Mini Transat: Riding the Weather Front
Published on September 21st, 2015
(September 21, 2015; Stage 1, Day 3) – There has been a decided chance of scenery on Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe. With the arrival of a front, rain and wind have joined the party whilst the boats reach speeds in double digits. Aboard the Minis, they dropped the VHF and naps to concentrate on sailing the boat.
The men from the west have come back strongly, but this group will be without Roman Mouchel who has been forced to return to port after breaking a finger. The sailors that took the southern route, who could congratulate themselves again this morning on the perfect strategy, now need to look behind as the cavalry of the western group is closing in on them.
When they are going no faster than an average of 6 knots, Davy Beaudart (Flexirub) who is thirty miles further west skims along at more than 12 knots, and trailing in his wake, the larger group from the circuit. At this rhythm, they should be in the vicinity of the DST Cap Finistere by tomorrow morning.
In the west again
On board the Minis, the chatty conversations over the airwaves from the calmer hours have stopped. It‘s now all about making the boats go more quickly, while knowing that the wind will ease off somewhat after this front has passed over. In this changeable sea, the competitors are mostly sailing under Code 5, the sail for a slightly lighter wind than a spinnaker. That urges on the leading boats, as everyone knows that each mile gained counts twice as much as soon as the wind dies down.
In the prototypes, there are variable fortunes: Alberto Bona (onlinesim.it) sees his throne wobble. Between Vincent Grison (Roll my Chicken) and Frédéric Denis (Nautipark) there is almost 10 knots of speed between them. It’s clear that the cards will be shuffled quickly. There are now about 50 miles gap between the leaders and Pilar Pasanau (Peter Punk) who is bringing up the rear in the prototypes .
In the series boats, can the leading trio of Julien Pulvé (Novintiss), Patrick Girod (Nescens), and Charly Fernbach (Le Fauffiffon Hénaff) fend off the acceleration by Yann Claverie (Map Product) who has played an intelligent game in the west? He should also try to contain the advances of the ambitious Benoît Hantzperg (YCA Dhumeaux Secours Populaire), Ian Lipinski (Entreprise(s) Innovante(s)) et Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal) who are all bowling along at 10 knots.
Eastern point for Roman Mouchel
The dream of all Mini-ists is to bowl along under a spinnaker. Romain Mouchel is deprived of that at the moment. The diagnosis, relayed by PSP Flamant, seems to confirm that the sailor has broken his finger and can’t therefore continue in his usual form. For now, Roman is heading towards Lorient before taking a final decision.
We’ll have to wait to find out if his taste for adventure will overtake his disappointment about not being able to compete for the leading positions. Whatever the decision, it will be his alone to take. He has about 20 hours at sea to mull over his choices that will be very difficult to take. The Mini Transat may be fascinating, but it is often also cruel.
Pierre-Marie Bazin (Voiles des anges – 709 – prototype):
“There are around 20 knots of wind. I’m sailing in between 12 and 16 knots, that’s quick. The moments without any wind have been tough, especially because I didn’t make the right choices. It is a pleasure to sail like this. But the sea is choppy, it is a bit strange.”
Olivier Jehl (Zigoneshi-Wichard – 629 – prototype):
“It is great, it’s finally surfing! There are around 16 to 20 knots. I’m sailing in between 12-13 knots with peaks of more than 15 knots. I’m taking the direct route to Cap Finisterre, it looks like we are going to be in for a good sprint.”
Positions on the 20th September at 15:00 (TU+2)
Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec class):
1. Alberto Bona – 756 – Onelinesim à 1059,5 milles de l’arrivée
2. Davy Beaudart – 865 – Flexirub à 0,6 nm
3. Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia à 2,1 nm
4. Jean-Baptiste Daramy – 814 – Chocolats Paries – Coriolis Composites à 2,4 nm
5. Fidel Turienzo – 304 – Satanas à 2,4 nm
Series (Ocean Bio-Actif class):
1. Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss à 1064,1 milles de l’arrivée
2. Patrick Girod – 824 – Nescens à 1,2 nm
3. Charly Fernbach – 869 – Le Fauffiffon Hénaff à 2,3 nm
4. Sébastien Pébelier – 660 – www.mademoiselleiodée.frà 3,3 nm
5. Quentin Vlamynck – 728 – Arkema 2 à 4,7 nm
Report by race media.
Background: For the 20th edition and for the second time, the Mini Transat – Îles de Guadeloupe returns to its origins with a start from Douarnenez (France). The Breton harbour will see the fleet of 72 solo sailors set off on September 19 to Lanzarote (Canary Islands), where the Mini 6.50 will complete stage one of the race. The second stage will start on October 31, taking the fleet across the Atlantic to finish some three weeks later in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe). The 2,700 nautical mile race from France to the Caribbean is the longest solo race for the smallest of boats.