Dolan and Foxall team up as All-Irish Challenge for Figaro Season Opener © Tom Dolan Racing
Dolan and Foxall team up as All-Irish Challenge for Figaro Season Opener © Tom Dolan Racing

Sardinha Cup

Because of the very light winds forecast for today on France’s Vendée coast, Sunday, Race Direction of the Sardinha Cup made the decision early this morning to shorten course for the opening stage of the three leg race series which is the first test for the new Beneteau Figaro 3 class.

Ireland’s Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall crossed the finish line in thirteenth place on Smurfit Kappa after about 17 hours of racing since starting Saturday afternoon at 1400hrs local time.

The Irish duo had lead off the start line and remained very much in the match, in the leading group for most of the stage, succumbing to one small error on what proved to be the final leg in to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, the start and finish port.

Dolan reported: “We are happy with our place and happy with our speed too. We made a small mistake on the long tack between the Ile de Yeu and Les Sables d’Olonne by going a little too close to the coast. We were hoping to get more pressure than the others, but in the end, we lost a lot of places, “explained the skipper of Smurfit Kappa.

“We were in the game for the whole race. As Damian said, we arrived in good company. It’s definitely fun to play in the best group, “added the Irish sailor, who reflected on their glamour start: “It was really nice to pass in front of the whole fleet. What I will remember though is that we really have a good speed and so we can play a low risk strategy and look to make small gains here and there.” The duo take heart from finishing in front of some big names such as Loïck Peyron, Gildas Morvan, Xavier Macaire, Gwénolé Gahinet and Charlie Dalin.

“It gives you confidence for the future,” Dolan summarised.

Looking ahead to the send stage, Act 2 which starts on Tuesday, Tom said: “We will try to rest and work hard on our navigation and strategy homework as the next stage is longer and carries a three times coefficient. So we would love to do well and feel we can as we have decent speed.”

You can track the fleet on the race tracker at sardinhacup.com/cartographie

by Tom Dolan Racing

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