Please select your home edition

Tom Dolan relishing tough second stage of La Solitaire du Figaro 2022

by Tom Dolan Racing 27 Aug 2022 23:40 PDT 28 August 2022
La Solitaire du Figaro 2022 © Pilpre Arnaud

Twelfth after Stage 1 of the 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro, Ireland's solo racing sailor Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) sees the 635 miles second stage, which starts today at 1300hrs local time in Port La Forêt, Finistère, Brittany, as a great opportunity to play to his strengths and experience as he seeks to reduce the 1hr 23min deficit he has to the podium of the three stage race.

Since finishing Thursday morning Dolan has been super vigilant and disciplined in his rest and recovery. Even though he lives only ten minutes drive from the La Solitaire race village he has chosen to rent an apartment locally to ensure he stays absolutely in the 'zone'.

He asserts, "Anytime I have gone home during a race I have not done well on the next leg, so it is important to stay in the zone, in the race, in the rhythm. I don't know if others who live round here have done the same because I literally I have not seen anyone. It is sleep, eat, weather, drink water and drink more water."

With the benefit of hindsight and rest, he is happy with his Leg 1 performance, "It was positive. Overall I think I sailed well. I even led the race for a couple of hours - even if nobody noticed - but it is positive to have been up there. And from there you can only control the controllables as they say. I don't feel like I made mistakes and finished with the group I was with. I could do nothing to respond to the boats which were miles behind and then went way west, that was their opportunity. And I finished within fifteen minutes of the top of the lead group, so that is good."

But while Leg 1 was stop start and allowed the fleet to compress many times this second stage is going to be a big test of big winds sailing, "On paper the next leg looks like the toughest leg I have ever seen coming up on a Solitaire. We have 24 hours of strong winds - 25 gusting 30kts in the north of the English Channel, upwind and downwind, at night with cargo ships everywhere. So that will be 24 hours without sleep and then the wind just shuts off completely at the Chaussée de Sein. With the two conditions like that you cant sleep. Twelve hours stuck at the helm, under the spinnaker, gobbling down energy bars with the brain switched off and the drysuit on. Then we sail straight into the light winds."

The prospect of the fast sailing is one Dolan is looking forwards to, not least after a high proportion of drifting around on Leg 1, even if he was up front until the final third of the course from Saint Nazaire to Port La Foret. He concludes. "I am a little excited by it. I like it and manage alright. This will be a test of seamanship, don't explode the spinnaker. And going through Guernsey with big wind over tide. It will be about looking after the boat and myself, making good manoeuvres and doing them slowly and well. And it is not the kind of stage where you absolutely have to be in the lead group. Even if they get away from you every GRIB file says we will sail into a hole at the end. It is important not to be completely left behind, it is about keeping up a high average and looking after the boat and the kit."

Follow the race at

Related Articles

Tom Dolan's best Solo Maître CoQ yet
Seventh overall for Ireland's leading solo offshore racer 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. Posted on 20 Mar
Tom Dolan pleased to be back racing
As the Solo Maître CoQ finally gets under way After two days delayed on land whilst the Vendée coast was buffeted by gales and big seas, today racing got under way at French solo offshore racing's first event of the 2023 season the Solo Maître CoQ. Posted on 15 Mar
First Solo Maître CoQ race planned for Wednesday
A swell greater than 5 meters currently off Les Sables d'Olonne As expected the weather conditions and more significantly the sea state with a swell greater than 5 meters off Les Sables d'Olonne, required Race Management of the 20th Solo Maître CoQ to give up the idea of a short coastal course Tuesday. Posted on 14 Mar
Irish sailor Tom Dolan staying mentally focused
As programme upset by weather at 2023's first event Solo Maître CoQ plans two short coastal races before Thursday's long offshore. Posted on 13 Mar
Road to Gold Q&A Call with Alan Roberts
Secrets to why Figaro sailors are the Masters of Offshore French Figaro sailors, whether past or present, seem to do very well on the fully-crewed offshore circuit. So what makes them so good? Posted on 11 Mar
A new season begins for Ireland's Tom Dolan
The Irish sailor is relishing the start of the 2023 Figaro Beneteau season A comprehensive sail testing programme completed and longer periods of intensive pre-season training races should mean Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan is well equipped to stake his claim to regular podium places over the course of the Figaro Bénéteau season. Posted on 7 Mar
La Solitaire du Figaro 2023 route announced
Three stage, 1850 miles course for 54th edition Three stage, 1850 miles course for 54th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro includes Kinsale, Ireland. Posted on 7 Mar
BayWa r.e. announces partnership with Sanni Beucke
Setting sail to promote sustainability and equality Professional sailor Susann "Sanni" Beucke, 31, silver medallist at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, and leading global renewable energy company BayWa r.e., officially launch their new long-term partnership. Posted on 8 Feb
Upping the ante for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race
James Boyd reviews some of the latest hardware built or acquired especially for this year's race Names on the Fastnet Challenge Cup include Jolie Brise, Dorade, Myth of Malham, Carina II, Pen Duick III, Condor, Nicorette, Morning Glory, Nokia, Rán 2, Night and Day, Courrier Du Leon and Lann Ael 2, plus the American VO70 Wizard and the Sunrise. Posted on 27 Jan
50th Rolex Fastnet Race on course for record entry
By 1300 today entries were up to 433 The Royal Ocean Racing Club's new race entry system has been burning red hot since 1200 UTC today when registration opened for the 50th edition of the club's flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 11 Jan
Selden 2020 - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson - Equilibrium 728x90px BOTTOMDoyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 BOTTOM