Mini Transat: Increasing the Gap

Published on November 9th, 2015

(November 9, 2015; Day 10) – While the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe leaders continue to amaze the timers, and while they are no longer counting the distance to the finish in hundreds of miles, the majority of the troops are just starting out on the second part of the race.

Little by little, the leaders have increased the gap between themselves and the rest of the fleet. At the heart of the peloton, they know that the places of honour will be taken by the top names. It’s difficult for them, under these conditions, to maintain the same rhythm as the speeding boats at the head of the group.

Tiredness takes its toll, little scratches and knocks undermine performance of the equipment or of the sailors themselves, the desire to arrive, yet knowing that to be placed in the race, you need to rank highly in this stage. There’s no comparison between fighting for one of the top five podium positions, and aiming for fifteenth or twentieth place.

It’s all well and good to set your own personal goals but it’s difficult to keep as motivated as those battling in the mad rush at the front. On top of this, there are the inevitable technical hitches that slow down progress.

Last night, Nikki Curwen (Go Ape ! Live Life Adventurously) activated her Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and slightly modified her route to sail alongside Hervé Aubry (Ixina – Voilerie HSD). What did they say to each other? We will only know the answer when they arrive at the finish, but we guess that both of them have some concerns, given the average speeds in the last days.

The route of the trade winds is rarely as quiet as we like to think. The sea can be affected by tropical waves generating a swell from the north- west that sets against the the windward sea, squalls and storms are more and more frequent as you progress towards the Caribbean. During ten days of sailing with a spinnaker, sailing in groups is a common occurrence. Nacho Postigo (Vamos Vamos) also activated his EPIRB button last night, to reassure others while he was going unusually slowly. Afterwards, the Spanish skipper picked up the race normally again.

Now and then in the Atlantic, the accompanying boats cross routes with the competitors. On board both boats, it’s a big event. For the solo sailor, it’s a break in the routine of the Atlantic crossing. In this way, Salam, in charge of watching over the rear of the peloton, was able to communicate with Chris Lükermann (CA Technologies) who told them he had torn his big spinnaker two days after the start, and that he had some concerns about his bowsprit settings. The German sailor was waiting for a storm to pass so that he could fix things, but the main message was that he was in good spirits, and his voice was clear.

The race leaders are far beyond these considerations. In both prototype and series, no-one leaves things to chance.

In the prototypes, Frédéric Denis (Nautipark) lost ground to his competitors when he positioned himself on the southerly route. Behind him, Michele Zambelli (Illumia) chases, following him like a Genoese cuckoo. In second place for more than 2 miles, he probably dreams about a favourable route, taking the shortest line possible, and of taking the virtual lead in the race, if only for a few hours.

In the series boats, Julien Pulvé (Novintiss) seems to be enjoying his leader’s easy chair. Has there been a small technical hitch for Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) or perhaps a period of light calm, after nine days of sailing at full speed ? The Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe likes to keep its secrets close. This is what also makes it all the richer when they reach land again.

Ranking 9th November at 6pm (TU+1):

Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec Ranking)
1 Frédéric Denis – 800 – Nautipark at 791,6 milles from the finish
2 Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia at 8.8 milles
3 Luke Berry – 753 – Association Rêves at 16.3 milles
4 Ludovic Méchin – 667 – Microvitae at 17.4 milles
5 Clément Bouyssou – 802 – Le Bon Agent – Bougeons l’Immobilier at 30.9 milles

Séries (Ocean Bio-Actif Ranking)
1 Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss at 940 milles from the finish
2 Ian Lipinski – 866 – Entreprises Innovantes at 10.5 milles
3 Tanguy Le Turquais – 835 – Terréal at 53,5 milles
4 Edouard Golbery – 514 – Les Enfants du Canal at 74 milles
5 Edwin Thibon – 721 – Cœur Fidèle at 91,5 milles

Race websiteRace programTracker


The Race
72 entries
71 boats at the start in Douarnenez
63 boats at the start in Lanzarote
7 support boats

The Skippers
68 men
4 women
52 rookies
20 return competitors
33 years average age
The youngest: 22 years old (Julien Hereu and Quentin Vlamynck)
The oldest: 56 years old (Carlos Lizancos)
15 nationalities

The Course
4021nm, 2 stopovers, 3 towns
Douarnenez – Lanzarote 1257nm
Lanzarote – Pointe-à-Pitre 2764nm

Key Dates
7th October 2015 – Prize Giving 1st Stage in Lanzarote
24th October 2015 – Prologue and Prize Giving (Lanzarote)
31st October 2015 – Start 2nd Stage: Lanzarote – Point-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe)
14th November 2015 – Estimated arrival time for the first boat at Point-à-Pitre

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 had a 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).


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