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Meath Solo Sailor Qualifies For Mini Transat 2015

4th August 2015
Meath Solo Sailor Qualifies For Mini Transat 2015

#minitransat – Following an intensive season of racing along the French Atlantic coast, Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has succeeded in qualifying for the renowned solo transatlantic sailing race, the Mini Transat 2015.

After almost three thousand miles of shorthanded racing, Tom finds himself in 10th position in the general rankings as well as 'second rookie'*.

"My aim at the start was just to be in the top half of the fleet so I am delighted with my position" says Tom.
His best moment of the season so far was finishing fourth in the Mini Fastnet race, just one minute short of achieving a place on the podium.

A native of Kells, Tom first got a taste for the sport as a child when his father took him sailing on Lough Ramor. Never did he imagine having a future in anything remotely nautical until he stumbled across a course in outdoor adventure management in Colaiste Dhulaigh in Coolock. This then gave him access to the Glenans Irish Sailing School in Baltimore Co.Cork where he he began as a volunteer, trained as an instructor and progressed to manage sailing centres both here in Ireland and more recently in France . He is now based in Brittany where he works for himself preparing boats for racing.

With just under two months remaining before the start of the transatlantic race, the young man from Meath will now devote all of his time preparing to cross the Atlantic on his own. Tom will be only the third ever Irish entrant to compete in this race, and the only one representing his country this year.

The first leg of this biennial event, will see the 84 competitors leaving from Douarnenez on the western coast of France and will take them a little over 1000 nautical miles to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. They then must await the end of the hurricane season before attacking the second stage of the race across the Atlantic to the Tropical Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe. It is considered by many to be the most extreme and difficult sail boat race, due to the size of the boats and the distance travelled in complete isolation.

Mini Transat boats, at just 6.5 metres long, are the smallest class for ocean racing in the world. Started in 1977 the aim was to make what was traditionally seen as an elitist sport more accessible to everyday sailors. This still remains a key element of the spirit of the race. The construction materials used for the boats and the sails are strictly limited, as are any sort of expensive navigation equipment.

Competitors are restricted to a small GPS, paper charts and only a radio and barometer for weather information.

Having qualified for what many consider to be the most difficult of all offshore sailing races, Dolan now needs to raise the funding required. Like many other sportsmen in this position, he has turned to crowdfunding in a hope to raise the €12000 to cover logistics, registration fees and insurance.
Crowdfunding is a relatively recent practice of funding a project or venture by raising financial contributions from a large number of individuals or businesses via a host website on the internet.

Published in Solo Sailing
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