Tom Dolan, the Irish skipper of Smurfit Kappa, finished his first season in the Beneteau Figaro 3 on something of a high note when he took fourth place on the last stage of the 12th Tour de Bretagne à la Voile writes Andi Robertson.
Dolan, who sailed with young Turkish sailor Ediz Onën on the multistage two-handed week-long race round the Brittany peninsula took a creditable 21st place overall in the 37-boat fleet.
The course took the fleet from Saint-Quay-Portrieux to La Trinité-sur-Mer via Saint-Malo, Brest, Concarneau and Larmor-Plage and included a testing, 330 nautical miles stage into the western Channel from Saint Malo to Brest via Hands Deep by Plymouth which gave Dolan some of his best, most exciting racing of the year.
But it was on the concluding light winds, tactical 26 miles stage from Larmor Plage to La Trinité sur Mer that Dolan and Onën made their best result on Smurfit Kappa. There were two choices, working offshore or closer to the coast. Choosing the course closer to the land paid and the Irish-Turkish duo lay third until the final three miles where they lost one place to French rivals Corentin Douguet and Christian Ponthieu (NF Habitat).
“It is good to finish the season on that note, with a decent finish, it will be a reminder to me of what I know I am capable of. But that said I am a bit annoyed to have lost a place on the final bit to the finish.” Dolan acknowledged at the finish in La Trinité.
“It has been a decent season all in all. I finish it knowing where I can improve, definitely the starts and I need to stick with my strategy and not jump to something else when I suddenly think it looks better. Nearly always my first-choice strategy has been good.” Dolan added, “On this race, once again, I found myself fast. I was good downwind in the big breeze after Hands Deep and took five or six boats on that leg. But I was also taking 20 litres of water an hour – so two or three big buckets – down below through the foil door so there is some work there to be done over the next few months.”
Tom is bringing his boat to Dublin Bay from 28th September where he is making some day and half- day sails available to guests who make a suitable contribution to funds for Sailing into Wellness as Afloat reported here