Perhaps it was the boost of racing along the coastline of his homeland, but through the early part of this morning Tom Dolan, sailing with Francoise Jambou in the 62-boat Two-Handed 600-mile Mini-Fastnet from Douarnenez, has moved up three places to fourth in class aboard the Pogo 2 IRL 910 writes W M Nixon
Northeasterly breezes brought the leaders to the first turn on the Irish coast, at the Stag Rocks, which the Dolan/Jambou crewed Cellestab.com reached at 0532hrs Irish Time today.
They’d been going well in the night, as they’d taken a mile out of the four mile lead of class-front-runner Emile Henry (Erwan le Draoulec & Clarice Cremer). Then in running along the coast of West Cork, tacking to lee down to the Fastnet, the Irish-French duo sustained the pace to round the Rock at 0720 (Irish Time) this morning, zapping past the big brick to reach away on the next long leg to the southeast at a healthy 8.6 knots.
Although the breeze has now eased a little, at 0850 they were still giving the Emile Henry crew a worrying time. For although EH still leads the class, making 6.3 knots with 275 miles to go to the finish, Dolan/Jambou are now on 6.9 knots and just over a mile astern in a tight-packed bunch that is putting the Draoulec lead under threat from at least four boats.
There is a chance that as they sail the race’s longest leg of all, to a turning point west of Ouessant, the nor’easter will back a little to head them, and more frustratingly ease in strength. But up ahead, Open Class leader Ian Lipinski in the ultra-fast proto Griffon is currently making a tidy 7.8 knots, so it’s very much race on for now for those in Tom Dolan’s class.