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Tom Dolan’s Mini Transat Countdown Gets Sponsor Support for 220-Mile Race Tomorrow

7th June 2017
Tom Dolan’s Pogo 610 offshoresailing.fr (IRL 910) taking second place in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai on May 12th at la Trinite sur Mer Tom Dolan’s Pogo 610 offshoresailing.fr (IRL 910) taking second place in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai on May 12th at la Trinite sur Mer Photo: Thierry Martinez

Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan is back in contention tomorrow in France in the shortest race in the countdown to the Mini Transat in October writes W M Nixon. But although the Trophee MAP from Douarnenez south to Ile de Groix before returning outside Birvideaux Lighthous and the Chausee de Seine is “only” 220 miles long, Dolan is under double pressure as he is defending the title. Plus, as he wryly remarks, 220 miles is too short to allow any viable short-sleep pattern to develop - in fact, he may be awake throughout a race which involves some very tricky pilotage.

thomas dolan2.jpgA challenging course. With its varied navigational demands and occasional bursts of intense pilotage, the 220-mile Trophee MAP race which starts tomorrow in Douarnenez and finishes there within two days is “just long enough to get you exhausted but not long enough to develop a viable sleep-snatch pattern”.

Following his second overall (after leading for much of the race) in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai which finished at La Trinite on May 12th, his supporters at home and in France have been beavering away to provide a more solid sponsorship support basis. It’s going the right way, so much so that today Tom’s Pogo 610 offshoresailing.fr (IRL 910) will have the Smurfit Kappa logo affixed to her mainsail.

Course tracker here:

Currently Dolan is third in the ranking in the hotly-contested class, as early season winner Pierre Chedeville (887) continues to lead, while Mini-en-Mai winner Erwan le Draoulec has moved into second. As for the race itself, with strong sou’westers forecast the fleet is under no illusions about the conditions they’ll face, with rough tough fast reaching needing constant attention. As Tom says: “It’ll be pockets stuffed with energy bars and a thermos filled with Barry’s strongest tea to see who can stay awake the longest”. Yet even in the midst of all his last-minute preparations for a rugged race, he still found the time to pass on his best wishes to fellow-Irish lone sailor Coner Fogerty, slugging into it out in the Atlantic in the OSTAR in his Sunfast 3600 Bam.

thomas dolan3These MiniTransat skippers are a breed apart – this post-race group of four includes the three current top rankers: No 1 Pierre Chedeville (left), No 2 Erwan le Draoulec (second right), and No 3 Tom Dolan (right)

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