none of the downsides of owning and maintaining a race yacht.

First prize for the championship will be £50,000 with £25,000 for second and £5,000 for third prize. The prize money will be given to the registered team and there will be no distinction between professional sponsored entries and personally financed challenges. Championships will also be held in 2021 and 2022. 

With the minimum of 10 boats for the 2020 championships any team with a one-design Figaro 3 wanting to take part will also be accepted into the championships. The entry fee will be £5,000. There will also be special options for privately owned yachts wishing to make use of the championship base in Cowes which will be very competitively priced. 

Stuart Greenfield commented “The launch of the new Beneteau Figaro 3 provides a unique opportunity for the FFORC to bring an exciting format to the UK offshore racing community… and hopefully internationally. Ocean racing continues to grow in interest with the numbers of yachts competing on the increase. There is trend for smaller more exciting yachts with less crew doing more with the focus on adventure with the bonus of less time just sitting on the rail. It is also clear that sailors want to race in teams without the hassle of boat maintenance and depreciation, they also want to race together as equals against the best. FFORC delivers this with the excitement of the races growing in length and difficulty as the 10-month cycle rolls out. Ensuring the format is compatible with non-professional weekend orientated sailors provides a unique opportunity and this combined with coaching and race training and a significant prize winning will, I hope, also attract professionals and fully sponsored teams… if you’re ready for an adventure this is definitely the new ‘fforc’ in ocean racing!"

The Yacht

As Afloat.ie previously reported, the Figaro Beneteau 3 is the first production foiling one-design monohull ever to be designed. A distillation of technology and innovation. It results from a collaboration between Group Beneteau’s best experts and the Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP) office, the architects of the two last boats to win the Vendée Globe

Title Sponsorship

Each team may be sponsored by any number of companies or individuals. FFORC is currently inviting title sponsorship from businesses or organisations. The opportunity includes yachts, website, event, and social branding across all media.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

The brisk nor’east winds maintained their pressure yesterday during daylight to keep the 36-strong Solitaire URGO Figaro fleet at good speeds as they raced down the coast of northwest Spain after their swift 520 mile Stage 2 from Saint-Brieuc with its Biscay crossing writes W M Nixon. But as night drew on and they went through the transition stage from ocean to coastal and then close inshore sailing approaching the finish at Portosin on the Ria de Muros after rounding Cape Finisterre, conditions became much flukier, and at times speeds were reduced to 3 knots or even less as they raced slowly along the final miles to the finish.

At least seven boats were in with a chance of snatching the lead, including Scotland’s Alan Roberts. But consistent front-runner Sebastien Simon (Bretagne CMB Performance) kept his cool and got there first at 03:25:52 this morning for an elapsed time of 2 days 14 hours 5 minors and 55 seconds. This gave him a margin of 20 minutes on Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) who slid across the finish line just 9 seconds ahead of Eric Peron in Finistere Mer Vent, who for many of the final miles had been Sebastien Simon’s closest contender.

With just over 50 minutes covering the slowly-finishing first ten boats, the hugely competitive nature of Figaro Solo racing is again emphasised, and the two Irish rookies have shown they have much to learn before they can match the consistency of Figaro regulars, many of whom devote the prime years of their sailing careers to this one high profile solo event.

Tom Dolan of Meath with Smurfit Kappa was up to speed several times, but his mistaken tactic of staying with the group which took the westerly option in going through the gap between Ushant and West Brittany on the second day saw him slip from 12th to a placing in the 20s. And though he got up to 22nd at one stage, this morning at the finish in northwest Spain he has to be content with 25th, three hours and twenty minutes behind the leader.

Joan Mulloy of Clew Bay knew she could never hope to recover from the delay caused by her broken main halyard at the start, but she gamely battled on, the first Irish woman to take on the Figaro challenge, and at her best she had clawed her way back up to 32nd. But over the concluding miles in an exhausted condition with an hour or so still to sail, she now looks likely to place 33rd or 34th.

Overall, the Stage 1 winner Anthony Marchand finished 4th in Stage 2, 36 minutes behind the leader, and is now well placed on the overall points table as the lone skippers rest up for a day or two while the Shore Support teams prepared their boats for the Stage 3 start on this Saturday, 8th September - 440 miles back round Finisterre and into the Bay of Biscay with the finish at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on France’s Biscay coast.

