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Irish Solo Sailor Tom Dolan Disappointed With 19th Into Roscoff in Figaro Race

10th September 2021
Disappointed in Roscoff - Tom Dolan rues the loss of a top ten finish on leg 3
Disappointed in Roscoff - Tom Dolan rues the loss of a top ten finish on leg 3

The disappointment was etched into Tom Dolan’s tired face as he docked Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan into Roscoff this afternoon at the end of a tough 624 miles Stage 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro.

Having been ninth at Bishop Rock, at the Scilly Isles yesterday afternoon Dolan crossed the finish line in 19th place more than three hours and 13 minutes after stage winner Pierre Quiroga.

The final night across the entrance to the English channel proved very tough and confounded many of the other top solo racers. The breeze was very unsettled in terms of wind strength and direction making it hard to maintain a rhythm. South of the Scillies, he lost places on the east side of the Traffic Separation Scheme exclusion zone around 0300-0400hrs early this morning when racing in a tight group and then tacked away with a group to the south in anticipation of an expected increase in the breeze and change in the wind direction.

His problems were compounded when the breeze dropped and the contrary tide started building within a few miles of the finish line, Dolan being stuck with a group of others trying to make the finish gun.

Dolan grimaced, "I feel a bit sickened really. I felt like I had sailed quite well until last night and one cross, just before the wind died and then I did not get going. It was a pretty brutal stage and right now I am pretty fed up, especially sitting out there for an extra three hours fighting the tide. I feel like I sailed better than that."

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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