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Displaying items by tag: Tom Dolan

Irish ocean racer Tom Dolan is to face the might of the Atlantic for the second time in less than six months as he takes to the start line of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale. 

Dolan, 30, will face his first major test in the ultra-competitive Figaro Bénéteau class since stepping up from the Mini 6.50 fleet at the start of 2018.

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale will see Dolan race 3,800 miles from Concarneau in Brittany, France, to St Barts in the West Indies alongside teammate and former Mini 6.50 rival Tanguy Bouroullec.

The race comes just months after Dolan raced solo across the Atlantic in the 2017 Mini Transat in which he placed sixth overall in a fleet of 56.

Earlier this year Dolan teamed up with eco-friendly packaging giant Smurfit Kappa to launch his bid for the 2018 Figaro season and jointly promote a message of sustainability and innovation.

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale will be Dolan’s second outing in Smurfit Kappa after he and Bouroullec raced in the Solo Concarneau 250 earlier this month 

“In the Solo Concarneau 250 were happy speed-wise - we were fast upwind and downwind but unfortunately on a few occasions we were going quickly in the wrong direction,” said Dolan, from Kells in County Meath.

“It was a hard race but good for our first one. Now we need to step up for the Transat. It actually feels like I’m still in Transat mode because I only crossed the finish line of the Mini Transat a few months ago.

“The difference is that with this one is there’s no stopover – if we break something there’s there’s no time to stop. The level of the fleet is so high that if you take your foot off the gas for just a few minutes it’s very hard to get that back.”

Starting on Sunday April 22, the Transat AG2R La Mondiale will see 40 of the world’s best ocean racers converge in their two-person teams to fight it out for the coveted title.

Among the fleet are 2016 Figaro La Solitaire winner Yann Richomme and reigning serie division Mini Transat champion Erwan La Draoulec as well as Vendee Globe racers Morgan Lagraviere and Thomas Ruyant.

“It’s a big step up into the big league for me,” said Dolan, who the French refer to as L’Irlandais Volant – the Flying Irishman. “With the Mini I was on my own on my little scooter but now we’re on a big boat with all the big boys’ toys. It’s pretty overwhelming but I’m excited for the challenge.”

The race starts at 1300 local time (1100 UTC) and can be followed on the tracker here

Published in Figaro
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Meathman Tom Dolan made no secret of the fact that he expected his first competitive outing in the two-handed division of the famous Figaro Class to be a chastening experience writes W M Nixon.

With former Mini-Transat rival Tanguy Bouroullec (Bouroullec was fourth overall in the 54-strong Mini-Transat 2017, while Dolan was sixth), Dolan has recently taken over a well-used Figaro to move up a notch in the high-powered French scene. At the finish at the weekend, they were ninth out of eleven in the two-handed class, while fellow-rookie Joan Mulloy of Mayo racing Taste the Atlantic was 20th out of 24 in the Solo Division.

"Dolan has intensive training in mind before the Two-Handed Transatlantic starts in a fortnight’s time"

So they all have some way to go, to say the least. Dolan has intensive training in mind before the Two-Handed Transatlantic starts in a fortnight’s time, but meanwhile we’ll let him tell the story in his own inimitable way: 

“With regard to the Solo Concarneau 250, we are happy speed-wise. For two rookies who got our hands on the boat just two months ago, we were able to match the best of them for speed both upwind and downwind (useful for a Transatlantic!)

Also, we had a great start, and if it wasn't for a slightly over-doing the layline, we would have passed the first mark in first, so that’s another positive.

tom dolan monday2Tom Dolan and shipmate Tanguy Bouroullec

On the downside, though, we lacked preparation weather-wise, and we got hit hard at Quiberon as we didn’t go close enough in to the headland to exploit the huge left shift that came at it.

This meant that for the whole leg from Quiberon out to Belle Ile, we were to leeward of the fleet sailing close to the wind, while the others had a wider angle - we got steam-rolled. So we'll have to work on strategy a lot more for the Transat. And then in the light wind in the night, we took a while to get the machine going again, but more time on the water should help this.

