17 Oct Round Ireland Record: Tom Dolan is ready to go
Irish sailor Tom Dolan is back in Ireland with his Figaro Beneteau 3 Smurfit Kappa Kingspan and is set up ready for a good weather window to take on the single handed Round Ireland sailing record which eluded him in the early summer.
Unlike in May when there was the requirement to have his boat back in France to continue with the racing season there, Dolan is under no time pressure this time and can afford to wait for an ideal weather sequence which will give him the best chance of breaking the 2005 mark of 4 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes and 29 seconds) established over the 688 miles of the course by the Belgian Michel Kleinjans aboard a Class40.
“Let us say it feels very much like unfinished business.” Said Dolan today on board is boat in Greystone south of Dublin, “They say the best way to succeed is to try again. I am determined to succeed. I am sure the record is relatively easily achievable with the right weather.
“A start seems unlikely this week as the weather seems very unsettled but I have much less time pressure than before, so I will bide my time and wait. The weather at this time of year is much more dynamic than in the summer with more lows coming sweeping in from the Atlantic. I need a system which will give me a sequence of shifts in wind direction.” Dolan summarises, “I’m still not clear whether the best way is anticlockwise or clockwise. The key is always that north east corner where the strong tides are. Normally I’d say you want to get through and deal with them first and then you are not worried about getting stuck at the end, but you need the wind to work for you.”
The long hours of darkness and cold will be much more unpleasant than his summer attempt but he admits he is well used to the late Autumn, early winter conditions on the ocean. “I delivered my boat back from Ireland in December a few years back, I delivered a Class40 in November a while ago and so it does not bother me. It is not like in La Solitaire du Figaro where weight is super critical, so I can make sure I have a good supply of hot food and drinks and can carry more sails.” He notes.
“The boat is less than seven miles from the record starting line which is located between Dun Laoghaire and the Kish Bank lighthouse, and everything is all ready ready to go,” says Dolan for whom the 688 miles of the course are similar to a stage of Solitaire du Figaro.
“If the weather window is good, we believe that it is possible to complete the course in three and a half days.” He concludes.
Crédit photo: Romain Marie