Course Change Considered for Mini Transat

Published on October 23rd, 2013

Douarnenez, France (October 23, 2013) – The fleet of 84 Mini 6.50 soloists have been postponed since October 13 for the start of their hallmark event, the biennial Mini Transat. Event organizers have exhibited caution, waiting for safe weather to ensure the fleet can cross the Bay of Biscay and get around the corner of Spain, before their crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

American Jeffrey MacFarlane, considered a favorite to win the race, provides an update from the venue…

“Initially the delayed start was a welcomed extra bit of time to check and recheck everything on the boat. No matter how much you prepare for a race it seems like little things that you intended to do always get cut from the work list. Now all those tasks are complete. It is a strange site to see 84 minis with no one working on them; usually at races the docks are full of skippers getting their boats ready.

“Now with the race village all packed up and all of the boats ready, about the only activity comes each evening around 1800 for the weather briefing. Unfortunately, it is very hard for the race organizers to find a weather window long enough to send the entire fleet around Cape Finisterre. The last two weeks have been producing strong depressions, one after the other, bringing 40+ knots of southerly winds across Cape Finisterre and the Bay of Biscay.

“I think that most skippers will agree that it is very difficult and expensive to be sitting day after day waiting to start the race, but it is certainly better to wait then to go bashing upwind into 40 knots and breaking the boats the first day or two out.”

The Mini Transat is currently divided into two legs
Leg 1 – Douarnenez to Puerto Calero (Lanzarote, Canary Islands): 1257 miles, 10-13 days.
Leg 2 – Puerto Calero to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe: 2764 miles, 14-21 days.

The Mini Transat race organizers, after reviewing the latest weather forecast, informed the fleet today they are now considering two scenarios:

First scenario: A start on Friday and a stopover in Gijon (Spain, before Cape Finisterre). Weather window may allow a clear opening to rally the fleet on the northern coast of Spain, but not allow for a safe crossing of Cape Finisterre. The first leg would be cut into two sections with a fresh start in Gijon on Tuesday 29 October.

Second scenario: A weather window glimpsed in the forecast for next Monday is confirmed to be large enough for the whole Mini fleet to cross the Bay of Biscay.

“The simplest course would be to send the fleet on a single leg,” explained Race Director Denis Hughes.”But today we do not have sufficient clarity about next week to put all our eggs in one basket. That is why we have decided to mobilize the competitors around a possible departure on Friday. If we are certain that the window on Monday is good, then we will leave on Monday. When in doubt, we leave Friday. At least we are making steps forward on the road.”

Mini Transat 2013:

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