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Dolan & Bouroullec Within 100 miles of Transat Finish  

11th May 2018
Tom Dolan enjoys a snack bar onboard Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance as the Irish skipper approaches the Transat finish line Tom Dolan enjoys a snack bar onboard Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance as the Irish skipper approaches the Transat finish line Credit: Facebook

Irish ocean racer Tom Dolan was inside the last 100 miles of the 4,000-mile AG2R La Mondiale Transat race on Friday, battling tropical squalls en route to the finish.

Dolan and French co-skipper Tanguy Bouroullec, sailing Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance, were placed 11th in the 20-strong fleet of identical Figaro Beneteaus at the midday position update. 

With just over 70 miles to the finish line in the Caribbean island of St Barts, Dolan and Bouroullec had a narrow jump of less than 10 miles on arch rivals and fellow first-timers Erwan Le Draoulec and Lois Berrehar in 12th on Concarneau Entreprendre.

They trailed race rookies Justine Mettraux and Isabelle Joschke on Teamwork by 13 miles.

Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance is expected to cross the line at around 1900 UTC this evening, bringing to an end an epic race that has taken almost three weeks. 

But before then, Dolan and Bouroullec must defend their position from Le Draoulec and Berrehar while dealing with typically tricky Caribbean weather.

“That's it, last day of the AG2R La Mondiale Transat race,” Dolan said today.

“Since yesterday we’ve find ourselves in what is called the ‘sailor’s dilemma’: light winds, wind squalls of 30 knots, constant wind direction changes, non-stop gybing, constant need to change course, non-stop sail trimming, tactics…

“Smurfit Kappa-Cerfrance is doing a ‘slalom’ between the clouds to gain an advantage with the wind and trying to be well placed.

“The 30 miles of lateral separation we had with Teamwork did not help us in this dilemma. The girls are now 10 miles ahead of us and it will be difficult to catch them before the finish line.

“The other big fear is to be caught by the young guys on Concarneau Entreprendre who are just behind and closely followed by Bretagne CMB Espoir.

“Our dilemma: either attack to try to get into the top ten, or defend our lead to win the battle of the rookies. It is still a difficult decision, and it is without doubt that the sailors dilemma" is going to play out to the finish line.”

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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