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Tom Dolan Finishes 2019 with Tour de Bretagne à la Voile

15th September 2019
Tom Dolan competing in the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile Tom Dolan competing in the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile

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

Published in Tom Dolan
Andi Robertson

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Andi Robertson

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Andi Robertson is an international sailing journalist based in Scotland

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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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