Mini Transat – The scales are tipping
Published on December 6th, 2013
(December 6, 2013) – As and when boats arrive, the pontoons at Pointe-à-Pitre are abuzz with activity and tales of the sea told time and again. Meanwhile, the fleet of singlehanders still at sea slims down gradually. For now the movement is still slow, but the pace is expected to accelerate during the weekend.
Justine Mettraux crossed the finish line of the Mini Transat in second place in the series boats at 03h 40mn 34s local time (07h 40mn 34s GMT). Her elapsed time is 22 days 22h 55m 34s. Her average speed over the course (point to point) is 6.67 knots. She arrived 1d 13h 43m 7s after Aymeric Belloir, winner of the Yslab Ranking. She is the first woman to arrive in Pointe-à-Pitre and achieves the best performance by a woman in a Mini Transat series boat.
Second place a surprise
“This is a bit of a surprise because I had no idea where I was. I knew I was third from the Canary Islands. I knew I was second 5 miles before the arrival. It is not easy to navigate like that, you do not where you are, you do not know where you’re going, but I tried to do it like that. ”
“I didn’t have too many problems, a few things but nothing serious. So I told myself that all is well on the boat, if I sail as fast as I can it should not be too bad. Though I was not sure of my track. ”
“It was different from what I imagined, I thought we would have some contact between boats, but in the end we were all quite alone. If I had not had a problem with my beacon, I would have spent two weeks alone. Otherwise, it was downwind, it is difficult to find a rhythm, it’s monotonous. Although it is less intense than in other races, emotionally it was hard because I did not know where I was. Without information, we do not know if it is right or not, it is always challenging. ”
Problems with the emergency beacon
“In fact, the beacon was in the companionway, where I also put my garbage. One day, I was restacking things and I think that, without meaning to, I triggered it. I had music on and I was trying to maneuver, so I did not hear the alarm and it was only when I went into the boat that I heard it beeping. I turned it off and reported to the Race Director that everything was fine, but I had no VHF range and therefore had no other way to announce that there was no need to come to see me. I was not surprised to see the ship that the Race Committee diverted to me because I thought there would be someone who would. he did not come close, he contacted me by radio.”
The next to cross the finish line should be Simon Koster who completes a podium with a dominant Swiss presence. After Justine Mettraux arrived this morning at 3:40 local time, she will undoubtedly be there to greet the man who made her life difficult for such a good part of the race. Returning navigators sometimes bring us strange surprises, everyone had thought that Justine Mettraux had a genuine problem with her rudder, due to an unintended tripping of her emergency beacon followed by her signal confirming her presence on board. In reality, it was only the fall of a unsecured trash bag which led to the triggering. Having realised the error, Justine was anxious to warn the race management that all was well on board. Of her journey, the young sailor had the impression of a long race, a bit monotonous, with the final pleasing surprise of a second place, of which she had been unaware because of lack of reception on her SSB during the crossing . But she felt that time appeared determined to go slowly over the Atlantic.
Simon Koster, the other Swiss
After the Genevois it will be the turn of a German-speaking Swiss to dock at the wharf of honor and be welcomed by his peers. Simon Koster (Go 4 It) should cross the line at around 15.00 local time (19.00 GMT). The arrival of Nicolas Boidevezi is not expected until tomorrow at around 06.00 local time Saturday, followed by Louis Segre (Roll my Chicken) and Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr). From Sunday the bulk of the fleet should touch the ground, with no less than fourteen boats expected on the same day. For these competitors it’s been a fight close with their opponents across the Atlantic and they must surely have intersected at times, either with eye contact or through VHF conversations, which have not benefited the leaders. It is necessary that a place on the podium has a certain price.
Ranking (prototypes) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
7. Nicolas Boidevezi (719 – Nature Addicts) with 160.3 nm to finish
8. Louis Segré (679 – Roll my Chicken) + 90.4 nm
9. Michele Zambelli (342 – Fontanot) + 144.2 nm
10. Annabelle Boudinot (791 – Agro650) + 145.8 nm
11. Alan Roura (284 – Navman) + 192.7 nm
Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
2. Justine Mettraux (824 – TeamWork) finished at 8h 40mn 34s (GMT =1)
3. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 39.2 nm
4. Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) + 251.7 nm
5. Alberto Bona (Onelinesim.it) + 307.4 nm
6. Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal Rêve d’Enfance) + 308.6 nm
The complete ranking list is available at
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/