Mini Transat: Final Miles

Published on November 12th, 2015

(November 12, 2015; Day 13) – For the leaders of the Mini Transat Iles De Guadeloupe, the prototypes are just 24 hours away from the finish line, and the battle is still going strong. The clear leader, Frederic Denis (Nautipark), has slowed down as the winds ease off. In his wake, they are attacking from all sides. In the production boats, the battle between Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) and Julien Pulvé (Novintiss) finds one going south as the other went north.

These are the last hours of the race. The very first competitors will enjoy their last sunrise on this Mini Transat Iles de Guadeloupe. For those chasing Frederic Denis (Nautipark) at the head of the fleet of prototypes for almost 10 days (over 11 days of racing), it’s their last chance Thursday. In the production boats, the game is back on tonight. There are still two days of racing before a very promising final.

Everything changes imperceptibly as they approach the coast. On the horizon, there are sails and cargo boats. In the sky, they see the first frigates, those stylish tropical birds. More than anything, the land affects the weather. No more nice steady trade winds. As they get closer to the Caribbean islands, the land is the grain of sand in the gears of wind creation.

In particular, the wind speeds of 15 to 20 knots of recent days will turn into an increasingly unstable weather system, with winds of 10-15 knots all day and some stormy squalls. In the late afternoon and early evening, the clouds can generate gusts of wind of 30-40 knots with strong wind changes. Therefore, the first sailors of the race need to be tactically and technically vigilant. It is not yet time to give in to the tiredness that they have accumulated during those 11 days and 11 nights of transatlantic racing, or to indulge in a more relaxed routine. The arrival is tomorrow; the change of pace is now.

In the prototypes, it’s a safe bet that Frédéric Denis is putting everything into it: his fists and teeth are clenched. He is the first to go through the calming of the trade winds, with his speed dropping to 7-8 knots this morning, while those pursuing him continue to attack at 9-10 knots. A little calculation help clarify things: the skipper of Nautipark has a 50 mile lead over the second competitor, the Italian, Michele Zambelli (Illumia), and he is sailing 1-2 knots slower than his pursuer. His lead will therefore reduce to 1-2 miles per hour.

Knowing that, unless there is a major glitch, he should cross the finish line in about 24 hours, and the rest of the competitors will gradually enter into the relative calm of the West Indies, the hierarchy of the race has little likelihood of changing. But we never know….

To the south, Michele Zambelli (Illumia) and Luke Berry (Association Rêves) are 2nd and 3rd and to the north, Clément Bouyssou (Le Bon Agent) and Axel Tréhin (Aleph Racing) are pushing things 100% with each of these last miles to improve their chances: the objective for all of them is a podium place, with only three spaces for five boats… the verdict will come tomorrow.

In the production boats, the big news of the day is the separation of Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) and Julien Pulvé (Novintiss)! The wakes of the two boat leaders in the production boats were joined as one for more than eight days, but last night the man from Lorient decided to dive south, leaving the man from La Rochelle to chart his way north.

By getting closer to a straight line of attack, Ian Lipinski has taken over the leadership. He is, at mid-day, faster than his former fellow traveller. But, there are still about two days to go, and it is all to play for. Following 85 miles behind the leaders, Tanguy Le Turquais (Terreal) has been in a solid third place since last Sunday, maintaining a gap between himself and the rest of the peloton.

Ranking on 12th November at 15:00 (TU+1):

Séries (Ranking Ocean Bio-Actif)
1 Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss: 403 miles from the finish
2 Ian Lipinski – 866 – Entreprises Innovantes: 2.3 miles
3 Tanguy Le Turquais – 835 – Terréal : 83.8 miles
4 Edouard Golbery – 514 – Les Enfants du Canal : 129.1 miles
5 Armand de Jacquelot – 755 – We Van : 145.5 miles

Prototypes (Ranking Eurovia Cegelec)
1 Frédéric Denis – 800 – Nautipark: 142.1 miles from the finish
2 Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia : 53.7 miles
3 Luke Berry – 753 – Association Rêves : 68.5 miles
4 Clément Bouyssou – 802 – Le Bon Agent – Bougeons l’Immobilier: 90.7 miles
5 Axel Tréhin – 716 – Aleph Racing : 109.9 miles

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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