Please select your home edition
Edition
Crewsaver ErgoFit 50N

Defiant Dolan still targeting podium as Mini Transat resumes

by Will Carson 30 Oct 2017 10:55 GMT 1 November 2017
Tom Dolan set for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère © Christophe Breschi

Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has vowed to bounce back after a disappointing start to his bid to reach the podium of the Mini Transat when the second leg begins on November 1.

The 30-year-old from Kells, County Meath, admits he was "gutted" to finish the first stage of the iconic solo race in 12th place in the 56-strong 'série' division for production boats.

One of the pre-race favourites after a strong 2017 season, Dolan led the fleet out of La Rochelle, France, until realising he had made a course error and had to turn back.

The mistake relegated him to the back of the fleet but he managed to fight his way back to finish Leg 1 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, just outside the top ten after just shy of 11 days at sea.

Tired and frustrated by the result, Dolan flew home to Ireland to rest and recharge at his parents' house.

With the start of the second stage - a 2,700 nautical mile race across the Atlantic to Le Marin in Martinique - looming, Dolan said he is ready to put leg one behind him and pull out all the stops for leg two.

"It was heartbreaking having to sail back under spinnaker towards La Rochelle when I realised I'd made a mistake a few hours after the start of leg one," he said.

"I managed to claw my back back to twelfth but it wasn't the result I was after. I was gutted.

"I decided to go home for a bit to rest up. It was my first week off in months and it did me well.

"Now I'm looking forward to getting going again. The run-up to the start of leg one in La Rochelle were stressful but going into the second leg will be much easier without so many commitments. It'll be nice to concentrate solely on the sailing."

Despite Dolan's disappointment his goal of a podium finish is still very much doable – the Mini Transat is scored on cumulative time, and he is currently just seven hours behind leg one winner Valentin Gautier.

Unlike in the first leg where the fleet sailed a fairly straight line south west to Las Palmas, the second stage across the Atlantic will provide plenty more tactical options.

"I need to make up seven hours on first place and five hours on second - it's nothing really over a 2,700-mile leg," Dolan said.

"Because the next stage is across the Atlantic there will be much bigger lateral splits between boats. Anything can happen. One wind shift of a few degrees could see that time wiped off."

The forecast for the start of leg two, beginning on Wednesday, is for stable south-westerly winds of 12-14 knots – perfect conditions to propel the fleet out into the Atlantic.

The stage is expected to take around two weeks to complete.

Follow Dolan's progress in the race at www.minitransat.fr/en/follow-race/cartography

Official race website: www.minitransat.fr/en

Related Articles

2018 season is underway for Team Arkema
Multi50 Arkema has been clocking up nautical miles Two great opportunities to validate the technical choices and gauge themselves to keep on making progress six months away from the Route du Rhum race. As for the Mini 6.50 Arkema 3, Raphaël Lutard has already taken part in two races Posted on 3 May
New developments for Team Arkema Lalou Multi
Preparing for an exciting year in 2018 Optimizing the Multi50 and the Mini 6.50 boats, redrawing the sporting organization of the racing team, eyeing victory in the Route du Rhum race for Lalou Roucayrol, arrival of a new skipper at the helm of the Mini. Posted on 21 Mar
Marlow's Inspirational Women in Sailing
Celebrated on International Women's Day This international Women's Day, Marlow Ropes celebrates the success of the many inspirational women in sailing from around the world that it is proud to work with and support as official supplier. Posted on 8 Mar
Tom Dolan in the running
For prestigious Irish Sailor of the Year award 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. Posted on 9 Dec 2017
Entries open for Drheam Cup - Destination Cotentin
Qualifier for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe The race will be held from Thursday 19 to Sunday 29 July 2018, leaving from La Trinité-sur-Mer and arriving in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. One of the courses will be a qualifier for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Posted on 5 Dec 2017
Ireland's Dolan sails into history books
With top Mini Transat result Solo sailor Tom Dolan has recorded Ireland's best ever result in the iconic Mini Transat race, finishing 6th in the 4,000-mile epic across the Atlantic. Posted on 25 Nov 2017
Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 2 day 15
Make way for the young Amidst all the fanfare of the finish, the race continues... Indeed, there have been a succession of arrivals in the port of Le Marin, but for the overwhelming majority of the racers, there are still some days to go. Posted on 15 Nov 2017
Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 2 day 13
Vedran Kabalin's boat has dismasted Things are complicated for Vedran Kabalin (Eloa Island of Osinj), who has managed to contact Race Management to alert them to the fact that his boat has dismasted. Posted on 13 Nov 2017
Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 2 day 12
A friend indeed Whilst the fleet carves out a route between the latest squalls in what is a very shifty trade wind, each of the skippers has his or her own method of keeping up morale and making the most of this adventure, right the way to the finish. Posted on 12 Nov 2017
Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 2 day 11
No lasting armistice out on the ocean... 99 years ago, the armistice of 11 November 1918 heralded the end of the First World War. This Saturday, on this its anniversary on the great Atlantic chessboard, by way of a nod to history. Posted on 11 Nov 2017