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Tom Dolan’s Seventh Overall is His Best Solo Maître CoQ Yet 

19th March 2023
Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan produced his best Solo Miatre Coq result despite a navigational error
Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan produced his best Solo Miatre Coq result despite a navigational error

Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan laid to rest the ghosts of three past Solo Maître CoQ events when he finished seventh overall from a 30-boat fleet Saturday. After his 11th in Wednesday’s short inshore race the skipper of Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan fought back from a schoolboy error early in the 340 miles offshore race to finish eighth across the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne on Saturday late afternoon.  

He passed the wrong side of a mark on the way south towards La Rochelle and had sailed three miles passed it before he turned back and made good his course. Not long after, he was 29th, but he once again proved one of the fastest sailors in the strong breeze when he pulled back through the fleet in blustery winds to 35kts at times.  

“It was good to be able to even see the winners in the end. I don’t really know how deep I was in the fleet but it was very bad and a silly mistake that could really have cost me", smiled a relieved and exhausted Dolan back in the Vendee port. “But this is my best ever Solo Maître CoQ yet, and so it’s fine, it’s good.”  

Of the navigational error he said “I gave the boat a good thumping with my fist I was that angry with myself but having vented I just got on with concentrating on my strategy and bit by bit it paid off.” reported Dolan who blew his chances of a good result last year when he tore his gennaker sail. The previous edition he twisted his ankle and had to retire from the offshore and on his first attempt he lost his focus entirely when he made a few bad early decisions and finished way down the fleet,  

 “This long offshore was tough, with calm and a real battle in the strong winds, it just got windier all through last night.  It was trying, both for the nerves and physically and hard on the boats, so I am glad I did not break anything.”  

“In the end, it was about going fast and not breaking anything. I took places as I went but obviously, when I started to get closer to the leaders, it became more complicated! “, said the Irish skipper who crossed the finish line after two days and five hours at sea.”  

“Anyway the hoodoo is buried and it feels good! “ concluded Dolan whose next regatta is the Laura Vergne Trophy, the lead-up to the Spi Ouest-France Banque Populaire Grand-Ouest event on April 1 in La Trinité-sur-Mer. 

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.