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Tom Dolan Mid Fleet at the Midpoint of the Maitre Coq Offshore Race

3rd May 2019
Tom Dolan prepares for the start in the Solo Maître Coq Tom Dolan prepares for the start in the Solo Maître Coq Photo: James Kirwan

With more than half of the 340 nautical miles coefficient, 4 offshore race sailed in the Solo Maître Coq Ireland's Tom Dolan on Smurfit Kappa is in 27th place this afternoon as the 47 strong fleet pass the northernmost turning mark near Belle Ile, north-west of Nantes.

Dolan was 30th early on in the first solo offshore race to be sailed in the new Figaro Beneteau 3, but has made steady gains during Thursday night and Friday morning. The Irish sailor was this afternoon scrapping alongside Yann Eliès who was the event leader going in to the offshore race. With just over 170 nautical miles still to sail, the race is expected to finish during Saturday afternoon. The offshore course started yesterday at 1400hrs local time, the passage taking the fleet on a loop between Les Sables d'Olonne, the Ile de Re - off La Rochelle - and Belle Ile.

"It won't be over until it the finish line is crossed. This will be a test, a bit of a dress rehearsal for a La Solitaire type course, with prolonged periods of close racing alongside other boats. My goal is to make good manoeuvres." said Dolan before he left. "I want to do well but don't feel any pressure to make a particular result right now. This is very much about learning." The race has seen something of an upset to the early hierarchy which was established over the first two inshore races Monday and Tuesday. Tanguy Le Turquais has held a solid lead with Armel Le Cléac'h in third and veteran Loick Peyron fourth.

Finish in the Top 15, it would be really good. After my round of 6th Tuesday, I know that I can do good things and it gives me confidence, but I do not forget that on the circuit of Figaro, we can do 1st a day and 40th the next day ", has commented Tom who knows that the result of this new race could largely upset the situation in the general classification, partly because it has a very high coefficient (4 against 1.5 for the previous coastal) and, on the other hand, because the most experienced sailors, especially the Vendée-Globalists like Michel Desjoyeaux, Jérémie Beyou or Amel Le Cléac'h, whom we did not necessarily see shine on the first two rounds, go feel more comfortable on this more offshore exercise. The proof is also given tonight since it is they who currently hold the top positions while for his part, Tom is in 30th position. But everything remains to be done and the outcome will not be known until Saturday at the end of the day.

Published in Solo Sailing Team

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