With Production Class winner Erwan Le Draoulec finished early this morning in the Mini-Transat 2017 with a very clear lead, Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan’s many supporters at home and abroad maintain a slim hope that he might yet scrape through to a podium finish writes W M Nixon.
He has had a good night’s racing in fifth place, and has closed up to just two miles astern of Tanguy Boroullec in fourth and five miles behind Benoit Sineau in third, while Sineau still has 37.2 to race to the finish at Le Marin on Martinique.
However, Clarisse Cremer lying second well ahead has only 17 miles to go and is making 9.3 knots in a steady breeze, as is Sineau. But the two boats astern of him – Bouroullec and Dolan - are slightly slower at 8.9 for Bouroullec and 8.7 for Dolan.
Doubtless these speeds will pick up as they begin to enjoy the fresher breeze ahead. Yet with such even matching of speeds, the chances of position changes at this late stage are receding. But we live in hope. And with 25 miles clear back to sixth-placed Pierre Chedeville, Tom Dolan is at least reasonably sure of a fifth.