Mini Transat: Closing in on the Canaries

Published on September 25th, 2015

(September 25, 2015; Stage 1, Day 7) – As often happens in off-shore sailing, it’s the well-off people that get richer. At the head of their classes, Davy Beaudart (Flexirub) in the prototypes, and Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) in the series class continue to widen the gaps in the last hours of the first stage of the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe.

If the battle is going to be fierce to be placed at the end of the race, the two leaders should peacefully savour their last moments before crossing the line. During this time, some others have had their dreams of crossing the Atlantic erased.

In the series and prototype boats, this first stage of the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe will have brought back some vivid memories. In the cast of this first week of sailing in each category, there has been a clear leader dominating the race, a person chasing, who has managed to leave the main following group, and a pack of people following hot on their heels. In both classes, Lanzarote will just have had enough time to celebrate the arrival of the first two in each category, before the others arrive, one after the other, like a string of pearls.

The clever ones are those who arrive in the first five. So, if the battle is fierce, it’s also said that the first stage won’t have taken all of the wind out of the sails of the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe, and the moments that you lose contact with other competitors, you find yourself face to face with yourself, often for several days in a row.

The solidarity of Minis in action
The battle within the pack has shown to great advantage some of the peculiarities of the Mini class, including the incredible solidarity amongst the sailors. When they find themselves racing neck and neck, they prefer to prioritise navigation and not push the pack of boats into a raging battle, or break through their neighbours defences to drive their advantage home.

In groups, they came to agreements to take it in turns to navigate and to rest, where everyone would reduce their speeds to avoid jostling each other, and periods of fighting, where each of them tried to overtake the others. Some new hierarchies were drawn out, alliances were formed out of circumstance and they continued throughout this windy run down the coast of Portugal. One jibe was enough for a competitor to lose sight of the rest of the chasing group, and it would take some hours to catch up again. Sometimes this feeling of solidarity went even further.

Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) confessed in a radio conversation with PSP Flamant, that a period of low morale following a bad decision on navigation at the beginning of the course, had been replaced by a feeling of optimism thanks to the encouragements of one of his most bitter rivals, Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal). This solidatiry also mobilised the friends of Pilar Pasanau (Peter Punk) to help her get started again, or Fidel Turienzo (Satanas) when he was trying to repair his mast.

A problem doesn’t always mean that a pit-stop is necessary: just two hours ago, Jean-Baptiste Daramy (Chocolat Paries), hit a floating object while he was going at 12 knots during the night. With his back panel torn off, and with only one rudder, he decided, despite everything, to stay in the race, and aim to reach Lanzarote before trying to repair the boat. Sailing with only one rudder, he needs to head out on a port tack, and sail opposing heel, like he would have done in his earlier years when sailing an Optimist. It’s operating on a shoestring, which wears out his nerves, but it goes to show that this skipper never gives up.

Game over
For others, the dream is dashed. This is particularly true for Aymeric Blin (Le Marin des Alpes) who sees his sees his dream die away whilst docked in Sada. The 72-hour time limit for repairs (before a competitor is automatically declared as abandoning racing) is not enough for him and he sadly faces reality. For him, the adventure ends here, with its ensuing disappointments and sadness with regard seeing all he has invested to be at the start.

The 72-hour limit rule may seem drastic, but it’s also the only way the race director can maintain the fleet close and provide assistance to all the boats. The longer the period, the bigger the risk of having a fleets spread out over the course. Jonas Gerckens (Netwerk) has also found out, though his Facebook page, that he is abandoned, despite not having informed Race HQ, so technically still on the race.

What the sailors have to say:

Ian Lipinski (Entreprises innovantes):
“The race began oddly for me. After the becalmed phase, I found myself relegated to the back of the fleet having followed poor strategic choices. Feeling under pressure from the start, I just snapped. It hit me psychologically, I wanted to cry … I found myself near Tanguy Le Turquais me who boosted my moral which helped me get back knto the race. And yet we are competitors. That’s the Mini spirit, we put others before ourselves. We finally got out of the Bay of Biscay and be uo with the leading pack at Cape Finisterre. We did not sleep much along the Spanish and Portuguese coastsline. I am very happy with my boat and the whole project. I participated in the construction and development of my Mini. I really know it well and learn new things every day.”

Ranking 25th September at 18h (TU+2)

Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec)
1. Davy Beaudart – 865 – Flexirub à 157,5 milles to the finish
2. Frédéric Denis – 800 – Nautipark à 70,9 nm
3. Luke Berry – 753 – Association Rêves à 82,0 nm
4. Ludovic Méchin- 663 – Microvitae à 83,3 nm
5. Clément Bouyssou – Le Bon Agent ! Bougeons l’Immobilier à 85,4 nm

Séries (Ocean Bio-Actif)
1. Ian Lipinski – 866 – Entreprise(s) Innovante(s) à 274,2 milles to the finish
2. Tanguy Le Turquais – 835 – Terréal à 30,1 nm
3. Charly Fernbach -869- (Hénaff le Fauffiffon) à 48,2 nm
4. Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss à 55,9 nm
5. Armand de Jacquelot – 755 – We Van à 56,2 nm


Race websiteRace programTracker

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.


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