In the starting blocks of the Laura Vergne Trophy!

In the starting blocks of the Laura Vergne Trophy!

Tom Dolan lines up with French co-skipper Achille Nebout for Trophee Laura Vergne

Two weeks on from his encouraging sixth in the 2023’s season’s first race, the Solo Maître CoQ, Irish sailor Tom Dolan transitions to double-handed mode as he pairs up with French ace Achille Nebout for the new 316 miles Trophee Laura Verge which started this afternoon.

Over last year’s race season the Irish-French duo tested and trained a lot together, on the same boat and boat on boat testing. This Monday afternoon at 1500hrs aboard Dolan’s Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan they crossed the start line of this new race which has drawn a high quality 22 boat fleet.

The race started off La Trinite sur Mer where it is due to finish on Wednesday after completing a loop down to the south in what look set to be mainly light winds, especially towards the finish when there might be a regrouping with the fleet compacting near the line. But Dolan is confident their pairing will prove a strong one.

“ We are good friends and have complementary skills, we have worked together, trained together and shared logistics before so we get on very well.” Dolan summarises, “He is from an Olympic background so good at making the boat go fast.”

Although the pinnacle event of the season, August and September’s La Solitaire du Figaro, is a solo race Dolan is pleased to have the opportunity to race with a co-skipper of Nebout’s experience,

“ I like sailing with someone else, sailing solo can get monotonous sometimes so it is great to have someone to bounce ideas around with. And Achille is good, he is strong on starts, manoeuvres and boat on boat. And de got a podium overall on La Solitaire du Figaro. We know what works as we worked together last year and so we are very much on the same page.”

Before this afternoon’s start Dolan spoke of the weather and likely strategy, “For now, the weather files do not agree with each other. It’s very difficult to know what’s going to happen but in any case it promises to be interesting. They are taking us south instead of north to stay away from a high pressure system and its light winds. ”