Race tracker and detailed results here

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

The second night in La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro has been an extremely frustrating one for the fleet as they struggle with light airs in the western English Channel writes W M Nixon. They’ve been trying a variety of tactics to find the faintest breezes from a selection of very faint headwinds to help them get past Lizard Point and on to the next turn at Wolf Rock south of Land’s End, the furthest part of the opening 570-mile stage which takes them Le Havre-Owers-WolF Rock- NW Brittany-Guernsey before finishing at St Brieuc on the north Brittany coast south of the Channel Islands.

At 0830 this morning, the leader Corentin Douget sailing NF Habitat still had 289.4 miles to the finish, and was showing only narrowly ahead of Sebastian Simon in Bretagne CMB Performance. The leading nine currently are all French, but British sailor Alan Roberts has been very much in contention and is now 10th, though with very close margins among the leaders. Ireland’s Joan Mulloy is currently showing at 23rd, but like several others is virtually becalmed, and she now has a shortfall of 21 miles on the leader.

Race Tracker here

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

#Cruising - Vendée Globe challenger Enda O’Coineen will be part of the Royal Galway Yacht Club’s inaugural cruise in company from Galway Docks to the new marina in Rossaveal this Sunday 8 July.

BIM seafood ambassador and Figaro contender Joan Mulloy will lead the cruise on board her on board the 30ft racing boat Taste the Atlantic, departing from Galway Docks on the tide at 12pm and aiming to arrive in Rossaveal about four-and-a-half hours later

Other boats taking part are Evolution, a 60ft motorboat skippered by John Killeen, one of the club’s three commodores, and Kilcullen Team Ireland, the IMOCA 60 on which O’Coineen completed his solo global circumnavigation.

All boat owners in the area are invited to join the first of what’s hoped to be an annual event. O’Coineen promises some esteemed company — including Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, who hopes to sail down from Roundstone to meet the fleet.

The cruise is also a great opportunity to meet Joan Mulloy and show support for her Figaro campaign, as well as her own future Vendée Globe ambitions in 2020.

Published in Cruising

The elite Figaro Class’s 350-miles Solo Concarneau for the trophee Guy Cotton in the Bay of Biscay tomorrow (Thursday) will test Ireland’s Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy on an intricate course writes W M Nixon. The route take two fleets – one solo with Mayo’s Mulloy, the other two-handed with Meath’s Dolan – northwestwards from the Breton fishing/sailing port of Concarneau through the Raz de Seine and the islands off it, and then there’s a long haul southeast to the Ile d’Yeu before returning north to Concarneau.

Joan Mulloy succeeded in finishing her first Figaro Solo race on March 17th, a 245-mile event in which achieving the finish at all was a real challenge, as her autohelm failed shortly before the start. But she got there nevertheless - a courageous performance.

'It looks like the Irish division will be battling it out for glory in the rookie rankings' – Tom Dolan

tom dolan concarneau2Tom Dolan revelling in a breeze in his Mini-Transat – tomorrow, he starts his first race in a Figaro, two-handed with Tanguy Bouroullec.

For Tom Dolan, in training for the Figaro Two-handed Transat AG2R on 22nd April with longtime crewmate Tanguy Bouroullec, things have been hectic, as he took delivery of his second-hand Figaro just two months ago. He and Bouroullec have continued to run their busy Offshore Academy while training themselves in with the boat and sorting sponsorship deals, but fortunately as they’re Concarneau-based it’s a crowded schedule which has been just about possible.

Dolan comments: “There’s some fairly big guns competing in both divisions, most of them have been at this (Figaro racing) for years, so it looks like the Irish division will be battling it out for glory in the rookie rankings…..”

Race Tracker here

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has revealed further details of plans to compete in the hotly-contested Figaro class in 2018 – a move that takes him one step closer to his ultimate goal of the Vendee Globe.

Dolan will join the gruelling Figaro circuit, which features some of the world’s best singlehanded sailors, after a successful tenure in the Mini 6.50 class.

The 30-year-old from Kells, County Meath, notched up numerous wins and podium finishes during his time in the class, earning him the nickname L’Irlandais Volant – the Flying Irishman.

His long list of achievements culminated in finishing sixth overall out of a fleet of 56 entries in the iconic Mini Transat Race last year, for which he was shortlisted for the title of Volvo/Irish Sailing/Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year.

Dolan, has now teamed up with eco-friendly packaging giant Smurfit Kappa to launch his bid for the 2018 Figaro season and jointly promote a message of sustainability and innovation.

