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Honours for Irish Solo Sailor Tom Dolan in Paris

12th December 2022
Big honour - Tom Dolan (left) with Taoiseach Micheál Martin Martin at an awards ceremony in the Ritz in Paris
Big honour - Tom Dolan (left) with Taoiseach Micheál Martin Martin at an awards ceremony in the Ritz in Paris

Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has had an intense autumn of training on the water with his Figaro Bénéteau 3 Smurfit Kappa – Kingspan, during which he focused on getting the best from the offshore one design’s new autopilot sailing with French skippers Elodie Bonafous and Kévin Bloc'h.

And once the boat was safely put away into the shed for a winter of maintenance and fine-tuning for next season, Dolan enjoyed a new experience on shore as he became part of the weather data, routing and performance cell supporting Arthur Le Vaillant who was racing in the Ultim 32/23 class on the 12th Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe and finished sixth.

Dolan has been a guest at two prestigious gatherings recently in France and at home in his native Ireland. On November 28, the Irish sailor was invited to the "France Ireland Business Awards", a ceremony in the Ritz in Paris, where sponsor Kingspan received a prize for the “best Irish company established in France”.

"These annual trophies, organized by Network Ireland and the Franco-Irish Chamber of Commerce, reward the most dynamic companies which contribute in a big way to strengthening commercial ties between the two countries", explains Dolan, who is proud to wear the colours of Kingspan, a world leader in high-performance insulation and building panel solutions. He met Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin. “That was a big honour for me,” Dolan recalls.

On December 3rd, he was in Paris again, this time for the prizegiving for the 2022 French Elite Offshore Racing Championship, which took place at the Paris Boat Show the Nautic. The awards ceremony took place in the presence of Jean-Luc Denéchau, President of the French Sailing Federation, and Jean-Bernard Le Boucher, President of the Figaro Bénéteau Class. The top ten overall for the 2022 season were honoured, including Dolan, who was recognised for his fine 7th place (first foreigner).

Published in Tom Dolan Team

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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.