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Tom Dolan Looking At Northwest Mayo 24 Hours From Dublin Bay In "Enhanced" Easterlies

30th October 2023
Tom Dolan, with his onboard media man Andrew Smith, filming to leeward, breezed through the North Channel and will be in Northwest May within 24 hours of leaving Dublin Bay in his latest Round Ireland challenge
Tom Dolan, with his onboard media man Andrew Smith, filming to leeward, breezed through the North Channel and will be in Northwest May within 24 hours of leaving Dublin Bay in his latest Round Ireland challenge Credit: Afloat

Monday 4pm - Wind conditions with strong easterlies, "enhanced" by dense air, have been so favourable and powerful for Tom Dolan's anti-clockwise Round Ireland challenge that he has been able to downgrade the significance of favourable tides. Having breezed through the North Channel with insouciant style in the dark, at 16OO hours this (Monday) afternoon, he's 24 hours on his way and will soon be halfway across Donegal Bay at a
current average speed of between 9 and 11 knots, well within sight - were visibility better - of the northwest corner of Mayo.

Thereafter, progress south from Eagle Island, and particularly once Slyne Head is astern, will be increasingly dependent on the continuing eastward progress of our current dominant low-pressure system. Its centre is currently about 40 miles west of Shannon Mouth, but as it is part of a larger system, all of which is likely to become less clearly defined as Storm Ciaran approaches through Wednesday, Tom is acutely aware that things could get messy as he approaches the Blaskets, where the frequently confused sea state greatly increases the benefit of a good fair wind.

So far, it has all been done with an impressive flourish. But with every southward mile made good, the likelihood of a less favourable scenario increases, with the majestic coast of Kerry and West Cork being a major challenge in themselves. Thus, if the low-pressure sub-system slows in its eastward progress, it's even possible that he'll shape his course well to the west to find the more favourable winds chasing the depression.

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

WM Nixon

About The Author

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.