Detour for Mini Transat due to deteriorating weather

Published on October 30th, 2013

(October 30, 2013) – The Race Director of the Mini Transat has decided to implement Plan B, which had been mentioned before the start at the last competitor briefing. The 84 singlehanders, who were to sail the first leg from Douarnenez (France) to Puerto Calero (Lanzarote, Canary Islands), will now stop at the port of Sada, near La Coruna at the north west tip of Spain, to wait out difficult conditions.

Current standings (as of 20:00FR) has Jeffrey MacFarlane (USA) in 8 out of 29 in prototype division, and Diane Reid (CAN) is 42 out of 49 in production division. Six sailors have abandoned the race (2 – proto, 4 – prod).

The fleet of Mini 6.5m racers is expected to arrive in the area on the night of October 31 to November 1. Strong winds from the south-west are then forecasted to sweep Cape Finisterre on November 1 and 2, and then are expected to moderate and go northwest.

After the start of the first leg being delayed since October 13 due to poor weather, the window seemed to have finally opened Tuesday morning, but conditions are deteriorating in Finisterre again, hence the decision of the Race Director who does not want to take any risk with the tail end of the fleet.

This is the charm and complexity of the organisation of a race like the Mini Transat. Between those competing at a high level and those for whom this race is the adventure of a lifetime, there is a difference on how to run the boat. While the former are constantly looking for performance, others do not have any other objective than to run their business at their own pace. At the same time, crossing the Bay of Biscay requires a weather window of about four days to clear the entire fleet.

The Race Director has chosen to anticipate the decision to warn the front runners before the point where the strategic options open up for the fleet, this to ensure sporting fairness. A finish line will be set up in Sada. The ranking of the first leg will the accumulated times for Douarnenez – Sada and Sada – Lanzarote. Competitors were warned by VHF through the intermediary of the support boats and by BLU of the weather break. A confirmation of receipt was requested for each competitor.

Original Schedule

Leg 1 – Douarnenez to Puerto Calero (Lanzarote, Canary Islands): 1257 miles, 10-13 days  (delay now possible).
Leg 2 – Puerto Calero to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe: 2764 miles, 14-21 days.

* Prologue “Tout commence en Finistère” October 6, 2013.
* Start from Douarnenez originally planned for October 13, 2013 at 13.00. Departure postponed to October 29 due to severe weather conditions on the race course.
* Start from Canary Islands is estimated to be between November 9 and 11, 2013 (delay now possible).

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