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Pace Easing for Dolan & Mini-Fastnet Competitors as Nor’East Winds Temporarily Soften

19th June 2017
Handsome is as handsome does. Ian Lipinski’s scow-like Griffon.fr leads the fleet by a good margin as the 62 boats in the Mini-Fastnet 2017 take on the long haul from North Cornwall across to the next turn at the Stag Rocks in West Cork Handsome is as handsome does. Ian Lipinski’s scow-like Griffon.fr leads the fleet by a good margin as the 62 boats in the Mini-Fastnet 2017 take on the long haul from North Cornwall across to the next turn at the Stag Rocks in West Cork

The anticipated softening of the northeast wind which has been powering the fleet in the 600–mile two–handed Mini-Fastnet Race from Douarnenez in Brittanny to the famous rock, and back, has seen a slackening of the pace writes W M Nixon.

But Ireland’s Tom Dolan, co-skippered by Francois Jambou in the Pogo 3 Cellestab.com, has managed to keep himself in a tight-knit bunch towards the front of the race, within a group who have built up a six mile gap between themselves and the bulk of the 62 strong fleet. The Dolan-Jambou placing has shuttled between fourth and seventh in class with positioning very close, while speed veers between 5.7 and 6.1 knots.

Ian Lipinski, sailing with David Raison on the exceptionally fast one-off Griffon, continues to lead by a considerable margin, but even his speed has fallen to six knots as the fleet shapes up along the long haul from the mandatory turn off the North Cornish coast across the Celtic Sea to the next turning point, at the Stag Rocks off West Cork.

After the Stags, they follow the Irish coast westward to the Fastnet itself before heading back to Douarnenez. Meanwhile their problem this afternoon is to keep up speed until an anticipated slight freshening of the breeze – still from the northeast – fills slowly in.

Published in Tom Dolan
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Tom Dolan, Solo Offshore Sailor

Even when County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan had been down the numbers in the early stages of the four-stage 2,000 mile 2020 Figaro Race, Dolan and his boat were soon eating their way up through the fleet in any situation which demanded difficult tactical decisions.

His fifth overall at the finish – the highest-placed non-French sailor and winner of the Vivi Cup – had him right among the international elite in one of 2020's few major events.

The 33-year-old who has lived in Concarneau, Brittany since 2009 but grew up on a farm in rural County Meath came into the gruelling four-stage race aiming to get into the top half of the fleet and to underline his potential to Irish sailing administrators considering the selection process for the 2024 Olympic Mixed Double Offshore category which comes in for the Paris games.

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