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Solo Dolan Heads off Across the Atlantic in Mini Transat Îles de Guadeloupe

1st November 2015

The Mini Transat Îles de Guadeloupe competitors – including Ireland's Thomas Dolan – set off to conquer the Atlantic Ocean yesterday with a sustained northeasterly wind and rough seas.

'The red rocket and I will head off for what will be the biggest adventure of our lives' wrote debutante Dolan on social media prior to his departure.

The County Meath sailor will sail just over 2500 miles completely alone except for the 60 odd fellow competitors who, he says, over the last few months have become 'more of a family than anything'. 

Most of the skippers have preferred to play it safe, given the weather conditions (wind of 25 knots on average) and the fact that the boats were loaded to cross the Atlantic. On the pontoons prior to the start, the emotion was palpable.

The last minutes ashore are never simple for solo sailors. All are split between the desire to start racing as quickly as possible and the mixture of apprehension and slight guilt for leaving loved ones ashore. Modest or expansive, each in their own way was trying to dispel the difficulty of the moment in order to concentrate on the race.

Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Chocolates Paries):
'It feels good to leave, I could not wait. I don’t know yet what sail I'm going to put up, we will have to be careful for the first few hours of the race'.

Vincent Grison (Roll My Chicken):
'I looked on the Transat Jacques Vabre website, it is likely we cross paths with the Class40. It would be fun that I meet Sam Manuard who is the architect of my boat, we would have something to chat about on the Atlantic'.

Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes):
'I'm fine, I feel good. I have some leeway, which should allow me to make a cautious start. One thing is for sure - if some of the competitors start the race in top gear, I won’t take the risk to follow and suffer breakage'.

Davy Beaudart (Flexirub):
“Things are good, everything is ready. Naturally there is a little more tension, because crossing the Atlantic is no small matter. I will especially try to sail properly, which is the best way to enjoy oneself”.

Victor Turpin (Generations Ocean):
'I am still a little stressed, it must show on my face. But I cannot wait to go. It is going to be pretty windy for the first few days and we know we have to leave quickly, because the others are going to leave quickly. What to do - rush in or safeguard the boat? We will see'.

Nikki Curwen (Go Ape! Live Life Adventurously):
'I am a little stressed but excited at the prospect of crossing the Atlantic. I have been dreaming about it for three years... '

Yury Firsov (Magnum Sport):
'I feel good, I am ready to go. The weather is good; everything is ready. I am heading south like everyone else before heading west'.

Chris Lukerman (Ca Technologies):
'I am ok. I am a little nervous because of the wind, which is strong for the first hours of the race. But it really is time to go. We will be able to glide along as we had hoped”.

Jan Heinze (Lonestar):
'I am happy to leave after all these days spent ashore and the number of years to prepare this project. I am proud to be here. My father and my coach are here, but the rest of my family will be at the finish in Guadeloupe'.

Published in Offshore
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