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Solo Sailor Tom Dolan Wants to Represent Ireland in the Olympics

6th October 2020
Tom Dolan at the Fastnet Rock. The County Meath sailor went on to finish fifth overall in this year's La Solitare du Figaro race, Ireland's best ever result Tom Dolan at the Fastnet Rock. The County Meath sailor went on to finish fifth overall in this year's La Solitare du Figaro race, Ireland's best ever result

A farmer from County Meath representing Ireland in sailing at the Olympics.

That is what Tom Dolan would like to do, in France in 2024, when sailing at the Games is based in Marseille. The Olympic classes then are intended to include a new mixed two-handed offshore keelboat. The proposed new class has already interested Irish sailors with offshore experience.

Having finished as top non-French sailor in the Figaro Race, the 33-year-old tells me on this week's Afloat Podcast that he worked very hard on himself, particularly his decision-making, in preparation for this year's Figaro Race to achieve his success.

Tom Dolan SailingTom Dolan Sailing on his Figaro 3 yacht

He says that he likes the Figaro Race because it provides such an equal level of competition of sailor and boat against each other, not like "cheque-book" sailing which can dominate a lot of offshore racing.

He talks also about the elitism still perceived towards sailing and contrasts how some Irish yacht and sailing clubs have, he says, a 'keep out' approach in comparison to France. Tom Dolan describes how, in France, sailing is a major sport and how it was opened up there by public investment to anyone who would like to become involved.

Listen to the Podcast below. Also read: Tom Dolan: A People's Hero for Irish Sailing

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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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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