Finishing into Dieppe today 22nd place less than 45 minutes after Stage 4 winner Eric Peron (French Touch) after just under four days of hard racing Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) finishes in 25th place overall on the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro.
For his second participation at the famous French multi-stage solo offshore race, Dolan is taking away the positives which have been evident throughout his season so far and throughout an unrelenting edition – one of the longest and hardest courses ever – which saw the strongest, most competitive entry ever. He has proven fast in the breezy conditions, able to match the best in the fleet. He needs to work on the start lines and in the light, random conditions. Crossing the finish line into Roscoff in eighth place was the high point of the race for the French-based sailor who is originally from County Meath.
During the concluding miles of the first stage from Nantes to Kinsale, as he rounded the Fastnet he was given to reflect that less than ten years previously he was a sailing instructor working out of Baltimore. Dolan is pleased with the learning from this race.
"Crossing the finish line into Roscoff in eighth place was the high point of the race"
Red-eyed from the extreme lack of sleep and visibly wearing the fatigue of three weeks of racing over the four stages, Dolan said, “I was fairly happy with the start, to be honest. It was a good first night we were screaming along, I was with the lead group. Then I had a set back at the south of England after Wolf Rock. Then everything was all over the place, we fell backwards. I took a little chance on the race course. We were okay along the coast and we were with the lead group until we got done at Owers mark. The wind came in from the north and then we struggled to make it back up.”
Assessing his race overall, Dolan concludes, “It was hard, when there was wind I seemed to figure it out. But it was a particularly hard race and I am learning, I’m getting there. It’s my second solitaire. I could’ve done with more rest days before the start of it, more preparation- physical and mental- so I was more rested. There was plenty of times in the races where I was up there with the best and I had a hell of a speed so that’s positive.”