Ronstan

Mini Transat: Revised course now non-stop across Atlantic

Published on November 5th, 2013

(November 5, 2013) – After reviewing all the options open to them, the organisers of the biennial Mini Transat, in consultation with the competitors, have finally decided that the 2013 edition of the race will be run as a single leg, from Sada, Spain to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. The start is scheduled for November 12.

The original race start in Douarnenez, France was planned for October 13, 2013, but departure was postponed to October 29 due to severe weather conditions on the race course. During Leg 1, the fleet was diverted to Sada, near La Coruna at the north west tip of Spain, to wait out strong weather. After the fleet was nearly two-thirds across the Bay of Biscay, this shortened leg was cancelled due to weather to allow competitors to reach port safely.

The decision is made, breaking the feeling of uncertainty that had began to weigh on the minds of the solo Mini 6.5m sailors. And once again the organisers of the Mini Transat have, in an unconventional way, chosen an original solution: to remove the Lanzarote stopover, which was to provide a layover for the fleet, and go directly to Pointe a Pitre.

It is not yet known how many of the original 84 entrants will be starting. Among the questionable is American Jeff MacFarlane, one of the race favorites in the prototype division, who lost his mast on October 31 before the first leg was abandoned. Race management required him to abandon the boat, but once onshore he has working to retrieve his boat and organize a new mast and sails.

The choice of the direct route can catch back on some of the delay caused by the bad weather. However, the fleet will race through a gate near Lanzarote that will establish an intermediate classification before crossing the Atlantic. In addition, competitors who wish may make an express stop at Puerto Calero if they wish to make repairs before undertaking the crossing.

In the first of the briefings in Gijon, the competitors requested that a stop of at least 48 hours be observed after the arrival of the last competitor in the Galician port. In adding this new delay the time available for the turnaround time in Lanzarote is compromised, which has the knock on effect of also compromising the arrival date in Guadeloupe.

The choice of the direct route can catch back on some of the delay caused by the bad weather. However, the fleet will race through a gate near Lanzarote that will establish an intermediate classification before crossing the Atlantic. In addition, competitors who wish may make an express stop at Puerto Calero if they wish to make repairs before undertaking the crossing.

Finally, although this leg will be the longest distance in the history of the Mini Transat (about 3,600 miles as opposed to 3,100 for Madeira to Salvador de Bahia), it could well be shorter in time, because it avoids crossing through the Doldrums. The arrival of the first boats could be celebrated around the 1st of December.

Originally, the Race Director wanted to be able to start on November 11. But there are a number of logistical issues to resolve. Firstly, many competitors had sent equipment to Lanzarote in anticipation of the stopover there and it is necessary to repatriate that equipment to Sada. Computers, stores and especially freeze-dried food, clothing suitable for sailing in the tropics, all these need to be returned quickly to the Galician port.

Logistics are being put in place, but to ensure that everyone can recover their equipment the start is moved to November 12. As of this afternoon, the first soloists began the transit to Sada. Others will wait until Wednesday when the wind should begin to drop. Within days, the entire Mini family will be reunited and on a war footing to take a historic step. Certainly, this race is unlike any other!

Original Race Schedule

Leg 1 – Douarnenez (France) to Puerto Calero (Lanzarote, Canary Islands): 1257 miles, 10-13 days.

Start from Douarnenez originally planned for October 13, 2013. Departure postponed to October 29 due to severe weather conditions on the race course. During Leg 1, the fleet was diverted to Sada, near La Coruna at the north west tip of Spain, to wait out strong weather. After the fleet was nearly two-thirds across the Bay of Biscay, this shortened leg was cancelled due to weather to allow competitors to reach port safely. A restart from Sada to Lanzarote was planned.

Leg 2 – Puerto Calero (Lanzarote, Canary Islands) to Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe): 2764 miles, 14-21 days.

Start from Canary Islands originally planned for November 9, 2013.

Event website: http://www.minitransat.fr/?lang=en

Story source: Event media

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