19 Mar Sixth overall is Tom Dolan’s best Solo Maître CoQ yet
Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan laid to rest the ghosts of three past Solo Maître CoQ events when he finished Sixth overall from a 30 boat fleet Saturday. After his 11th in Wednesday’s short inshore race the skipper of Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan fought back from a schoolboy error early in the 340 miles offshore race to finish eighth across the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne on Saturday late afternoon.
He passed the wrong side of a mark on the way south towards La Rochelle and had sailed three miles passed it before he turned back and made good his course. Not long after he was 29th but he once again proved one of the fastest sailors in the strong breeze when he pulled back through the fleet in blustery winds to 35kts at times.
“It was good to be able to even see the winners in the end.I don’t really know how deep I was in the fleet but it was very bad and a silly mistake that could really have cost me.” smiled a relieved and exhausted Dolan back in the Vendee port. “But this is my best ever Solo Maître CoQ yet and so it’s fine, it’s good.”
Of the navigational error he said “I gave the boat a good thumping with my fist I was that angry with myself but having vented I just got on with concentrating on my strategy and bit by bit it paid off.” reported Dolan who blew his chances of a good result last year when he tore his gennaker sail. The previous edition he twisted his ankle and had to retire from the offshore and on his first attempt he lost his focus entirely when he made a few bad early decisions and finished way down the fleet,
“This long offshore was tough, with calm and a real battle in the strong winds, it just got windier all through last night. It was trying, both for the nerves and physically and hard on the boats and so I am glad I did not break anything.”
“In the end it was about going fast and not breaking anything. I took places as I went but obviously when I started to get closer to the leaders it became more complicated! “, said the Irish skipper who crossed the finish line after two days and five hours at sea.”
“Anyway the hoodoo is buried and it feels good! “ concluded Dolan whose next regatta is the Laura Vergne Trophy, the lead up to the Spi Ouest-France Banque Populaire Grand-Ouest event on April 1 in La Trinité-sur-Mer.