Voila, that’s about it overall for now - happy enough, but lots of work to do. The level is monstrous, and we're competing against the best, so we know we can't expect to get the same sort of results as we did in the Mini. It will take time to learn the trade, and we have managed to do everything in two months that we had two years to do for the Mini-Transat.

The fact that we have managed to make the machine move is good - now we just have to be sure to move her in the right direction. It's better to go slowly in the right direction that quickly in the wrong one………”

tom dolan monday3Looking good when the going was good. Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance (second from left) when the rookies had found they’d the same speed as the other boats – their problem was choosing the right way to go.

Published in Figaro
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Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has revealed further details of plans to compete in the hotly-contested Figaro class in 2018 – a move that takes him one step closer to his ultimate goal of the Vendee Globe.

Dolan will join the gruelling Figaro circuit, which features some of the world’s best singlehanded sailors, after a successful tenure in the Mini 6.50 class.

The 30-year-old from Kells, County Meath, notched up numerous wins and podium finishes during his time in the class, earning him the nickname L’Irlandais Volant – the Flying Irishman.

His long list of achievements culminated in finishing sixth overall out of a fleet of 56 entries in the iconic Mini Transat Race last year, for which he was shortlisted for the title of Volvo/Irish Sailing/Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year.

Dolan, has now teamed up with eco-friendly packaging giant Smurfit Kappa to launch his bid for the 2018 Figaro season and jointly promote a message of sustainability and innovation.

"Smurfit Kappa supported Tom in 2017 during his Mini 650 campaign and his constantly evolving results were very satisfying for us. Tom is a professional sailor with a very promising future, and this is why we are proud to be supporting him. Innovation and Sustainability are our key values and we are proud to be sharing them with Tom's campaign" said Gérard Mathieu, Marketing and innovation manager, Smurfit Kappa France

tom dolan mini2
Tom Dolan’s Minitransat boat in which Smurfit Kappa were joint sponsors. The eco-friendly packaging giant have now come aboard as lead sponsors for his Figaro campaign.

Tom’s steed will be none other than Figaro 15, the boat that French offshore legends Martin Le Pape and Roland Jourdain raced in 2014.

Despite having plenty of offshore racing experience, including five transatlantic crossings, Dolan admits that the jump into the Figaro, which is a third bigger than the Mini 6.50, is daunting.

“Joining the Figaro fleet this year is exciting, if a little scary,” Dolan said. “The Figaro is known as one of the most challenging classes to sail in because of the sheer level of sailors.

“It’s where the world’s best singlehanders come to prove themselves and if you look at the list of Vendee Globe winners they’ve practically all competed in the Figaro.

“This is very much the next step towards my dream of competing in the Vendee Globe, I want to do the best job I can, for myself and my sponsors.”

Dolan’s first venture in his new boat will be the AG2R La Mondiale – a doublehanded sprint across the Atlantic from the French town of Concarneau, Dolan’s adoptive home, to the Caribbean island of St Barts.

Dolan will team up with and close friend and old Mini 6.50 adversary Tanguy Bouroullec for the 3,800-mile race, which starts on April 22.

The season highlight will be the Solitaire du Figaro, a challenging 1,600-mile solo race around the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, starting on August 26.

figaro racing3
Figaro racing – it’s the Big Boys’ League by comparison with the Mini-Transat.

Dolan’s main goal is to finish on the podium of the rookie class – a division for first-timers in the Solitaire.

“The AG2R is going to be a baptism of fire for me – it’ll be my first proper race in the Figaro and it’s all the way across the Atlantic with no stopover,” Dolan added.

“It’s a quick turnaround from finishing the Mini Transat back in November but I wanted to keep the momentum up, and make sure that I stay sharp.

“Sailing doublehanded is very different to solo sailing but I’ve trained alongside Tanguy for a few years now and we know each other well.

“He was renowned in the Mini for being fast when the conditions were heavy, so he’ll be the ideal guy to have onboard.

“My season goal is to end up on the podium in the rookie division of the Solitaire. If I can do well as a rookie it will have been a good season.”

