Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
Zhik ZK Seaboot 900
Zhik ZK Seaboot 900

The Vision for 2020: Tom Dolan aims high with Smurfit Kappa

by Tom Dolan Racing 10 Mar 13:57 GMT 13-22 March 2020
Tom Dolan, the Irish skipper of Smurfit Kappa © Thomas Deregnieaux

The 2020 season for the Figaro class is fast approaching with the Solo Maitre CoQ due to start in Les Sables d'Olonne, France on Monday.

Irish solo racer Tom Dolan is pleased to have a achieved a much more balanced, clearly focused build up seeking to make last year's weaknesses into strengths and return a set of consistent good results.

The Solo Maître Coq comprises two days of coastal courses followed by a two day offshore race and is an important warm up, a chance to benchmark against the fleet following the winter and early spring training period.

It is an opportunity to check the boat is perfect before April's demanding Transat AG2R from Concarneau to Saint Barths in the Caribbean. The pinnacle event of the season is once again La Solitaire du Figaro which takes place in September.

"One thing I have been working hard on is my personal preparation and management ashore and afloat." Dolan asserts, " Last year with the boat being new it was a bit of a mad scramble for everyone to find the time to train and to prep and optimise the boats. Maximising sailing time whilst requiring time to fix and optimise the systems, and remember it was all compressed by technical faults, all added up to a tiring, stressful season. Looking back that definitely impacted on my decision making and for sure making wrong decisions impacted much more on my season than any lack of boatspeed at any one time."

"I am just trying to be more disciplined on and off the water so I can put myself in the best position to make good decisions when they really count."

"So I am working from my programme as much as possible that makes things like safeguarding days off and not sliding into working on the computer and messing with the boat. Rest is vital and he has been taking time to learn from the meteo books and doing as much homework about the race courses, looking at different scenarios now so I feel prepared. I have just re-read all the information about the Vendée weather for example whereas this time last year I was worried about if blocks were in the right place."

Dolan has worked hard on his pre season preparation with his sailmaker Technique Voiles and feels he has made further gains. "It is a work in progress as it always is but with the cable-less gennakers I feel there is a definite gain but we will have to see against the whole fleet.

After the Transatlantic race he is planning to bring Smurfit Kappa to Ireland for six weeks to trial a some potential female sailors with a view to forming an Irish campaign for the two handed offshore class for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

"I have had a couple of women who are interested approach me and so we will do some sailing and see how we get on. But this period will also allow me to do some data analysis with an Irish company who are keen to help me generally on data and performance analysis."

The Transat AG2R will be a big test not just for the two co-skippers but for the Figaro Beneteau 3 boats which have never raced on such a long ocean passage.

"Keeping the boats dry below and stopping water coming in is the big test. There were problems enough on La Solitaire in the Celtic Sea so we really have been working on what can be done." He explains, "I am really looking forwards to racing hard two handed to be able to really push the boat. And there should be a chance for a good rest afterwards. La Solitaire is what matters and I want to be doing all I can to arrive at the start rested, focused and ready to put three good, solid legs together."

Related Articles

North Sails Weekly Debrief
Engine Above the deck, Choosing your Sailmaker, Improve your tacks Each IMOCA inventory is unique to their skipper, boat and rig plan. The North Sails team in France enlightens us on tailor-made solutions to compete at the highest level. Posted on 10 Aug
Ireland's Tom Dolan set for final warm-up
The Solo Concarneau is the final key check in before La Solitaire du Figaro Tom Dolan sailing Smurfit Kappa is looking to the 380 nautical miles Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten to confirm that he has everything in place for the season's pinnacle solo event, the 1830 miles, four stage La Solitaire du Figaro. Posted on 5 Aug
Phil Sharp enters La Solitaire du Figaro race
Joining a fleet of 32 to compete in final warmup race This 51st edition will start in the bay of Saint-Brieuc and include several crossings of the English Channel passing key landmarks; Fastnet Rock and Wolf Rock, a stopover in Dunkirk, and finishing in Saint-Nazaire. Posted on 4 Aug
Fogerty & Glenny set for Round Ireland Race
704 nautical mile race starts on 22nd August in Wicklow Irish offshore sailors Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny have announced their two handed entry, "Total Produce" to the challenging SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race which will commence on the 22nd August 2020 from Wicklow. Posted on 27 Jul
Encouraging Drheam Cup 2nd place for Tom Dolan
In the in the Figaro Duo Class Ireland's solo racer Tom Dolan gave his hopes for this year's La solitaire du Figaro solo offshore race a significant boost when he and French co-skipper François Jambou finished second overall on Smurfit Kappa in the Figaro duo class. Posted on 22 Jul
Encouraging start to Phil Sharp's Figaro 3 season
Throwing himself into the deep end in the Solo Maitre CoQ The race identified areas which exceeded Sharp's expectations, racing in the leading pack, neck to neck against some of world's best including Vendée Globe winner Armel le Cléac'h and Gildas Mahé, among the most experienced. Posted on 29 Jun
Henry Bomby accelerates keelboat learning curve
Lack of time is always the biggest enemy for an ambitious sailor Lack of time is always the biggest enemy for an ambitious sailor. Which is why Olympic aspirant Henry Bomby is using every trick and tactic at his disposal in speeding up the learning curve. Posted on 29 Jun
Early mistakes cost Tom Dolan dearly
Irish solo racer had no real chances to recover and make the solid opening Early mistakes in very light and very fluky winds cost Tom Dolan dearly, leaving the Irish solo racer with no real chances to recover and make the solid opening he had wanted in the 340 nautical miles Solo Maître CoQ. Posted on 29 Jun
Phil Sharp's first Figaro 3 race of the season
30 figarists eager for the battle in the Solo Maitre Coq The Solo Maitre Coq will mark the start of the Figaro 3 season this year with 30 figarists eager for the battle ahead following three months of delay due to confinement. Posted on 24 Jun
2020 edition of La Solitaire du Figaro confirmed
35 solo sailors are expected on the start line in Saint-Brieuc The owners and organisers of La Solitaire du Figaro, OC Sport Pen Duick, have confirmed that the flagship race of the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship will go ahead at the end of the summer. Posted on 23 Jun