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Tom Dolan and Smurfit Kappa ready for the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile

by Tom Dolan Racing 7 Sep 06:47 BST 7-14 September 2019
Tom Dolan guides Smurfit Kappa into seventh place © Breschi Live / Teamwork

Recognising a need to help aspiring young sailors get a toehold on the solo racing ladder, Ireland's Tom Dolan will be partnered aboard Smurfit Kappa on the imminent 2019 multi stage Tour de Bretagne à la Voile race by French based 25 year old Turkish sailor Ediz Onen.

The six stage race starts Saturday from the Saint Quai on the Bay of Saint Brieuc to Saint Malo, both in the NE of the Brittany peninsula, and finishes next weekend in La Trinite sur Mer after stops in Brest, Concarneau and Larmor Plage.

The longest leg is over 300 miles, racing between Saint Malo and Brest via Wolf Rock. The race which is only is for Beneteau Figaro 3s is part of the French Elite Solo Offshore Championship and has attracted 37 entries.

Onen is a young Mini class sailor who, just as Dolan did some 10 years ago, has moved to France and immersed himself in the solo racing culture there. Recognising a kindred spirit, Dolan has decided to pair up with Onen.

"He moved to France two years ago. In some ways I was struggling to really find a suitable co-skipper to sail with me. I spoke to the organisation of the race and they suggested two young Breton sailors but in fact I'd rather give the chance to someone who is a bit more like I was a few years ago. He is a good young sailor, a blank sheet of paper in some respects, so I am liking the chance to give him a helping hand. He knows how to drive and so we will do just fine I am sure." Dolan said in Saint Quai today before starting, "For me it is also beneficial to be able to teach him, it takes you back to basics and also it gives me sole responsibility for the decision making on this race."

After the rigorous La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro in June, this race is a little about enjoyment and sailing some hard miles in what promises to be some strong winds.

"There will be a front come through Monday which will bring some strong winds, 30 knots and over, and so I am looking forwards to that. We had a bit of 25 knots plus in the early season off Cape Finisterre but really nothing big."

Of his prospects in this race Dolan who originally hails from Kells, County Meath admits, "It is very hard to tell. There is a strong fleet in this race, if were to get a top ten in a leg or two I'd be delighted. But really this race is for the enjoyment and a bit of learning."

The course:

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