Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Tom Dolan Ready for Solo Sailing on Smurfit Kappa Among Solo Maître Coq's Stellar Cast

29th April 2019
Tom Dolan - set for solo run Tom Dolan - set for solo run

After an excellent 14th overall and fifth in the final leg, when sailing with Damian Foxall in the doublehanded Sardinha Cup, Ireland's Tom Dolan is now ready to fly solo on his Smurfit Kappa as he takes on this week's Solo Maître Coq.

The first solo event for the Figaro Beneteau 3 starts Monday and has attracted a truly stellar cast, the fleet growing from the 34 which raced in the Sardinha Cup to 44 boats which have assembled in Les Sables d'Olonne for a series which comprises two days of 30-40 mile inshore races Monday, Tuesday followed by an offshore of around 400 nautical miles which starts Thursday.

Among the big names of the French solo ocean racing scene, two times winner of the Vendèe Globe and three times winner of La Solitaire Michel Desjoyeaux joins the fleet for the first time to pitch himself up against Jérémie Beyou and Yann Eliès - both are also three times La Solitaire overall winners - and past La Solitaire victors such as Armel Le Cléac'h, Yoanne Richomme and legendary Route du Rhum winner Loick Peyron.

"It is exciting. In some ways, this is like a dream come true to race against some of these guys. It is what I have wanted to do since I started out ten years ago. But I will not let myself get overawed. On the water, they are just boats to race against." Dolan smiled on the dock in Port Olona, Les Sables d'Olonne on the French Vendée coast.

The weather forecasts suggest a week of light to moderate winds are in prospect. Dolan, who is from County Meath, is open-minded, "I'll take what comes, certainly when it was light in the Sardinha Cup we seemed to have speed which is good but this will be much more about manoeuvres than out and out speed, so it is going to be interesting. We have done a few days of training and manoeuvres and I seemed to get on OK. I think I am quite good from the years in the Mini class. But for sure my weakness is getting off the start line. I am learning to stick to a routine and improve my timing to the line, but there is some way to go. It takes time and practice."

This first solo race in the Figaro Beneteau 3 will be a chance to refine and improve techniques ahead of June's La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. "I want to do well it is important for the morale, similarly I don't want to do badly because it would put me a bit on the back foot psychologically. It's important to feel confident going into La Solitaire. But this is very much a learning event, a chance to work on the processes. This the first confrontation for the whole fleet so I think most people will take the same view.

Published in Solo Sailing, Figaro Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author 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 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. 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
Who is Your Sailor Sailor of the Year 2019?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

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 Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails 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