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Tom Dolan's First Test of 2021 at the Solo Maitre Coq Regatta

16th March 2021
County Meath sailor Tom Dolan gets his first test of 2021in the Solo Maitre Coq Regatta this week
County Meath sailor Tom Dolan gets his first test of 2021in the Solo Maitre Coq Regatta this week Credit: via Facebook

Ireland's Sailor of the Year Tom Dolan gets his first test of the 2021 season this week when he races in the Solo Maitre Coq Regatta in the Figaro Beneteau 3 foilers.

For two days, the Dolan among a fleet of 29 face each other on inshore courses in the bay of Les Sables d'Olonne with the big race of next week on Thursday, routing the skippers around the islands of Re, Yeu and Belle-ile.

Known in France, where he is based, as L’Irlandais Volant (the flying Irishman), Dolan put his Figaro 3 Smurfit Kappa back into the water in February and began his first training sessions from Lorient, ahead of this week's first races of 2021.

Over the last week, the Lorient training group made a round trip from Lorient to Concarneau.

The Solo Maitre Coq is taking place behind closed doors. No visitors are allowed on the Vendee Globe pontoon.

Dolan lifted the Irish Sailor of the Year award in February, now in its 25th year, the top award is presented by Afloat magazine and recognises not just his 2020 La Solitaire success but his sixth place overall in the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship.

Solo Maitre Coq 2021 Provisional programme

Friday, March 19
9h: Deadline for the arrival of the skippers and their boat at the Port Olona race pontoon - Tonnage checks.

Monday, March 22
9:30 am: Departure from the pontoon and up the channel.
11 am: Departure off the first leg.

Tuesday, 23 March
9:30 am: Departure from the pontoon and up the channel.
11am: Departure off the second round.
7 p.m .: Official evening - Dinner.

Thursday, March 25
11am: Departure from the pontoon and up the channel.
1 p.m .: Start of the big race.

Saturday, March 27
Arrival of the offshore race.

Sunday, March 28
11:30 am: Prize giving.

Published in Tom Dolan
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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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