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Tom Dolan in Top Ten in Stage 3 of Solo URGO Figaro

10th September 2018
Tom Dolan’s Figaro 2 Smurfit Kappa is currently among the front-runners in Stage 3 of the Figaro Solo Tom Dolan’s Figaro 2 Smurfit Kappa is currently among the front-runners in Stage 3 of the Figaro Solo Credit: Alex Courcoux

Ireland’s Tom Dolan has seen his position move between 7th and 12th this morning as he features frequently in the Top Ten with the Solitaire URGO Figaro fleet racing in difficult headwinds across the southern Bay of Biscay from Northwest Spain to St Gilles in France writes W M Nixon. An area of slack higher pressure in the middle of the Bay has seen all but two of the fleet hold to the east of the base course line in the hope of finding firmer breezes indicated closer to the coast of North Spain. But at the moment it is one of the two boats which have struck out to the north, Thierry Chabagny’s Gedimat, which is shown as current leader of Stage 3.

Chabagny (who still has 231 miles to sail to the finish) and the group packed tightly around Dolan (currently in tenth) are moving at much the same speed of around 6.5 knots hard on the wind. But the predictions are that the often unpredictable mid-Biscay waters will see Chabigny losing wind power, yet it really is anyone’s guess.

Ireland’s other entry Joan Mulloy currently lies 32nd after a long and often frustrating night – like most of the fleet she is to the east of the baseline, currently sailing on starboard tack at 5.8 knots.

Race tracker here

Published in Tom Dolan
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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Tom Dolan, Solo Offshore Sailor

Even when County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan had been down the numbers in the early stages of the four-stage 2,000 mile 2020 Figaro Race, Dolan and his boat were soon eating their way up through the fleet in any situation which demanded difficult tactical decisions.

His fifth overall at the finish – the highest-placed non-French sailor and winner of the Vivi Cup – had him right among the international elite in one of 2020's few major events.

The 33-year-old who has lived in Concarneau, Brittany since 2009 but grew up on a farm in rural County Meath came into the gruelling four-stage race aiming to get into the top half of the fleet and to underline his potential to Irish sailing administrators considering the selection process for the 2024 Olympic Mixed Double Offshore category which comes in for the Paris games.

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