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Tom Dolan Fifth, Wins the VIVI Trophy

Published on 19/09/2020

The fifth place overall for Tom Dolan, the Irish skipper of Smurfit Kappa, was also secured this evening when Stage 4 had to be called off due to the lack of wind. His becomes the best international result since those of Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre who finished second in 1990 and in 1997 behind Franck Cammas. As top international finisher he wins the VIVI Trophy.

Dolan, who was on his third La Solitaire after moving up from the Mini 650 class sailed an excellent opening first leg, leading the fleet towards Fastnet. But the tenth place on the first stage gave him confidence to stick to his low risk strategies, resulting in his 11th on the leg into Dunkirk and seventh into Saint Nazaire.

Based in Concarneau since 2009, the 33 year old Irish skipper who grew up on a farm in rural Ireland before joining the Glenans sailing schools in the west of Ireland, Dolan came into the race hoping to finish in the top half of the fleet, laying to rest some of the ghosts of his first two La Solitaire du Figaros, not least having to retire less than an hour into Stage 1 of the 2018 race when a spreader root fitting broke.

He was due to sail the AG2R with his friend and business partner Francois Jambou, the MiniTransat winner with whom he sailed the Drheam Cup

Said Dolan on the dock in Saint Nazaire, “Right now I am so happy with the result. I came here with hopes of finishing in the top 15. I really wanted to do better than last year when I was 33rd, so to be able to come here and finish in fifth place is amazing. I am delighted.”

“To be honest the best thing that happened in terms of preparation was doing so badly in the Solo Maitre Coq early in the season. I realised the problem was in my head and did something about it.”

It is all in the head. I never put enough importance on mental preparation. It is a bit mad this sport. You can have nice sails and the smoothest hull, nice rudders and a fast boat but the head is the most important thing. I think.

The best moments of the race were going towards the Fastnet Rock in first place or in the lead group anyway, that was fairly incredible. And then this evening when the leg was cancelled, it was all a bit strange to hope that there would be no wind. And so coming back in under engine realising I had done it was brilliant.

I have to say that I am here as the best ‘foreigner’ but really Sam Goodchild I have to say was better than me and just got unlucky on one stupid transition at Belle Ile. I should say the VIVI Trophy should be his. But, yes, in La Solitaire you have to be lucky too. I am going to get lots of sleep now and then take my girlfriend on holiday, but then I hear that I am sixth in the French offshore championship so that might have to wait!”

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