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Rainy Start for the Mini Transat, Ireland's Tom Dolan Strugging in First Few Hours

2nd October 2017
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The persistent drizzle and low cloud did little to cheer those Mini sailors at the start of the Mini–Transat yesterday The persistent drizzle and low cloud did little to cheer those Mini sailors at the start of the Mini–Transat yesterday Photo: Oliver Blanchet

The weather played a sly hand on Sunday morning in the Bassin des Chalutiers and it has not been kind to Ireland's solo sailor Tom Dolan who is at the back of the pack aftter the first 14 hours of the 2017 Mini–Transat.

The persistent drizzle and low cloud did little to cheer those Mini sailors feeling the pressure as they cast off. Ultimately though, there was a sense of relief all round that they were finally getting going with their race, a moment they've been working towards for the past two years. After a lively start for the first few hours, it promises to be a fine crossing.

For all that, the first few miles of this Mini-Transat La Boulangère will be far from restful. With upwind conditions and rough seas with a substantial south-westerly swell, the solo sailors' stomachs are likely to be finding things tough this evening.

tom dolan transat startCounty Meath sailor Tom Dolan Photo: Oliver Blanchet/Facebook

Current predictions suggest that the upwind conditions should be succeeded by some boisterous downwind sailing as the fleet close on Cape Finisterre, according to Christian Dumard, the weather guru from Great Circle. Essentially, to the south of this headland, the Mini sailors can expect stronger winds in a corridor spanning around a hundred miles offshore of the coast of Galicia and Portugal. As such, the competitors will have to choose between distancing themselves from this corridor, by gaining headway to the west and potentially having to cover extra miles away from the direct route, or hunkering down in a bid to escape the worst of the wind up ahead. However, the solo sailors aren't there yet. Between now and the north-west tip of Spain, things could play out in a number of ways.

It was in a persistent drizzle that the fleet took today's start in a W to SW'ly wind of 10 to 15 knots. Almost perfect conditions then, save for the zero visibility in the squalls.

Three competitors are unfortunately having to make a stopover in La Rochelle to effect repairs. The first to announce his return was Fred Guerin (Les-amis.fun), whose hull was holed in a collision with Elodie Pedron (Manu Poki & les Biotecks), she too retracing her steps. Finally, Gwendal Pibot (Rossinante) announced that he would also be returning to the Port des Minimes after breaking his stay.

Race tracker here

Published in Solo Sailing
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