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Tom Dolan Successfully into Atlantic Crossing as Mini-Transat Leaders Get Well Clear of the Cape Verde Islands

7th November 2017
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Tom Dolan is now battling to take fourth place in the “long haul” of the Mini-Transat Race, having moved into fifth after getting clear of the Cape Verde Islands Tom Dolan is now battling to take fourth place in the “long haul” of the Mini-Transat Race, having moved into fifth after getting clear of the Cape Verde Islands

As the wind-killing shadow of the Cape Verde Islands faded astern yesterday evening and he shaped his course with his Pogo IRL 910 for the finish of the Mini-Transat Race 2017 two thousand miles away in Martinique, Ireland’s solo sailor Tom Dolan revelled in the racing possibilities of open ocean with a “we’re really on our way now” message to his supporters at home and abroad, writes W M Nixon.

And in a favourable northeasterly wind, he consolidated his place at fifth overall in the 54-strong Production Boat Class, many of those astern still taken up with negotiating the locally difficult winds in his wake at the Cape Verdes, where a handful have elected to take a pit stop at the port of Mindelo before challenging the Atlantic crossing.

Dolan’s hope during this long Transtlantic haul is that his special skill in optimizing his patterns of brief sleep will see his competitive ability continue to improve his position relative to the rest of the elite at the head of the Production Boat Class.

That said, he is in no doubt of the calibre of those ahead of him. “Boy Wonder” Erwan Le Draoulec is in a commanding lead with 1,720 miles to the finish at Le Marin, and making 9.9–knots, putting him 20 miles ahead of second-placed Clarisse Cremer, while Tanguy Bouroullec is 41 miles astern of Le Draoulec in third.

Tom Dolan and his comrade-rival Pierre Chedeville are in the battle for fourth, with Chedeville currently showing a ten miles lead on Dolan, but the Irishman is indicated at 8.7 knots to the 7.8 of Chedeville after passing the 1800 miles-to-finish marker. The pair of them are around 75 miles behind Le Draoulec, a big gap, but sometimes the Atlantic offers big winning-tactic possibilities.

griffon sailing2In a separate class, Ian Lipinski’s Proto Griffon.fr already has less than 1600 miles to sail to the finish in Martinique

In terms of absolute performance, the much more exotic machines in the Proto-Type Division aren’t by any means having it all their own way. However, pre-race favourite Ian Lipinski with his “scow of scows” Griffon.fr is in a league of his own, soaring through the 1,600-miles-to-finish marker earlier this morning, and making 11.2 knots, while second-placed Simon Koster in Eight Cube Sersa may be marginally faster at 11.8 knot, but he’s nearly 70 miles astern, four miles ahead of third-placed Jorg Riechers in Lillienthal.

Race tracker here 

Published in Solo Sailing
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