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Rested Tom Dolan Aims to Improve on His Fifth Overall in La Solitaire du Figaro

23rd August 2023
The la Solitaire du Figaro 2023 fleet berthed in Caen
The la Solitaire du Figaro 2023 fleet berthed in Caen Credit: Alexis Courcoux

Irish skipper, Tom Dolan is gearing up for the La Solitaire du Figaro solo offshore race, which starts on Sunday from Caen, Normandy and heads to Piriac-sur-mer via stops in Kinsale, County Cork in his native Ireland and Roscoff in northern Brittany.

Dolan, who is racing for Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan, and is the only Irish entrant in the race, spent a short summer break in his French home in Concarneau, Brittany, before the race.

Irish Figaro skipper, Tom DolanIrish Figaro skipper, Tom Dolan from the National Yacht Club

The break was vital for Dolan, who had been teetering on the edge of burnout after a busy season that included several races as well as a failed Round Ireland speed record bid in May.

Dolan hopes to improve on his seventh-place finish last year and his career-best fifth overall in 2020. He is looking to control the controllables and not let small errors become big problems.

To achieve his goal, Dolan has banned himself from sugary snacks and chocolate this race and is instead focusing on small meals as often as possible.

Published in Tom Dolan, Figaro

Tom Dolan's Round Ireland Speed Record Bid Live Tracker

Follow Tom Dolan (and his onboard media man) during his Round Ireland Speed record attempt in the live tracker below.

Dolan has agreed with the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) that he will attempt to break the 'Round Ireland Double-handed less than 40ft record'.

While the WSSC is not recording this as a solo attempt (as Dolan has a journalist onboard), Dolan says he is also seeking to set a 'faux record' by attempting to break the Belgian Michel Kleinjan's solo 2005 record time.

The course is approximately 700 miles long. 

Reference times are the 2005 solo record by Kleinjans aboard a Class40: 4 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes and 29 seconds and the doublehanded record set in 2020 by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt on a Figaro3 of 3 days, 19 hours, 41 minutes and 39 seconds.

The exact time Dolan must beat for the double-handed record is Thursday, 2 November 2023, 11:32:12

The exact time Dolam must beat for the solo (faux) record is Thursday, 2 November 2023, 17:44:02

Check out all Afloat's regular Tom Dolan updates on the record bid right here 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.