Wide image of Tom Dolan on his boat off the Irish coast with a lighthouse on the land close to the sea.
© Tom Dolan | Alexis Courcoux

Tom Dolan

By  Matthew Crowe  -  01 Feb 2024

Not many epic sailing stories begin on rural Irish farms, but for “The flying Irishman” sailor Tom Dolan, on a small lake in a renovated wooden dinghy, this is exactly where his began. From unexpected roots Tom has become a force in competitive sailing, internationally renowned, with multiple successes and awards to his name and a world record attempt in the off. Dubarry has been his first and proud sponsor since 2015 following the toil and dedication of his exciting career.

A yearning for the water

Tom’s sailing career was ignited at the age of 19. Despite formative teenage years pursuing a ‘normal’ career, a yearning for the water drew him to French organisation Les Glénans’ Sailing School in Baltimore, Co. Cork. Volunteer work developed into a paid position and later professional training at the largest Glénans base in Concarneau, Brittany.


By 2012 Tom was crewing and racing regularly and entered the Mini 6.50 Transat Class in a double handed race around the Fastnet rock and back. By 2015, having notched up 50 thousand miles including three Atlantic crossings, working for himself, he completed the Mini transit Race in 22nd place and as second rookie overall in annual rankings. In a brand new boat, the first race of 2016 saw Tom as the first Irish person to win a solo race in France and by 2017 his 5th place in the 2017 Mini Transat became the best ever Irish result.

Tom Dolan celebrates after winning a race aboard his boat with the Dubarry of Ireland logo on the mast.
© Tom Dolan | Alexis Courcoux

Career Breakthrough

In 2018 Tom joined the Bénéteau Figaro professional sailing circuit and sponsored by Irish packaging outfit, Smurfit Kappa, sailed in the most competitive offshore race in the world, The Solitaire du Figaro. In his third season Tom made the breakthrough of his career, finishing 5th in the 2020 “La Solitaire” race. An unprecedented result by any Irish skipper, this saw him awarded him the VIVI Trophy for the first non-French skipper, 6th place in the French Elite Offshore Racing Championship plus the title of Irish Sailor of the Year.


When the global health crisis brought a temporary hold to French racing, Tom took the opportunity to explore his native coastline but has since had a busy 2022 and competitive start to 2023. In March ‘23 Tom crossed the line sixth in the Solo Maître CoQ, and in April, with French co-skipper Achille Nebout, finished 9th in the Laura Vergne Trophy then was victorious with a crew comprising England’s Alan Roberts and French ace Gildas Mahe, in the Figaro Beneteau 3 class in the regatta Spi Ouest France.

Tom Dolan aboard his boat while at sea in choppy conditions, sailing around a buoy, wearing a pair of Dubarry Crosshaven Sailing Boots.
© Tom Dolan | Alexis Courcoux

World record attempt

March also brought the announcement of a world record attempt. An idea formulated during Covid, Tom plans to attempt to break the singlehanded record for sailing 698 nautical miles around his native Ireland. “I have never sailed round Ireland, and I know myself already that it is the most beautiful Island in the world, so it will be great for me to learn my own country from the sea”. As skipper of Smurfit Kappa – Kingspan he is aiming to complete the circumnavigation in 3.5 days or less on his 30ft (10m) Figaro Beneteau 3.


He plans to bring Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan to Ireland in late April and will be based in Dun Laoghaire until a suitable weather window appears. “I hope this is a great opportunity to engage with the Irish people. It is a good sailing challenge but easy enough to follow. I have never done anything like this before and I can’t wait”

Tom Dolan setting up his boat to set sail while it is docked.
© Tom Dolan | Alexis Courcoux

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