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Time's up for Tom Dolan in his solo Round Ireland record attempt

by Tom Dolan Racing 7 May 20:02 BST
Time's up for Tom Dolan in his solo Round Ireland record attempt © Romain Marie

Time ran out on the solo Round Ireland record attempt of Irish sailor Tom Dolan this Sunday of the Dun Laoghaire finish line. Unexpectedly light headwinds for more than 24 hours whilst he was sailing round the north coast and into the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland left him beating slowly upwind with periods fighting against a strong tide.

Requiring to maintain an average of more than 7.2 knots, the Irish skipper at one point was more than 70 nautical miles ahead when sailing fast up the west coast on the heels of a moving weather trough but as he rounded the north west corner he was struggling to stay fast enough as the breezes dropped away and progressively went ahead.

Before he left Dun Laoghaire early on Wednesday morning the solo skipper of the 10m Figaro BENETEAU Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan had warned that the weather window was a tight one which would either allow a time of around three days - well inside the 4d 1hr 53m record set in 2015 - or there would be a slow finish and the mark might be missed by a lot.

It was a tired, disappointed but totally objective Dolan who arrived back in Dun Laoghaire this afternoon, "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 south west. 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."

A documentary about this adventure will soon be broadcast in France and Ireland. It will highlight the beauty of the coastline, Tom's performance, but also the protection of the environment so that future generations can enjoy it.

Race data:

  • Start 03/05/2023 03:27:54 UTC
  • Finish 07/05/2023 15:22:25 UTC
  • Established time 4d 11h 54min 31s
  • Record to beat 4d 01h 53min 29s
  • Gap +10h 01min 02s

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