Mini Transat – The obscure, the unranked
Published on November 24th, 2013
(November 24, 2013) – There are now two races within the race. Those who still hope to achieve victory or a place of honor continue to fight for every tenth of a mile gained or lost, gybing at the right moment and changing sails at the right time. For those who wander in the soft underbelly of the rankings or have been delayed by technical problems and abdicated any hope of victory, the adventure and the desire to complete a journey are taking over.
The tussle continues at the head of fleet between Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) and Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com). It’s the same in the series boats, behind the immovable Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer), Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) and Simon Koster (Go 4 It) continue to cross paths and tensely battle it out for the second step on the podium.
The trade winds appear to be building in the southern part of the race area, but for the soloists it is very difficult, with a wind that seems to be turning more openly to the northeast, to go directly downwind in order to gain in the south.
The comparative trajectories clearly reflect that this desire is being regularly thwarted by the immediate need for efficiency, which requires you to choose the best possible route for winning in Guadeloupe. There is a small group that has managed to work their way south who are already beginning to display speeds worthy of a Mini in the trades.
In the prototypes Louis Segre (Roll my Chicken Roll), seventh, Annabelle Boudinot (Agro 650), eighth and Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addicts) are approaching speeds of 10 knots. In the series boats Alberto Bona (Onelinesim.it) and Jerome d’Aboville (Bel ) could reap the rewards of their choice.
Soft underbelly , brave heart
The passage via Lanzarote upset rankings for this single leg between Galicia and Guadeloupe. Those who stopped are now more than 500 miles from the head of the fleet at best. Suffice it to say that for them, performance targets, if any, have not be achieved. This means that when crossing the Atlantic, they have to find the necessary reserves to handle ten to twelve days alone, without further contact other than with those who are randomly placed on the track of each competitor. This may be a bulk carrier en route from Africa to Canada (“Cargo ship, cargo ship, can you read me, over?”) and the opportunity to utter a few words of English with the watchman on the bridge… Luckier are those who are close by another competitor, such as Florian Blanchard (MC Technologies) and Pierre- François Dargnies (We- van.com). By chance or necessity, these two are what you might call “country” neighbors on the pontoon. Nothing prevents them sail together and this is a great way to keep a certain lucidity. In Lanzarote, one imagines that before returning to sea a number of competitors exchanged their race strategy to cross the Atlantic. Who knows if the group of four, who headed rapidly south, Jean-Loup Chenard (Istuardo), Yoann Tricault (Schlüter Systems), Thomas Guichard (Carrefour Bretagne) and Raphael Marchand (Soréal Ilou ) did not agree a joint strategy in the hope that at times they would be able to chat to each other on the VHF? For these sailors, all set in life, the Mini Transat is mostly an adventure to be devoured hungrily. To surpass oneself, to experience those moments when you are able to overcome your doubts, discovering a part of yourself that you did not know, this is also the Mini Transat. And this is also why just crossing the finish line in Guadeloupe is a victory.
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, with a gate at the Canary Islands for safety.
Race website: http://www.minitransat.fr/