Window closes for Mini Transat fleet
Published on September 27th, 2019
La Rochelle, France (September 27, 2019) – The 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère will not be able to set sail on September 28 or 29 as hoped due to the narrow weather window closing and the expected forecast in the Bay of Biscay over the coming days is such that the huge fleet of Mini 6.50s cannot be safely released. This continues the delay for the 87 solo sailors that have been under postponement since September 22.
“We summoned the racers today because we really believed that there was an opportunity to set sail,” explained Denis Hugues, Race Director. “If a weather window presented itself, it was important to snap it up. Unfortunately, conditions have deteriorated overnight and the front expected to roll through on Tuesday (Oct. 1) has become a lot more active. We’re expecting 30-knot winds, gusting to 40 knots, and waves of 3.5 to 4 metres.”
Christian Dumard, the race’s meteorologist corroborates this viewpoint: “The front is sweeping across the whole of the Bay of Biscay and it’s not possible to dip to the South of it, even by putting in place waypoints.”
As for the next opportunity to start, Hugues anticipated a significant delay. “It would seem very complicated to release the boats before Wednesday (Oct. 2). We’re also keeping a close eye on the trajectory of Hurricane Lorenzo, which remains unsettled. Some models suggest it will have an impact on the Bay of Biscay late next week, whipping up winds in excess of 50 knots.” We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Whatever happens, the stopover in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, together with the start date for the second leg (November 2), are not called into question.
The Mini 6.50, a noted offwind flyer, struggles upwind in a sea due to the design trends promoting scow hull shapes to maximize surfing performance.
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.