Delays continue for Mini Transat
Published on September 21st, 2019
Originally planned to start on September 22, the lively wind conditions and sea state in the Bay of Biscay and offshore of Cape Finisterre mean that it won’t be possible to reschedule the start of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 until this September 25 at the earliest.
Renowned meteorologist Christian Dumard, presently working for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, gives us the low-down: “Through till Wednesday (Sept 25), or even Thursday, there will be boisterous conditions in the Bay of Biscay with the competitors being forced to punch into strong winds and high waves over a short period. After that, there is some uncertainty about how things will evolve.
“Another low-pressure system is set to put in an appearance on Friday, but it’s too early to tell how it will progress. The aim is for the competitors to sail in manageable conditions as far as Cape Finisterre.”
Denis Hugues, race director, supports this analysis: “We’re setting a maximum limit on the seas into which we won’t release the competitors. As long as the height of the waves is in excess of 3 metres, we won’t give the start. Through till Wednesday, the weather window is bolted shut. Conditions appear to improve considerably late next week, but if we can start the race before that, then that’s what we’ll do. We’re preparing to give the competitors 48 hours advance warning.”
The Mini 6.50, a powered-up 21-footer, struggles upwind as design trends have offered scow hull shapes to maximize offwind performance. There are 87 women and men entered in the biennial event.
The first leg begins September 22 (now postponed) from La Rochelle, France and extends 1350 nm to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. After an often complicated exit of the Bay of Biscay, sailors will expect some long slips down the Portuguese coast before arriving after 7 to 10 days in the Canary archipelago.
The second leg will start November 1 from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and will take from 15 to 20 sailing days to complete the 2700 nm course and reach Le Marin in Martinique, French West Indies. Due to the numerous islands, the restart from the Canary can be tricky before reaching the famous trade winds that offer a long downwind run.