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Ovington Boats 2014

Tom Dolan in the running for prestigious Irish Sailor of the Year award

by Will Carson 9 Dec 2017 11:01 GMT
Tom Dolan finishes 6th in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère © Christophe Breschi /

The nomination comes after Dolan, from Kells, County Meath, finished sixth overall in the iconic Mini Transat race, a 4,000-mile epic across the Atlantic alone in 21ft boats.

Dolan's result in a fleet of 56 in the 'serie' division for production boats was the best ever recorded by an Irish competitor in the Mini Transat, considered one of sailing's toughest challenges.

It followed a sterling season in the Mini 6.50 class that saw him finish on the podium in all but a handful of races, becoming's Sailor of the Month along the way.

The 2017 Mini Transat saw Dolan, 30, race 1,300 miles from La Rochelle in France to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, then another 2,700 miles on to Martinique in the Caribbean.

It was the second time he had taken part in the biennial race after finishing 22nd in the 2015 edition.

Dolan will be up against other stars of the Irish sailing scene for the Sailor of the Year award including racing navigator Ian Moore, Tokyo 2020 hopeful Saskia Tidey, 2017 Round the Island Race winner Nin O'Leary and Volvo Ocean Race regular Damian Foxall.

"It's such an honour to be nominated for Irish Sailor of the Year," Dolan said. "I first got my hands on a Mini 6.50 six years ago and have been dreaming of, and working towards, this race ever since. To have this recognition for it at home is really touching. It's an exciting time for Irish solo sailing at the moment and it shows by the number of us nominated for the award and the number of projects in the making for the next few years."

The winner will be announced at a lavish ceremony at the Royal Dublin Society on February 9 at The Royal Dublin Society.