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Tom Dolan Has to Be Content With Fourth in Trangascogne 2017

8th August 2017
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A fresh new nor’wester brought Tom Dolan to the finish last night at les Sables d’Olonne of Stage 2 of the Transgascogne 2107. But the northeast to east breezes during yesterday had been more to his advantage, and at one stage he was leading by better than six miles. A fresh new nor’wester brought Tom Dolan to the finish last night at les Sables d’Olonne of Stage 2 of the Transgascogne 2107. But the northeast to east breezes during yesterday had been more to his advantage, and at one stage he was leading by better than six miles.

The arrival earlier than expected of a fresh nor’wester in the Bay of Biscay in the final approaches to Les Sables d’Olonne at the finish of Stage 2 of Transgascogne 2017 last night put paid to Ireland’s Tom Dolan’s chances of a podium position for IRL 910 in the Mini 650 Class writes W M Nixon.

During the day yesterday, Dolan had taken full advantage of the veering northeast to east wind, which became fresher in his part of the course. At one stage, he had his boat Still Seeking a Sponsor leading the northern group by more than six miles. If these wind conditions had persisted as long as expected, he could have placed himself into an unassailable position between the northern group and the finish line by the time the nor’westerlies spread in.

But it was not be. Far out on the northern wing, Erwan le Draoulec and Clarisse Cremer - after being virtually becalmed for a while – found themselves being swept along for the final 20 miles at speeds of 8 knots plus. As for Tom Dolan, in a position which was now to lee, it was all he could do to get above six knots while still laying the finish line, and his problem became that of staying in third place ahead of Germain Kerlevo, who was approaching the finish to the north of him, coming rapidly in from astern along the Rhumb Line.

At the finish, Le Draoulec was twenty minutes ahead of Clarisse Cremer, which means she still wins the Trasngascogne 2017 on aggregate, as her sensational breakaway win of an hour ahead of le Draoulec at Aviles gives her a very comfortable time cushion. However, le Draoulec is firmly in second overall as his one hour margin over third-placed-at-Aviles Germain Kerlevo made his second overall very soundly based.

But with conditions in the new nor’wester now dominating the final miles, Kerlevo swept through to finish fourth twenty minutes ahead of Dolan, placing the Irishman fourth overall in the 53-strong fleet. Tom Dolan is still seen very popularly as “The Flying Irishman” and very much a boat to beat in the tight-knight Mini 650 community. But a podium place at this part of the campaign towards the Mini-Transat start at the beginning of October would have been a useful bonus at this stage of the programme.

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Published in Solo Sailing
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