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Tom Dolan is Third as Mini-Transat Sailors Race Towards the “Thousand-Miles-To-Finish” breakthrough

10th November 2017
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Tom Dolan and IRL 910 have been enjoying sailing like this - though often with more wind and sunshine – since coming through the Cape Verde Islands Gate at the weekend in the Mini-Transat 2017. Currently he lies third in the Production Class, with the halfway point of the open ocean stage to Martinique being passed within the next day or two. Tom Dolan and IRL 910 have been enjoying sailing like this - though often with more wind and sunshine – since coming through the Cape Verde Islands Gate at the weekend in the Mini-Transat 2017. Currently he lies third in the Production Class, with the halfway point of the open ocean stage to Martinique being passed within the next day or two.

Tom Dolan has been having a good week in the Mini-Transat as he consolidates his position among the leading five writes W M Nixon. This morning, he’s in third place, having gained from his closest challenger Pierre Chedeville making what proved to be an unrewarding diversion to the southwards earlier in the week as the fleet tacks to lee in the prevailing east to northeast winds.

A fairly consistent favourable wind pattern has built up round the lower flank of the large Azores High Pressure System centred well to the north as the little boats put the turning gate at the Cape Verde Islands far astern. This has resulted in steady though not spectacular speeds as the large fleet make westing. That said, it tells us much about the calibre of the current range of Proto and Production boats in this, the 40th Anniversary Mini-Transat, that “steady though not spectacular speeds” have seen the Production boats around the 8 to 11 knot level, while the Prototypes, led by Ian Lipinski’s Griffon.fr, have been logging mostly 9 to 12 knots.

Lipinski yesterday went through the thousand-miles-to-go stage to the finish at Martinique as he continues to stride out at the front of the fleet, which has generally followed his strategy of searching for the firmer winds indicated to the north of the direct Cape Verde-Martinique route.

Clear in the lead in the Production Class is 20-year-old Erwan le Draoulec, currently on port gybe and closing again southwestwards towards the baseline at a speed of 9.8 knots. The overall placings – inevitably something of a guesstimate in a tacking-to-lee situation like this – show Le Draoulec as 49.8 miles ahead of second-placed Clarisse Cremer who is at 8.7 knots, while more or less directly astern and also now on port is Tom Dolan, making a better 10.8 knots, but he’s 96 miles behind Le Draoulec.

However, he currently has an indicated distance cushion of 11 miles between himself and closest contender, 4th placed Benoit Sineau, while his challenger early in the week, Pierre Chedeville, is fifth and indicated as 34 miles behind Dolan. So we can allow ourselves to feel reasonably assured that Tom Dolan is lying third as he races on towards the weekend, with the significant passing of the thousand-miles-to-the-finish marker being the next item on the agenda for the Meath sailor and his Production Class rivals. Leader Le Draoulac now has only 112 miles to go to this key psychological staging post.

 Race tracker here

Published in Solo Sailing
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