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54th La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec Stage 1 - Jury protest gives Tom Dolan the win

by La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec 1 Sep 2023 08:07 PDT 1 September 2023
The 54th la Solitaire du Figaro Paprec Leg 1: Tom Dolan arrives into Kinsale © Alexis Courcoux

The rankings for the first stage of the 54 La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec were altered this morning after decisions made by the International Jury.

The French rookie skipper who crossed the finish line first yesterday morning into Kinsale,Ireland Benoît Tuduri (CAPSO - En Cavale) received a 30-minute penalty after a protest against him from the Race Committee for breaking a class rule. He retains his position as first rookie on the Beneteau Bizuths ranking but drops to fourth.

Following this decision, without appeal, the Irish skipper Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa -Kingspan) becomes winner of the 610 miles first stage of the 54th edition of the race.

He becomes the first Irish skipper to win a stage of the annual multi-stage solo offshore race since compatriot Damian Foxall won in 1998 on the third leg from Gijon into Concarneau.

It is a remarkable success for Dolan whose first ever race was round the Fastnet only ten years ago.

Other Jury decisions affect Julie Simon (DOUZE) who was third across the line but received a 17-minute penalty. She is now 17th in the stage.

Switzerland's Nils Palmieri (TeamWork) and Robin Marais (Ma Chance Moi aussi) are now second and third)

In summary:

  • Tom Dolan moves to the top of the provisional general classification of the54th Solitaire du Figaro Paprec.
  • Julie Simon goes from 3rd to 17th place after jury.
  • Edouard Golbery and Ben Beasley(NZL) each receive a 15-minute penalty

Winner of the first stage and leader of the provisional general classification Tom Dolan emerged from his post race Physiotherapy session this morning to be told he has become the stage winner. He said:

"It feels weird right now, it will take time to sink in and it is not the way I would want to win a stage. I feel sorry for Benoit but I guess as a rookie he just didn't know the rules. I had tough start to the season with doing my Round Ireland record attempt and not making the time I needed, and otherwise I have not really been on top form, and I was worried about this leg because it is home waters and I am coming home and the last time I came here I did terribly - I was down in the 30s - and so winning this first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro with all these things going on in my head it feels great."

"I believe I am the first Irish sailor to win a stage of La Solitaire since Damian Foxall in 1998. and considering my first ever race was the Mini Fastnet in 2013 just ten years ago on a Pogo 1, it's not bad is it....."

He adds, "This will give me a lot more confidence but it will not affect the way I approach or prepare for the next two legs"

Édouard Golbery (Race for Science - Verder) received a 15-minute penalty for entering the DST at the Saint-Marcourf islands. He is now ranked 24th. "It's a bit frustrating but at the same time, it's a mistake on my part because I didn't update the road book with the amendment in the race document. I had re-imported everything just before departure and I thought everything was up to date. In fact, the zone had to be created manually. I will know next time. I don't doubt my mistake but 15 minutes is not insignificant. That's how it is, I'm a rookie,I won't make the same mistake next time."

Same penalty for New Zealand skipper Ben Beasley (Ocean Attitude), who entered the same TSS for the same reasons. "It's disappointing but the jury's decision is fair. The amendment came late, I didn't see it. Just the French version and I didn't understand. I thought they were going to update the Adrena files they gave us initially but they didn't. It's a hard lesson but I'm learning.

"In the end, it doesn't change anything in terms of ranking but it means more time to make up compared to those who are ahead," he declared. He nevertheless retained his 29th place in the first stage ranking.

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