Dolan is proud to be able to count on the support of Smurfit Kappa, one of Europe’s leading eco-packaging companies.

“Smurfit Kappa has strong values of sustainability and innovation, values that I share and want to spread as I race around the world,” Dolan said.

“Respect for the environment and sustainable development are things that affect me enormously.

“At sea we always try to be minimalist about what we take onboard the boat, and we constantly evaluate any waste we produce.

“This allows us to see first-hand the result of a world obsessed with consumption. When we arrive from a race we are asked if we have seen fish, sunsets, whales... but the reality today is that what we see most is plastic waste. This cannot continue like this.”

Published in Figaro
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Tom Dolan, who last November became the highest-placed Irish sailor ever in the gruelling Mini-Transat, will be giving club talks in Dublin and Dun Laoghaire next week of his adventures writes W M Nixon. It’s quite a story, the remarkable tale of how a farm boy from County Meath, with no sailing background, found himself competing successfully at the highest international level offshore in a particularly demanding class.

He will be talking not just about the 2017 Mini Transat, but of his equally important plans for 2018 and beyond. He has now moved up to the Figaro 2 class, and this week he won his first Figaro race in a training session at Lorient in Brittany

The details of the talks are:

National Yacht Club

4,000 miles Solo from La Rochelle to Martinique; The Story of the Mini-Transat 2017

Tuesday 13th February at NYC at 2000hrs.

No charge and donation of €5 per person to RNLI.

Booking needed at NYC ( 01 280-5725 or email [email protected] ), and details on nyc.ie

Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club

4,000 miles Solo from La Rochelle to Martinique; The Story of the Mini-Transat 2017

Thursday 15th February at PYBC at 2000hrs.

No charge and donation of €5 per person to RNLI.

No Booking needed at PY& BC, details at www.poolbegmarina.ie

Published in Solo Sailing

On Thursday January 25th, at 19:30hrs, Mayo Sailing Club will be hosting a public presentation in the Westport Coast Hotel’s Atlantic Suite by Mini-Transat sailor Tom Dolan, and the admission of just €2 includes tea, coffee and biscuits.

Originating on a farm near Kells, Co Meath, Tom Dolan had no background in sailing. He was never part of a yacht club, never went on sailing holidays and didn't get lessons as a child. When his father spotted an old wooden dinghy in Buy & Sell, the two of them set about fixing it up, and he first set sail on the local lake at the age of 10.

Since then, Tom has built up a very impressive Sailing CV. He has French, Irish and British qualifications and made his first crossing of the Atlantic at just 21 years of age. In 2016, he won the Mini en Mai and the Trophée MAP, becoming the first Irish person to win a race in France. In June, Tom podiumed at the Mini-Fastnet Race, despite having been fouled by a fishing net. That same month, he was second in the 500 Mini-en-Mai Race.

His latest achievement was coming in 6th in the Mini Transat 2017, Ireland’s best ever result in the race. This is a 4,000 mile race across the Atlantic where participants spend almost two months at sea, alone on a 21ft boat. The Mini Transat is considered by many to be one of the most extreme events in sailing considering the distance covered and the small size of the boats.

It promises to be an exciting as well as entertaining and informative evening as Tom talks about his entry into the sailing world, how the Mini Transat went, and provides an insight into his future adventures.

Published in Solo Sailing
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Even as the huge fleet of cruisers and racers - including Eamon Crosbie’s Discovery 56 Pamela from Dun Laoghaire - are into the third day of their Transatlantic crossing in the ARC 2017 from Gran Canaria to St Lucia, on the other side of the ocean at St Marin in Martinique, the number-crunchers for the Mini-Transat La Boulangere 2017 are putting the last touches to their official statement of the overall final results writes W M Nixon.

These will emerge from the amalgamation of the official times of Legs 1 – from La Rochelle in France to Las Palmas in the Canaries, and Leg 2 – from Las Palmas via a gate in the Cape Verde Islands to Martinique. This may sound simple enough, but the tail enders were still tumbling in to St Marin right through the weekend, and with so much at stake with some quite substantial sponsorships involved among the 80 or so finishers, they have to be sure that no infringement of regulations is revealed after they have published results.

