Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Dolan Finishes 12th in Leg One of Figaro

3rd September 2020
Tom Dolan - 12th in leg one of the 2020 La Solitaire du Figaro Tom Dolan - 12th in leg one of the 2020 La Solitaire du Figaro Photo: Alexis Courcoux

After three days of racing, County Meath's Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) was pipped on the line this morning by Britain's Sam Goodchild two seconds, the Irish skipper taking 12th in the first leg of the La Solitaire du Figaro. 

It means Goodchild takes the top international to lead the standings for the VIVI Trophy.  Up in third on the approach to the Fastnet Rock on Sunday, Dolan lost places on the approach but delivers a solid result on which to build some consistency in the next leg.

Dolan said “It was great to see Fastnet and it was nice to be up the front for a bit but I just messed up a bit coming across the Irish Sea. We had all sorts of conditions. The last two years my first legs have been a disaster. But 12th is OK and I am in touch with the leader. But at this stage, it is all about time, not so much about placings.”

Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) crossed the finish line on the Baie de Saint-Brieuc at 06:17:55hrs French time this Thursday morning to win the 642 nautical miles first stage of the 51st La Solitaire du Figaro. His elapsed time is 3 days 17hrs 55mins, finishing only 1 min 35 seconds ahead of second-placed Loïs Berrehar (Bretagne CMB Performance). Alexis Loison (Région Normandie) completed the podium at 7mins and 3 seconds after Macaire.

It is the first-ever stage win for 39-year-old Macaire on a Figaro solo racing career which spans ten years and which includes two overall podiums, second in 2013 and third in 2016.

He was denied a leg victory on the last leg in 2015. After finishing first across the line into Dieppe he was judged to have sailed inside a forbidden zone some 18 miles from the finish and was penalised an hour by the jury.

Macaire is based out of Les Sables d’Olonne and races with the Team Vendée Formation. He took the lead of the 35 boat Figaro Beneteau fleet of solo racers during a very challenging first night in very light and unstable winds and was never passed.

On the quick spinnaker return from the Fastnet lighthouse, the midpoint of the stage which was rounded on Tuesday evening, Macaire retained almost metronomic consistency when under constant pressure from the chasing pack he held his ground to secure the narrowest of victories this morning.

The final miles into the finish line of Saint-Quay-Portrieux had all the intensity of an inshore championship finale, Macaire covered young pretender Loïs Berrehar, 27, through a dogged match race in a lightening breeze but the older sailor prevailed by just one minute and 35 seconds.

Macaire said on the dock in Saint-Quay-Portrieux, " What a relief! The finish was quite tense, because the more we approached the line, the more the wind eased, I saw everyone getting closer and closer, I was really scared of getting caught and losing this victory just on the line. I've been waiting for it for a long time, for this stage victory, I visualised the others with the champagne and was wondering if I will ever make it after winning before and being downgraded on jury, this time it’s for me, for real! "

On what is his first La Solitaire stage in the new Figaro Beneteau 3 design introduced last year Britain’s Sam Goodchild finished in 11th place, after lying eighth for much of the second half of the leg he lost three places in the final miles to the line, but is pleased with his result, finishing within 20 minutes of the winner who heads a very tightly packed Top 12.

Goodchild reported “I made a few mistakes which cost me time here and there which I can do better next time, but on the whole, I think I sailed pretty well. It was not very easy weather conditions but I just think if I did some things a bit tidier and easier but that is my first Figaro back in six years, my first in the Figaro 3 and so these are not big surprises to me. I am within 20 minutes at the end of the leg so that is not too bad. It is funny to race so hard for days and earn 10 miles of advance on people and then finish within minutes of them but that is the Figaro. I lost these silly places and times. During the race, I had some seaweed around the keel which everyone gets but I faffed around not sailing properly, I should have got rid of it, stopped the boat and gone backwards and got on with it. And I was not so clear on the weather and my choices and spent too long zigging and zagging around. I did not fully manage the weather properly.”

As top international to lead the standings for the VIVI Trophy, he pipped Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) on the line by two seconds.

