Full fleet prepares for 20th edition of Mini Transat

Published on March 20th, 2015

The 20th edition of the Mini Transat will see 84 competitors heading out to do battle with the Atlantic when the biennial race starts September 19. The two stage contest begins in Douarnenez in north-west Brittany, with the fleet finishing in Lanzarote of the Canary Islands. From there, the second stage will set off on October 31 for the final finish by approximately November 14 in Guadeloupe. The two legs are 1250 miles and 2770 miles respectively.

The race has a prototype (proto) division and a production (series) division, and is limited to 84 racers. With high demand, each entrant must fulfill qualifying requirements to ensure safety.

Among the entries we find some of last edition’s front runners in the proto ranking including Michele Zambelli, Ludovic Méchin and Romain Mouchel, who are back once more to try their luck. They’ll be joined by some of the movers and shakers of the Mini Class, who have traded in their series boats for a prototype, such as Clément Bouyssou and Davy Beaudart with his Maximum, the sistership to the famous Magnum, which won the Mini Transat 2011 and secured second place in the Mini Transat 2013.

Another competitor making the switch from a series boat to a proto with a rounded bow is Swiss sailor Simon Koster. In a month and half, his scow bow prototype build will be complete.

“The Mini design is by Mer Forte,” explained Koster. “In addition to her scow bow, my Mini will boast a number of other innovations, but I don’t want to reveal all before the launch! Construction began in early September in Lorient and the boat is currently in Switzerland for her fitting-out. My goal is to launch her in late April so as to take the start of the Mini en Mai (solo Mini race in south-west Brittany) on 4 May.”

In the series fleet, all eyes will be on the battle between the Nacira designs, which dominated the competition in 2013 in the hands of Damien Cloarec, Jonas Gerckens and Patrick Girod. Also worth following are the Argos, led by Tanguy Le Turquais, and the two latest newcomers (provided they are granted the status of a series boat), the Pogo 3 and the Ofcet, skippered by Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulvé respectively.

Beyond the competitive aspects, it’s the eclecticism of the fleet which always makes an impression: a third of the solo sailors will be competing in the prototype category, with 13 different nationalities from old Europe to China, Russia, through to Estonia. Just three women are currently pre-registered, all of them from outside France, but there is still time for the female contingent to get things back on track and redress the balance.

Race website: http://www.minitransat.fr/?lang=en

Report by event media.

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