However, as an interim move this morning, they published the provisional results for Leg 2, and Ireland’s Tom Dolan is confirmed as fifth, just 48 minutes after third-placed Benoit Sineau. The brief official statement is as follows:

Mini Transat 

Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) crossed the finish line in the second stage of the Mini Transat La Boulangère on Thursday, November 16th at 2h50'15 '' (French time). His race time on this 2nd stage is 14 days, 12 hours, 42 minutes, 15 seconds at an average speed of 8.43 knots.

There has been a flood of finishers over the past few days, and these are the top ten finishers in the Proto and Series fleets for the second leg from Las Palma to Le Marin:
PROTO:
1. Ian Lipinski

2. Jorg Riechers

3. Simon Koster

4. Andrea Fornaro

5. Keni Piperol

6. Quentin Vlamynck

7. Camille Taque

8. Aurelien Poisson

9. Arthur Leopold Leger

10. Frederic Guerin

SERIES:


1. Erwan Le Draoulec

2. Clarisse Cremer
3. Benoit Sineau

4. Tanquy Bouroullec

5. Thomas Dolan

6. Pierre Chedeville

7. Valentin Gautier

8. Germain Kerleveo

9. Yannick Le Clech

10. Cedric Faron

Meanwhile, here are thoughts on his race from Production Boat Winner Erwan le Draoulec which give us some idea of what is involved:

“I brought a book with me, but I never thought to read it. I helmed, I ate, I slept, I answered the calls of nature, a real animal life. It was a nightmare.

The boat was soaked the whole time. I never dumped any sails, I just went up forward to reinforce my bowsprit. To get to sleep when I was under autopilot, I put on my headphones with some audio books and I listened again to the whole of Harry Potter. It was the only way of preventing stress whilst the boat was powering along at 18 knots, sometimes under autopilot, but I never eased off the pace.

It was only in the last two days where I dropped the large spinnaker in the squalls. I said to myself that it would be too silly to break everything so close to the goal. Prior to that though I really attacked hard. I knew I was risking a dismasting, but my line of thinking was that I was only twenty years old and that I’d have the opportunity to do another Mini-Transat. I didn’t make the most of it, I didn’t enjoy it. I’d like to the cross the Atlantic again, but gently so as to make the most of it.”

chedeville draoulec dolan2Comrades and rivals – Pierre Chedeville, Erwan Le Draoulec and Tom Dolan

Published in Solo Sailing

Ireland’s lone sailor Tom Dolan has been celebrating his fifth place with friends and fellow contenders in Martinique at the conclusion of the Transoceanic 2,750-mile Leg 2 of the Mini-Transat 2017 writes W M Nixon. After an improving performance which saw him finish nearly five hours ahead of longtime friend/rival Pierre Chedeviile in 15 days of intense racing, the finish raised the tension even higher, as second-placed Clarisse Cremer was shown as being stopped short of the finish, while Dolan was closing up from astern on second-placed Benoi Sineau and third-placed Tanguy Bouroullec.

The apparent stoppage of Cremer soon proved to be a computer glitch, but when she did cross the line, it was all of eleven hours astern of the “boy wonder” winner, 20-year-old Erwan Le Draoulac. Two and a half hours later, Sineau, Bouroullec and Dolan arrived within the space of 48 minutes, and the vid captures the mood and the moment as these tiny boats and dedicated skippers achieve their goal.

Tracker here 

Published in Solo Sailing
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In a final twist to the Mini-Transat 2017 saga this afternoon at Le Marin in Martinique, Ireland’s Tom Dolan came within 21 minutes of grabbing a podium place writes W M Nixon.

After Erwan Le Draoulec’s clear win this morning, a complete setback approaching the finish stymied second-placed Clarisse Cremer, and the three pursuing boats – Benoit Sineau, Tanguy Bouroullec, and Tom Dolan – swept by to finish with 48 minutes between them, Dolan filling fourth place overall. Meanwhile Cremer is still shown in the tracker as being 1.5 NM from the finish, and registering 0 knots, so we await further detail on what has happened.