"Smurfit Kappa supported Tom in 2017 during his Mini 650 campaign and his constantly evolving results were very satisfying for us. Tom is a professional sailor with a very promising future, and this is why we are proud to be supporting him. Innovation and Sustainability are our key values and we are proud to be sharing them with Tom's campaign" said Gérard Mathieu, Marketing and innovation manager, Smurfit Kappa France

tom dolan mini2
Tom Dolan’s Minitransat boat in which Smurfit Kappa were joint sponsors. The eco-friendly packaging giant have now come aboard as lead sponsors for his Figaro campaign.

Tom’s steed will be none other than Figaro 15, the boat that French offshore legends Martin Le Pape and Roland Jourdain raced in 2014.

Despite having plenty of offshore racing experience, including five transatlantic crossings, Dolan admits that the jump into the Figaro, which is a third bigger than the Mini 6.50, is daunting.

“Joining the Figaro fleet this year is exciting, if a little scary,” Dolan said. “The Figaro is known as one of the most challenging classes to sail in because of the sheer level of sailors.

“It’s where the world’s best singlehanders come to prove themselves and if you look at the list of Vendee Globe winners they’ve practically all competed in the Figaro.

“This is very much the next step towards my dream of competing in the Vendee Globe, I want to do the best job I can, for myself and my sponsors.”

Dolan’s first venture in his new boat will be the AG2R La Mondiale – a doublehanded sprint across the Atlantic from the French town of Concarneau, Dolan’s adoptive home, to the Caribbean island of St Barts.

Dolan will team up with and close friend and old Mini 6.50 adversary Tanguy Bouroullec for the 3,800-mile race, which starts on April 22.

The season highlight will be the Solitaire du Figaro, a challenging 1,600-mile solo race around the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, starting on August 26.

figaro racing3
Figaro racing – it’s the Big Boys’ League by comparison with the Mini-Transat.

Dolan’s main goal is to finish on the podium of the rookie class – a division for first-timers in the Solitaire.

“The AG2R is going to be a baptism of fire for me – it’ll be my first proper race in the Figaro and it’s all the way across the Atlantic with no stopover,” Dolan added.

“It’s a quick turnaround from finishing the Mini Transat back in November but I wanted to keep the momentum up, and make sure that I stay sharp.

“Sailing doublehanded is very different to solo sailing but I’ve trained alongside Tanguy for a few years now and we know each other well.

“He was renowned in the Mini for being fast when the conditions were heavy, so he’ll be the ideal guy to have onboard.

“My season goal is to end up on the podium in the rookie division of the Solitaire. If I can do well as a rookie it will have been a good season.”

Dolan is proud to be able to count on the support of Smurfit Kappa, one of Europe’s leading eco-packaging companies.

“Smurfit Kappa has strong values of sustainability and innovation, values that I share and want to spread as I race around the world,” Dolan said.

“Respect for the environment and sustainable development are things that affect me enormously.

“At sea we always try to be minimalist about what we take onboard the boat, and we constantly evaluate any waste we produce.

“This allows us to see first-hand the result of a world obsessed with consumption. When we arrive from a race we are asked if we have seen fish, sunsets, whales... but the reality today is that what we see most is plastic waste. This cannot continue like this.”

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

Mayo solo sailor Joan Mulloy successfully completed her first race in the highly competitive Figaro II fleet in France this morning. The Solo Maître CoQ was the first major race of Joan’s 2018 season and the first time her ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’ branding was revealed.

The race consisted of a two hour ‘inshore’ race where the 24 strong fleet raced in 20 knot plus winds and big seas off the coast of Les Sables d’Olonne. This was then followed by the 245 miles offshore race that took over 40 hours of nonstop sailing to complete. Joan was the only female to complete the race.

Joan Mulloy Solo
Joan Mulloy lines up at the start of the solo race

Typically, the solo skippers rely heavily on the ‘autohelm’, an electronic self-steering system, to allow them to sleep, cook and trim the sails. Unfortunately for Joan her autohelm malfunctioned before the start of the offshore race and she was faced with a difficult decision to abandon the race or to continue on knowing that she will get virtually no sleep for the entire race. Joan opted to continue on and sacrifice sleep.

“I said I would do the first short leg and see if I could find a solution to get my autohelm working again. It became clear that this wasn’t going to happen, but I made the decision to continue racing. I knew it would be hard to remain competitive without sleep and not being able to leave the helm for more than a few seconds,” said Joan.

The 245-mile course saw the fleet round some stunning islands off the coast of France and return to Les Sables d’Olonne. The skippers battled the elements and saw winds range from 25 knots to almost nothing at all.

Joan added, “I can’t explain how proud I am to have finished my first solo event."

Joan will now return to Lorient to train for her next event. 

Published in Figaro
Page 3 of 9

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating