19 Jun Dolan, Roberts Land Eighth Overall in Sardinha Cup
With a ninth place earned this Sunday morning when, exhausted, they crossed the second leg finishing line back into Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on France’s Vendée coastline, Ireland’s Tom Dolan and English co-skipper Alan Roberts finish eighth overall in the Sardinha Cup, the two stage, doublehanded race to Figueira da Foz on the Portuguese coast and back to France. With an eighth on the outward leg, sailing Dolan’s Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan, the duo achieve their goal of finishing in the top 10 of the 22 boat fleet.
The second stage, which started lunch time last Tuesday, saw an incredible range of weather, from long, long periods drifting windless in searing heat, to a final night of thunderstorms and huge swings in wind direction with squalls to 30kts.
The duo stuck to their pre-race strategy throughout and while their fortunes ebbed and flowed between second and 18th at different points, they were in the main body of the peloton at the line and the solid finishing position gives them both confidence for the future.
“That was tough. I feel like we had a whole season’s worth of different weather in that one leg. At one stage we were doing sail changes every five to seven minutes. Last night the wind was going through 180 degrees it was hairy at times with more than 30 kts in the squalls. But we never really went off the plan to stay in the north of the route and it paid off in the end.” Dolan explained back in the Vendée fishing port this morning.
“We achieve our goal, finishing in the top ten, yes, and our strategy was good, we sailed the boat well and we really get on well, but the guys who won were right beside us in the middle of Biscay on the way back, they took one hitch away from by about a mile and went on to win. So on the one hand we were in the right place and were that close to being on the podium but I kind of don’t want to be missing out again like we did on the way down.” Dolan added.
“But that was one of the maddest, most intense races I have done. We saw whales, sharks, dolphins close up, Portuguese fishermen close up but we are very happy in the end.” the Irish sailor from County Meath enthused. “But I have to admit I am tired. We have had four big races back to back since the start of the season and now I need to make sure I get rested before the start of La Solitaire du Figaro in late August.”