Ireland’s Tom Dolan is ready for Laura Vergne Trophy offshore race: “We’re on it!”

Ireland’s Tom Dolan is ready for Laura Vergne Trophy offshore race: “We’re on it!”

Only one week after the Solo Guy Cotten Trophy races which was the first of the four events that comprise the season-long 2024 French Elite Offshore Racing Championship, Irish offshore sailor Tom Dolan now is racing out of La Trinité-sur-Mer at the Laura Vergne Trophy, an eponymous event which is a lasting memorial to a leading light in the administration of the Figaro class of boats in which the Offshore championship is sailed.

The format is similar to the last week’s seasonal curtain raiser – the Guy Cotten – with a five hours coastal race today followed by a 270 miles offshore race which starts Monday morning at 1000hrs local time.

Dolan, skipper of Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan, is sailing with young, up and coming French ace Paul Morvan. The duo proved today that they should be contenders for the long offshore when they finished fourth on the coastal race after leading for most of it.

Dolan has just had a solid week of training in the Class40 Amarris with Gildas Mahé and Spain’s Pep Costa training on the bigger boat ahead of the new Niji40 race from France to Guadeloupe which he will sail with the other two, but was back on form in his Figaro Beneteau today on the short coastal race.

The conditions were almost perfect, with a northwesterly wind of between 10 and 15 knots, a little unstable but with bright sunshine. It went really well for us and we actually led at the first few marks after making a really good start.” Reported the Irishman back in La Trinité-sur-Mer this afternoon.

Paul comes from dinghy racing and in particular the Laser and we engineered a good start. Things went well. We played well tactically and showed good speed which allowed us to lead until the last upwind leg when the fleet really split to either side of the course and we could not cover them all, so we chose to consolidate and be a bit safe and stay in the middle. With Paul we found a good harmony and were in phase with each other which I feel bodes well for the future.”

Speaking of the weather for the offshore race which should finish Tuesday Dolan explains, “It looks to be quite complex because a low pressure system is arriving onto the Atlantic coast. The positive is that we can expect to do a lot of downwind racing, both on the way out and on the way back. If this does happen it promises to be quite fast and that’s ideal because there is a gale coming in with between 35 and 40 knots on Wednesday and it would be good to miss that!”