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Tom Dolan Finishes La Figaro du Solitaire 2021 On A High

18th September 2021
Podium place plus for a cheerful Tom Dolan in Saint-Nazaire, with Vivi Trophy victory and third in the final Figaro stage
Podium place plus for a cheerful Tom Dolan in Saint-Nazaire, with Vivi Trophy victory and third in the final Figaro stage

Ireland’s Tom Dolan was in fine form last night (Friday) in Saint-Nazaire at the awards ceremony for the 52nd Solitaire du Figaro, winning the Vivi Trophy for the best-placed non-French skipper in the demanding fourth stage, and taking third place in the fleet of 34 boats. After the frustrations and setbacks of the earlier stages, Dolan found new reserves of performance and endurance within himself for the challenge of a long final race from Morlaix round the Fastnet Rock (where he was narrowly leading overall) and then southeast past western Brittany to the finish at Saint-Nazaire, where he’d staved off multiple challenges to hold onto third slot.

Such is the level of competition in the modern Figaro Solo that the Vivi Trophy - presented to the Figaro organisation by Marcus and Megan Hutchinson of Kinsale and Brittany - has become a coveted award in its own right, and this - together with the prized third place in the fourth and final stage - was a much-needed boost for the Dolan team.

Published in Tom Dolan
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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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