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Ireland’s Dolan & Concarneau’s Jamboux finish second in 400-miler – by just 5 minutes

22nd July 2020
Second in the Drheam Cup - After a cold cold night at sea, for once masks were welcome on board. The crew of Smurfit Kappa - Concarneau Entreprendre (Francois Jamboux (left) and Tom Dolan pictured heading south-east, in the direction of the La Trinité-sur-Mer finish where they finished second in the Figaro Duo class Second in the Drheam Cup - After a cold cold night at sea, for once masks were welcome on board. The crew of Smurfit Kappa - Concarneau Entreprendre (Francois Jamboux (left) and Tom Dolan pictured heading south-east, in the direction of the La Trinité-sur-Mer finish where they finished second in the Figaro Duo class

Tom Dolan of Meath and longtime colleague Francois Jamboux of Concarneau revived the spark of previous joint successes with a scorcher of a race with Smurfit Kappa in the 400-mile Drheam Cup from Cherbourg to La Trinite sur Mer via the south coast of England. But though they were showing as leaders in class for frequent periods in the Figaro 3 Duo division, in the end late this afternoon at the finish line they were 5 minutes and 40 seconds adrift on Pierre Leboucher in Guyot Environnement, after a ding-dong battle between the two boats over many miles.

Ireland’s other entry, Kenneth Rumball and Pamela Lee of Dun Laoghaire in RL Sailing, have a steep learning curve, as they were 42 miles astern as the Dolan-Jamboux team finished. But in fact it has been quite a learning curve for everyone, as the hundred strong fleet included many boats which would normally be a force to be reckoned with in open RORC and UNCL racing. Yet up against the top Figaro 3 skippers in prime fighting trm, they found themselves being out-classed and left behind on the water, with a sensational performance being put in by UK sailor Sam Goodchild of Falmouth.

Now a hardened veteran of the Figaro circuit, Goodchild put in a virtuoso showing in his Figaro 3 despite choosing the solo option. When he wasn’t leading on the water he was very near it, and he stayed ahead with some very much bigger more fully-crewed boats behind him, indisputably taking line honours over the entire fleet - solo, duo and fully-crewed - this afternoon, all of a cool 45 minutes ahead of the next boat, Bretagne CMB Espoir, which is also a solo–sailed Figaro 3.

Further comment is superfluous. This afternoon is when the top Figaro solo sailors showed the international offshore racing community what Senior Hurling afloat is all about.

Published in Figaro
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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Ireland & La Solitaire du Figaro

The Solitaire du Figaro, was originally called the course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.

Half a decade later, the race has created some of France's top offshore sailors, and it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a new boat equipped with foils and almost 50 skippers Including novices, aficionados and six former winners.

The solo multi-stage offshore sailing race is one of the most cherished races in French sailing and one that has had Irish interest stretching back over 20 years due to the number of Irish stopovers, usually the only foreign leg of the French race.

What Irish ports have hosted The Solitaire du Figaro?

The race has previously called to Ireland to the following ports; Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

What Irish sailors have raced The Solitaire du Figaro?

So far there have been seven Irish skippers to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro. 

In 1997, County Kerry's Damian Foxall first tackled the Figaro from Ireland. His win in the Rookie division in DHL gave him the budget to compete again the following year with Barlo Plastics where he won the final leg of the race from Gijon to Concarneau. That same year a second Irish sailor Marcus Hutchinson sailing Bergamotte completed the course in 26th place and third Rookie.

In 2000, Hutchinson of Howth Yacht Club completed the course again with IMPACT, again finishing in the twenties.

In 2006, Paul O’Riain became the third Irish skipper to complete the course.

In 2013, Royal Cork's David Kenefick raised the bar by becoming a top rookie sailor in the race. 

In 2018, for the first time, Ireland had two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who joined the rookie ranks and kept the Irish tricolour flying high in France. Mulloy became the first Irish female to take on the race.

Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa competed for his third year in 2020 after a 25th place finish in 2019. Dolan sailed a remarkably consistent series in 2020 and took fifth overall, the best finish by a non-French skipper since 1997 when Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre finished runner up. Dolan wins the VIVI Trophy.

Dolan finished 10th on the first stage, 11th on the second and seventh into Saint Nazaire at the end of the third stage. Stage four was abandoned due to lack of wind. 

Also in 2020, Dun Laoghaire’s Kenneth Rumball became the eleventh Irish sailor to sail the Figaro.

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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