Mini Transat – Sisyphus of the sea

Published on November 30th, 2013

(November 30, 2013) – Caught in an eternal nightmare … Approaching the Canary Islands, the competitors in the Mini Transat, especially those who had to stop in Lanzarote, see the weather conditions blow hot and cold along the route. How many times did they think that “this time, surely the trades are here …”? And how many times did they find themselves disillusioned? They truly deserve to reach the end of this Mini Transat.

There may be cause and effect the fact that Sisyphus is the son of Aeolus, god of wind. By trying to play with the gods, Sisyphus was condemned to constantly roll a stone to the summit of a mountain only to see it roll back down the hill again. He may perhaps have sent a part of his punishment to the sailors of the Mini Transat, since they have been involved in crossing the Atlantic, alone and waiting endlessly for the trade winds and the promise of reward after a chaotic start to the race. But nay! This year, the anticyclones of first the Azores and then Bermuda decided to play with the nerves of the competitors by emigrating to northern latitudes on the one hand, and then disappearing from the face of the map on the other. Instead, a low pressure area has generated a complex storm flow, at times leaving room for the anticipated easterly winds, before generating new areas of calm or westerly winds.

The leaders arrive at Pointe-à- Pitre tomorrow
Even for Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian), life is not so simple. The skipper of the Magnum has three times managed to widen the gap on his direct opponent Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com). And three times, Benoît has returned to less than twenty miles from the race leader, just to just to spice things up at the end of this great struggle for victory. The winner of the 2013 edition should cross the line tomorrow during the day around mid morning, French time. But before that the two leaders will face easing winds as they approach the the finish line, winds that seem to have already found Giancarlo : the conditions ensure we will be in suspense right until the end. Behind them the struggle continues for the last spot on the podium with Rémi Fermin (Boreal), Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto) and Bruno Garcia (Sampaquita) at loggerheads.

In the series boats, the hierarchy seems clearly established and the podium is unlikely to change before the finish of Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer), Justine Mettraux (TeamWork ) and Simon Koster (Go 4 It).

Anticipating the tilt of the seesaw

The middle of the fleet seems to have rediscovered the wind. Everyone is now on starboard anticipating a wind shift that should gradually turn right. In these conditions, one is tempted to give the advantage to the competitors placed furthest north in the fleet.

In the prototypes, Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addicts) has got the better of his immediate competitors. Louis Segre (Roll my Chicken) and Annabelle Boudinot (Agro 650) may also be under threat from Michele Zambelli (Fontanot) and Alan Roura (Navman). Both navigators have older boats, but have played a remarkable stroke of intelligence and lucidity so far.

In the series boats, Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (L’Ouvre du Marin Breton) should be able to breathe a little easier. Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal Rêve d’enfance) and Jerome d’Aboville (Bel) now find themselves in his wake and in the south. The main threat could now come from Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr), but he is still 80 miles adrift. But its hard to see what’s coming, as the Mini Transat demonstrates every day. Today’s gain can be overhauled tomorrow.

Pointe à Pitre at work
At the Marina Bas du Fort, the Mini Transat village is ready to welcome the first competitors, as well as the public. Everything is in place to make sure that the hassle and tensions of the crossing are quickly forgotten in the declious aroma of Ti-punch and the beguiling rhythms and warm welcome of Guadeloupe. Confidentially Yours.

To follow the arrivals
– Live on the social networks Facebook and Twitter
– On the map, updating every 10 minutes in a 10 mile radius of arrival
– Flash reports live from the course
– Online reactions from the winner in mp3
– Finish +2 hours: On line on Dailymotion – a video of the arrival and on the website of a photo album of arrival.Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) with 641.3 nm to finish
2. Justine Mettraux (824 – TeamWork) + 183.2 nm
3. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 288.4 nm
4. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Ouvre du Marin Breton) + 496.1 nm
5. Tanguy Le Turquais (599 – Terréal Rêve d’enfance) + 549.1 nm

Ranking (prototypes) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmiaan) with 285.3 nm to finish
2. Benoit Marie (667 – bbenoitmarie.com) + 18.6 nm
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Boréal) + 194.8 nm
4. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 233.2 nm
5. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) + 234 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, with a gate at the Canary Islands for safety.

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

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