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Time And Tide Run Out As Wind Fades on Tom Dolan's Round Ireland Challenge

7th May 2023
Tom Dolan is making slow progress on day four of his Round Ireland record
Tom Dolan is making slow progress on day four of his Round Ireland record Credit: Tom Dolan Racing

(Day four, 0800) Light winds - mostly from ahead - and adverse Spring tides in the most tide-riven part of the unforgiving North Channel, have seen Tom Dolan's clockwise Round Ireland solo/duo challenge evaporate through the night.

By midnight, he was still in the Belfast Lough region southbound for the Kish finish, when the deadline had passed for the Pamela Lee of Greystones & Cat Hunt duo record of October 2020 (also in a Figaro 3) of 3 days 19 hours 41 minutes.

And the Dolan boat still had 57 miles to sail this morning when the time registered solo by Michel Kleinjans of Belgium in an Open 40 in 2005 came and went. Yet the doughty Meath-originating sailor, winner of many events and titles, is determined to sail his circuit completely to the Kish. But although freshening southerlies are expected later today, at 0800 this (Sunday) morning, progress is still very slow with Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan off St John's Point in County Down and making just 3.5 knots over the ground.

Published in Tom Dolan
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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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.