Ronstan

Mini Transat – Decison Time

Published on November 20th, 2013

(November 20, 2013) – Magic weather reports. One only had to observe the trajectory of the leaders at the noon update, or rather just after the official radio report when they were provided with the forecast, to see that many competitors had chosen their camp, the road to the south. Nevertheless, there are still some resistant freethinkers among the leaders.

There are still twelve boats working to finish repairs in Lanzarote before returning to sea. For two of them, the adventure of the Mini Transat stops there. Stan Maslard (Sefico Group) and David Genest (Bingo) will not leave. For Stan, the accumulation of minor technical glitches have got the better of his desire to return to sea, especially as he came with the goal of a podium finish. David’s broken mast means there is no hope that he can leave on time. As his race must end there, he has offered Jerome Lecuna, who has major power problems, his generator. In the world of the Ministes solidarity continues to take precedence over the competition …

For other competitors, it’s a case of rehabilitating their steeds who have suffered during the voyage. For many, these are problems of power, autopilots and often damaged rudders. This area seems to be a weak point as soon as conditions become windy.

The first strategic choice
In the prototypes, the first three seem to have made the same choice: to quickly make their way south. Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) and Benoit Marie (benoitmarie.com) were just waiting for the reading of the daily weather report, issued by SSB, to make their routing decision. They were followed a few hours later by Rémi Fermin (Boreal). It is less clear for Bruno Garcia ( Sampaquita ) who could procrastinate a little longer before making his decision.

However, Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto) has apparently decided to bet everything on a route close to the great circle,a choice which seems to have given Jean- Baptiste Lemaire (L’Ouvre du Marin Breton) a solid fourth in the series boats . Their route, if it is confirmed, is audacious, but it could pay off over time. Indeed, the arrival of a cold front at 40° W should cause a break in the trades and generate light winds for several hours. If those to the south are able to get far enough away to escape the influence of this front, they will keep the established trade winds established and far outweigh those on the direct route. However, if everyone finds themself in the same boat, those who have chosen to sail the shortest route will make the gains. Ahead of Jean- Baptiste, the leading three have clearly chosen the southern route. So this may be the best card to play for the navigator who dares to take radical options. He already proved, in last year’s Les Sables – Azores, that counting on a very northly option for the run to Les Sables d’ Olonne can bring success. Regardless, the battle for second place between Simon Koster (Go 4 it) and Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) promises to be fierce.

No soul searching for the pack
Behind the leaders, for the main body of the pack, it’s about escaping the lights airs that extend around the Canaries. The anticyclone is growing and the primary objective is to avoid getting caught in its nets. Eric Cochet (Abers & Co) , Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal Rêve d‘enfance), like Damien Audrain (Gerinter) or Jerome d’ Aboville (Bel) have significantly adjusted their route. Alberto Bona (onelinesim.it) will not follow immediately, as he is the victim of a technical problem. The Italian skipper has activated his ” on board ” button several times, which means it is not asking for assistance and is trying to solve the problem himself. At the 16.00 update, only two competitors, Louis Segre (Roll my Chicken) and Julien Pulvé (MEXT – ICA ) showed speeds of greater than ten knots on a clearly southerly route. It is still very early in the great crossing for anyone to play their cards openly.

The situation of the twelve soloists still racing but in Lanzarote

  • Richard Hewson (RG650.com) repairing an aerial problem
  • Hugues Cholet (Pour le Bel Espoir) had planned to stop at the outset
  • Jerome Lecuna (I Feel Good) departure imminent departure
  • Marc Dubos (CEPAT), leaving tomorrow morning
  • Nolwen de Carlan (Reality), leaving tomorrow morning
  • Eric Jezegou (Déphémérides – AM2I), waiting for a chain plate
  • Charles Boulanger (Foksamouille) has not clarified his intentions
  • Axel Tréhin (Ty Startigenn) departure imminent departure
  • Federico Cuciuc (Your Sail) has not clarified his intentions
  • Thomas Guilbaud (Technip Planète Urgence), has not clarified his intentions
  • Robin Marsh (Marcel for Ever) departure imminent
  • Jean-Marie Oger (Acebi) – Last minute news: Jean-Marie just called the Race Direction to signal its retirement (a problem with his navigation system)

Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) with 2177.9 nm to the finish
2. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 58.2 nm
3. Justine Mettraux (824 – TeamWork) + 63.4 nm
4. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Ouvre du M Marin Breton) + 83.7 nm
5. Eric Cochet (Abers & Co) + 163.4 nm

Ranking (prototupe) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmian<) with 2049.8 nm to the finish
2. Benoit Marie (667 – beenoitmarie.com) + 11.1 nm
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Borréal) + 85.9 nm
4. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) + 147.2 nm
5. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 178.4 nm

Full rankings can be found online here.

Background: The biennial Mini Transat is a transatlantic race for solo Mini 6.5m competitors. The race has two legs: 1257 miles from France to Canary Islands, and 2764 miles from Canary Islands to Guadeloupe. Demand is high to compete. The race is limited to 84 racers, and each entrant must fulfill qualifying requirements. The race has a production division and a prototype division.

The start from Douarnenez was originally planned for October 13, but was postponed due to severe weather conditions on the race course. A weather window allowed for the start of the first leg of the Mini Transat 2013 on October 29, but worsening weather conditions forced the cancellation of this leg and the Mini Transat fleet found shelter in the ports on the north coast of Spain.

Seventy-three competitors restarted in Sada, Spain on November 13, with the race reduced to one 3700 mile leg direct to Pointe-à-Pitre.

Race website: http://www.minitransat.fr/

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