But the fact that Dolan is now safely in turns attention to the combined overall total times for Legs 1 and 2, which is how the final placings are determined.

At 12th in Leg 1, Dolan was within striking distance of all ahead of him except Leg 1 winner Valentin Gautier, who was seven hours clear. But Gautier is still 41.7 miles from the finish of Leg 2, and making just 6.8 knots, with a chance of further speed loss as he comes in under the land. Much will hinge on how things pan out over the next six hours.

Published in Solo Sailing
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With Production Class winner Erwan Le Draoulec finished early this morning in the Mini-Transat 2017 with a very clear lead, Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan’s many supporters at home and abroad maintain a slim hope that he might yet scrape through to a podium finish writes W M Nixon.

He has had a good night’s racing in fifth place, and has closed up to just two miles astern of Tanguy Boroullec in fourth and five miles behind Benoit Sineau in third, while Sineau still has 37.2 to race to the finish at Le Marin on Martinique.

However, Clarisse Cremer lying second well ahead has only 17 miles to go and is making 9.3 knots in a steady breeze, as is Sineau. But the two boats astern of him – Bouroullec and Dolan - are slightly slower at 8.9 for Bouroullec and 8.7 for Dolan.

Doubtless these speeds will pick up as they begin to enjoy the fresher breeze ahead. Yet with such even matching of speeds, the chances of position changes at this late stage are receding. But we live in hope. And with 25 miles clear back to sixth-placed Pierre Chedeville, Tom Dolan is at least reasonably sure of a fifth.

Tracker here 

Published in Solo Sailing
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Fortunes have waxed and waned as the 80 little boats in the Mini Transat Boulangere close towards the finish of the 2,000 mile transoceanic leg from Las Palmas in the Canaries - via a mandatory gate in the Cape Verde Islands - to St Marin in Martinique in the Caribbean writes W M Nixon.

Bowling along in the fluctuating east to northeast tradewinds, as expected the Prototype Division’s Ian Lipinski with the scow-bowed Griffon.fr has led the fleet overall to the line. He finished yesterday, and Proto runner-up Jorg Riechers is only slowly approaching the line in locally very light airs for his finish this morning.

It’s a result which gives Lipinski a remarkable double, as he won the Production Class in the previous staging of this biennial classic two years ago – it’s the first time in the 40 year history of the event that the double has been achieved.

mini transat dolan2Tom Dolan, Ireland’s second-ever entrant in the Mini-Transat (Enda O Coineen was the first a long time ago), is facing a battle for fourth or perhaps third place in the Production Class in the final 200 miles of the Mini-Transat

In this year’s Production Class, Ireland’s Tom Dolan has found himself entering the concluding two hundred miles in a four-way battle for the final position in the quartet which will fill the second, third, fourth and fifth places. However, “four way battle” is only a relative term imposed by the considerable distance being raced. This morning, twenty miles separate Clarisse Cremer in second from Dolan in fifth, as they have respectively 89.7 and 109.7 miles to the leader Erwan le Draoulec, who is in turn 145 miles from the finish.

Dolan has a good chance of improving to fourth as he is only 4 miles astern of Benoit Sineau currently in fourth, and the Irish sailor has marginally improved his position during the past four hours. But options for making major tactical gains are closing off as the finish is neared and the fleet’s tracks get closer together.

At the front of the Production fleet where the leaders are racing the Pogo 3, wunderkind Erwan Le Draoulec – he’s aged just 20 – is in a world of his own with those 145 miles still to sail. With nearly 90 miles clear of second-placed Cremer, his current speed of 7.7 knots is currently maintaining his lead. That said, as Jorg Riechers has been learning the hard way in recent hours, actually getting to the finish line off a Caribbean Island can sometimes be difficult for the final few miles. But nevertheless Le Draoulec has every reason for confidence.

Tracker here

Published in Solo Sailing
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