Mini Transat – Scattered, and trying to solve the puzzle

Published on November 23rd, 2013

(November 23, 2013) – The soloists of the Mini Transat are still not finished with the unstable trade winds. Between windy squalls and areas without a breath, all must be prepared to face some tough times. If salvation seems to come from the southwest, they must also find the right balance between heading south to find more consistent trade winds and wining in the west on the Antilles route.

There was good news for Arnaud Gentien (www.diffuselec.com) when CLS, the company that manufacturers the positioning beacons, was able this morning to give a first approximate position of his vessel. The positioning units are in fact equipped with both a GPS and an iridium transmitter. After investigation, it was discovered that the iridium transmitter was continuing to broadcast, while in contrast the GPS was not working. With repeated cross checks, it was possible to determine a position for Arnaud at 14:30 GMT of 22°05’N and 22°23′ W, about thirty miles to the immediate west of Pierre-François Dargnies (We-van.com).

Protos : Marie Benoit, the threat
At the 16.00 (GMT +1) ranking just 5.2 miles separated Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) and Benoît Marie (www.benoitmarie.com), who is determined to ferociously push his opponent. Both men are on the same route and there is a good chance that they are sailing within sight of each other. For the Italian navigator, who had looked to be gradually writing the chronicle of a comfortable victory, it is a rude awakening. It remains to be seen whether the speed differential observed recently is due to the highly uncertain weather, or a technical problem that is preventing Giancarlo from exploiting the full potential of his boat. Regardless, Benoît Marie has hitherto enjoyed a remarkable race, and demonstrated that on the original route of the Mini Transat, the Finot designs can still have their say. The winning boat of the 2009 Transat 650 has found a new lease of life. Astern, Bruno Garcia (Sampaquita) in fourth and, to a lesser extent, Rémi Fermin (Boreal), are increasingly feeling the pressure from Bertrand Delesne (Proto TeamWork). Also note the rise of Julien Pulvé (MEXT – ICA) who, despite his stopover in Puerto Calero, is gradually getting back in the game. Similarly Annabelle Boudinot (Agro 650) is on track to achieve her goal: to demonstrate that a prototype partially constructed from flax fibers can be competitive.

Series: Aymeric Belloir out on his own
Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer) meanwhile displays an iron will. The competition does not oblige him to go to bed with the sun and rise with the cock’s crow, but the sailor from Etel gives the impression that he truly has the measure of the race and sets the pace for his opponents, who can only wait for him to make a false step. Particularly since Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) and Simon Koster (Go 4 It) are fully preoccupied with their fight for second place. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (L’Ouvre du Marin Breton) is in a situation that, in terms of pure racing, is more comfortable. Stalled in fourth place, he is 150 miles ahead of the duo of Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal Rêve d’enfance) and Eric Cochet (Abers & Co). They need to keep their wits about them though … as both may need to be wary of a possible attack by the trio of Alberto Bona (Onelinesim.it), Jerome d’Aboville (Bel) and Damien Audrain (Gerinter) who have taken a more southerly route. Craig Horsfield (Naked Retreats) has sought medical assistance. Suffering from a sprained hand, he was able to consult and take the appropriate drugs. Craig has been able to continue safely after the consultation was relayed by an escort boat. As they slide deeper into the Atlantic Ocean, the single-hander’s AIS signals, which were relayed by VHF antennas ashore, disappear from the screens. In Lanzarote, Ludovic Méchin (Paris Texas) is on an express twelve-hour stop, to verify that the temporary repairs made ​​at Rabat are holding well and to refresh his supplies. The navigator had found an incredible level of support from friends and locals who stepped in and helped him in his struggle to find the right materials. So happy was he to see that his adventure could continue, that he set sail again as soon as possible from Rabat, before realizing that his food stocks had dwindled during his big detour.

Ranking (prototypes) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmian) witth 1608.2 nm to finish
2. Benoit Marie (667 – benoitmarie.com) + 5.2 nm
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Boréal) + 128.6 nm
4. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) + 1377.6 nm
5. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 157.1 nm

Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde channte contre le Cancer) with 1747.5 nm to finish
2. Justine Mettraux (824 – TeamWork) + 86.6 nm
3. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 93.5 nnm
4. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Ouvre d du Marin Breton) + 113.4 nm
5. Tanguy Le Turquais (599  Terréal Rêve d’enfance) + 250.7 nm

The 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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