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Solid Mid Fleet Solo Concarneau Result Encourages Tom Dolan

9th August 2020
Tom Dolan after finishing the Solo Concarneau Tom Dolan after finishing the Solo Concarneau

From what proved to be a very closely fought, light winds psychological roller coaster Ireland’s Tom Dolan returned a solid, middle of the fleet 14th place in the Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten which finished Saturday.

For Kenny Rumball, Ireland's second entry in the solo race, it was a tough debut before September's Figaro Race.

After two days and three hundred nautical miles of racing Dolan on Smurfit Kappa finished 32 minutes after race winner Pierre Quiroga on Skipper Macif 2019.

Dolan was especially pleased that he had stuck rigidly to his pre-race plan and had not allowed his concentration to be derailed early in the offshore race when he found himself deep in the pack.

Between four and five hours after Thursday’s start Dolan had to stop Smurfit Kappa, to back up to try and remove clumps of weed off his appendages. In the end he had no alternative than to dive in and pull the weed clear.

“I lost about ten places and then was pretty much last but I really did not let it upset me and just stayed cool knowing opportunities would come my way. I really stuck to what I knew was my strategy, my road book and everything just worked out progressively. So 14th may not be brilliant but I am very pleased that I held it together and that gives me a lot of confidence for La Solitaire.” Dolan reported.

“It was pretty light all the way, never more than 13 kts at any point in the race. One thing now with these boats is that until they get a bit lively at 14kts of windspeed everyone is pretty much going at the same speeds now. It is so much down to the little things which are making a difference here and there around the course.” Dolan recalls, “I am happy this time not to have made any stupid mistakes. In this case, I could have done better but it was one of those races you could have sailed really well and still done worse than 14th.”

Looking ahead to La Solitaire du Figaro which starts 30th August in the Baie de Saint Brieuc, Dolan feels he is in decent shape, “I will do a little work on the boat between then and now and I’d maybe like just a bit more reaching speed but I am happy with the way I am sailing and the choices I am making. You can spend days looking for the perfect sail shape or tenths of a knot here and there but if you go the wrong way or lose your focus when it goes wrong then that is worth nothing. So I am pleased with my mental preparation and can’t wait for La Solitaire.” He concludes

Published in Tom Dolan, Figaro
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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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