On his return to La Solitaire for the first time for four years, Australia/Britain’s Jack Bouttell (Gillot Fromagerie) was 25thafter being up to 19th. Having been 37 miles behind the leader on Tuesday in 31st place morning Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) made a decent recovery in terms of time behind the leader. As Macaire crossed Roberts was 3.7 miles behind to finish 28th with a deficit of 1 hour 1 minute behind the winner. He finished just ahead of compatriot Phil Sharp (OceansLab) who was 29th.

Among those who recovered best was Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) who marched through the fleet to seventh after rounding Fastnet 21st, nearly 10 miles behind Macaire at the turn for home.

Finish order, before jury, of the first stage of La Solitaire du Figaro (642 miles) : All times French local.

1. Xavier MACAIRE (Groupe SNEF), finished at 6h17’55 after 3 days 17 hours17 minutes and 55 seconds
2. Loïs BERREHAR (Bretagne CMB Performance), finished at 6h19’30 after3 days17 hours19 minutes and 30 seconds (at 1’35’’ from first )
3. Alexis LOISON (Région Normandie), finished at 6h24’58’’ after 3 days17 hours 24 minutes and 58 seconds (at 7’03’’ from first )
4. Armel LE CLÉAC’H (Banque Populaire), finished at 6h28’15 after 3 days 17 hours 28 minutes and 15 seconds (at 10’20’’ from first )
5. Fabien DELAHAYE (Laboratoires Gilbert), finished at 6h30’50’‘ (at 12’55’’ from first
6. Tom LAPERCHE (Bretagne CMB Espoir), finished at 6h31’26’‘ (at 13’ 31"from first )
7. Pierre QUIROGA (Skipper Macif 2019), finished at 6h33’15’‘ (at 15’20” from first )
8. Tanguy LE TURQUAIS (Groupe Quéguiner - Innoveo), finished at 6h36’48’‘ (at 18’53"from first)
9. Corentin DOUGUAND(NF Habitat), finished at 6h37’04” (at19’09” from first )
10.Fred DUTHIL (Technique Voile / CabinandBourhis Generali), finished at 6h37’36” (at19’41” from first )
11. Sam GOODCHILD (Leyton), finished at 6h38’08’‘ (at 20’13” from first ) (1st for Vivi Trophy)
12. Tom DOLAN (Smurfit Kappa), finished at 6h40’02’‘ (at 22’7” from first )
13. Eric PÉRON (French Touch), finished at 6:41:20 (at23’25” from first )
14. Yann ELIÈS (Quéguiner Matériaux - Leucémie Espoir), finished at 6:41:46 (at23’51” from first)
15. Pierre LEBOUCHER (Guyot Environnement), finished at 6:43:19 (at25’24’’ from first )
16. Martin LE PAPE (Fondation Stargardt), finished at 06:45:15
17. Achille NEBOUT (Be Green Ocean), finished at 06:46:12
18. Adrien HARDY (Ocean Attitude), finished at 06:46:35
19. Gildas MAHE (Breizh Cola), finished at 06:48:48
20. Anthony MARCHAND (Groupe Royer - Secours Populaire), finished at 06:53:44
21. Nils PALMIERI (TeamWork), finished at 06:55:36
22. Benoit MARIETTE (Génération Senioriales), finished at 06:56:06
23. Violette DORANGE (Devenir), arrivée à 06:59:37
24. Elodie BONAFOUS (Bretagne CMB Oceane), arrivée à 07:01:20
25. Jack BOUTTELL (Fromagerie Gillot), finished at 07:08:49
26. Alberto BONA (Sebago), finished at 07:09:05
27. Marc MALLARAND(CER Occitanie), finished at 07:14:16
28. Alan ROBERTS (Seacat Services), finished at 07:14:17
29. Phil SHARP(OceansLab), finished at 07:18:07
30. Kevin BLOCH (Team Vendee Formation), finished at 07:27:33
31. Erwan LE DRAOULEC (Skipper MACIF 2020), finished at 07:29:4032. Robin FOLLIN (Ville de Sainte-Maxime), finished at 07:37:58
33. Robin Marais (Ma chance Moi aussi), finished at 07:43:35

Published in Figaro
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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.

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 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

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