Door stays closed for Mini Transat
Published on September 23rd, 2019
The start date for the 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère uncertain following the decision to delay from the planned date of September 22 for the 87 women and men entered in the biennial event. As a result of extreme wind and waves in the Bay of Biscay and offshore of Cape Finisterre, no start will be announced before September 27.
“Various fronts are sweeping the Bay of Biscay and the sea state is deteriorating,” explains Denis Hugues, Race Director. “Over the coming days, there might be up to a 5-metre swell in the middle of the Bay, with a short period of 8 to 10 seconds between the waves. And all of that will be in upwind conditions. The boats wouldn’t be able to handle such conditions.”
“The decision made will take into account the diversity of the fleet and the disparities between the boats in terms of speed,” notes Jean Saucet, technical director of the Mini-Transat. “All the racers, including those who are not so quick, need to be able to make Cape Finisterre in suitable conditions. That’s what makes the situation complex.”
“We’re monitoring a possible favourable weather window by the 27th.” explains Hugues. “However, we don’t yet have enough visibility as the various grib files are not in agreement. We’re continuing to keep a close watch.”
The Mini 6.50, a powered-up 21-footer, struggles upwind as design trends have offered scow hull shapes to maximize offwind performance.
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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 (may be postponed) 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.