Mini Transat: Final night for leader

Published on November 13th, 2019

(November 13, 2019; Leg 2; Day 12) – The final leg of the Mini Transat expects for Mini 6.50 prototype division leader François Jambou (FRA) to make finish tomorrow (from 18:00 UTC), with Axel Tréhin (FRA) set to hold onto his second place whilst Morten Bogacki (GER) and Erwan Le Méné (FRA) are duelling for the last remaining podium place in this second leg.

In the production boat category, Italian Ambrogio Beccaria continues to reign supreme free of any threat and is due to cross the finish line on November 15 (from 16:00 UTC).

And though the first solo skippers are reckoning on an imminent arrival to complete the 2700 nm course from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Le Marin in Martinique, the back runners still have a long way to go. Indeed, Georges Kick (529) and Jean Lorre (570) are only at the midway mark this evening.

Aboard the reigning champion prototype, François Jambou (865) moved up into the head of the fleet 48 hours after the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Since then he has been opening up a seemingly inexorable lead over his main rivals: Axel Tréhin (945), Erwan Le Méné (800), and Tanguy Bouroullec (969).

A fifth sailor has also joined the fray now. In fact, after finishing 11th in the first leg, Morten Bogacki (934) is sailing a very fine race in the second leg too. Now less than 500 miles from the finish, Morten is on the provisional overall podium, neck and neck with Erwan Le Méné.

Indeed, the German sailor has really got to grips with his very fine prototype, a boat that compatriot Jörg Riechers secured 2nd place on in the 2017 Mini Transat. Among the stellar performances of note in this particular fleet are that of Spaniard Pep Costa (431), who’s sailing one of this year’s oldest prototypes, launched back in 2003. In the space of three days, he’s gained six places, moving up from 15th to 9th place and will doubtless be ecstatic to learn he’s inside the Top 10.

Production boats:
Since the start of the second leg, Ambrogio Beccaria (943) has been leading at every position report, barring one exception on November 3 at 03:00 UTC. Suffice to say that the Italian skipper has stamped his mark on this race with impressive authority to complete the double with a win in both legs.

Behind him, the 2nd and 3rd spots are still very much up for grabs and will likely go to the wire. This evening, Benjamin Ferré (902) and Nicolas d’Estais (905) are hanging on in there, but it’s still absolutely all to play for given how tightly bunched they are with 450 miles to go.

Either way, as the finishers begin to flood across the line, it’ll be time to get out the calculators and work out the state of play in the overall ranking for this 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère in the production boat fleet.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Anne Beaugé (890) scaled her mast today and repaired her damaged spreader without assistance so she is now back out on the racetrack. The two sailors who dismasted, Russian Irina Gracheva (579) and French Julien Berthélémé (742), are continuing to make headway towards the finish line, the latter skipper’s jury rig proving to be particularly effective.

No longer officially racing after requesting assistance, Briton Joe Lacey is also gradually closing on Martinique on a course along the great circle route.

Ranking at 16:00 UTC:

1. François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 205.5 miles from the finish
2. Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 106.1 miles behind the leader
3. Morten Bogacki (934 – Otg Lilienthal) 277.4 miles behind the leader

1. Ambrogio Beccaria (943 – Geomag) 355.6 miles from the finish
2. Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures) 87.3 miles behind the leader
3. Nicolas D’Estais (905 – Cheminant – Ursuit) 88.2 miles behind the leader

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The biennial Mini-Transat La Boulangère has competition for the Mini 6.50 Class in two divisions: the prototypes and the production boats.

Production boats are built out of fiberglass, have alloy masts, 1.6 meter draft, and prohibit material such as titanium, carbon fiber, and epoxy resin. Ten boats must have been built to qualify as an official production boat.

Prototypes, on their side, are free of these restrictions and have been, for years, the very first laboratory for sailing innovations. Canting keels, daggerboards, swinging wing masts, long poles for huge spinnakers, have been tried first on minis. New hull shapes with very wide waterlines and foils are the now the latest innovations.

Race Format:
Eighty-seven started the first leg on October 5 (delayed from September 22 due to storms) 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.

Eighty-two started the second leg on November 2 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.

Source: Effetsmer

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