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No Record but Tom Dolan Completes Round Ireland Challenge at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

7th May 2023
Tom Dolan arrives back at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Sunday afternoon after his unsuccessful Round Ireland speed record bid
Tom Dolan arrives back at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Sunday afternoon after his unsuccessful Round Ireland speed record bid Credit: Afloat

(Day Four 1600hrs) - Tom Dolan sailed back to Dun Laoghaire this evening, having completed the Round Ireland speed record course but without breaking any records, as Afloat reported earlier here

He arrived back at the Dun Laoghaire finish line of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSR) in ideal conditions that unfortunately deserted him for the previous 24 hours.

Light headwinds on the north coast and into the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland left him fighting a strong tide.

He completed the course in a time of 4 days, 11 hours, 54 minutes and 31 seconds. 

Tired, disappointed, but objective, Dolan arrived back at the National Yacht Club.

“We expected light winds in the North because we knew that if we got caught by the weather front that it was going to be light, so we always knew the window was tight. It was all based on staying in front of the front that was coming from the southwest. It was those unexpectedly light winds initially which put us just about 20 miles behind the planned timing at the Fastnet. It was the case of these 20 miles. If it had not been for that, I would have stayed in front of the front. I was watching the weather. But I loved the course, I learned lots, it was great to put miles in the bank, and it’s great training for La Solitaire du Figaro later in the year. And I will be back; it is definitely achievable and a great course.” 

Tom Dolan (right) with his team manager Gerry Jones after the circumnavigation Photo: Romain MarieTom Dolan (right) with his team manager Gerry Jones after the circumnavigation Photo: Colm Doherty

Dolan had agreed with the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) that he would attempt to break the 'Round Ireland Double-handed less than 40ft record'.

While the WSSC is not recording his voyage as a solo attempt (as Dolan had a journalist onboard), Dolan also sought to set a 'faux record' by attempting to break the Belgian Michel Kleinjan's solo 2005 record time.

The reference times are the 2005 solo record by Kleinjans aboard a Class40: 4 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes and 29 seconds and the doublehanded record set in 2020 by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt on a Figaro3 of 3 days, 19 hours, 41 minutes and 39 seconds.

Published in Tom Dolan

Tom Dolan's Round Ireland Speed Record Bid Live Tracker

Follow Tom Dolan (and his onboard media man) during his Round Ireland Speed record attempt in the live tracker below.

Dolan has agreed with the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) that he will attempt to break the 'Round Ireland Double-handed less than 40ft record'.

While the WSSC is not recording this as a solo attempt (as Dolan has a journalist onboard), Dolan says he is also seeking to set a 'faux record' by attempting to break the Belgian Michel Kleinjan's solo 2005 record time.

The course is approximately 700 miles long. 

Reference times are the 2005 solo record by Kleinjans aboard a Class40: 4 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes and 29 seconds and the doublehanded record set in 2020 by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt on a Figaro3 of 3 days, 19 hours, 41 minutes and 39 seconds.

The exact time Dolan must beat for the double-handed record is Thursday, 2 November 2023, 11:32:12

The exact time Dolam must beat for the solo (faux) record is Thursday, 2 November 2023, 17:44:02

Check out all Afloat's regular Tom Dolan updates on the record bid right here

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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.