Top three finish Mini Transat stage one

Published on October 4th, 2021

(October 4, 2021; Day 8) – Today at 15h42 UTC, Tanguy Bouroullec was the first skipper across the finish line of the first leg in the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat EuroChef as well as first in the prototype category. The skipper of Tollec MP/Pogo took the win after a completely crazy race, during which the four leaders managed to steal a march on the rest of the fleet on exiting the Bay of Biscay.

Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre) was the second prototype skipper to cross the finish line today at 16h46min07s (UTC). In so doing, the skipper of Tartine sans Beurre took 7 days 03 hours 16 minutes and 07 seconds to complete the 1,350-mile course between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma at an average speed of 7.80 knots. The gap to the first is 01 hour 03 minutes and 37 seconds.

Pierre Le Roy was the third prototype skipper to cross the finish line, doing so at 16h51min59s (UTC) today, completing the leg in 7 days 03 hours 21 minutes and 59 seconds at an average speed of 7.80 knots. The gap to the first is 01 hour 09 minutes and 29 seconds.

Next to finish will be Irina Gracheva in her 2010 Lombard-design proto, expected early tomorrow morning, and then it will be a long wait as nearly 500nm separates Gracheva from her pursuer.

Bouroullec comments following his victory:

How do you feel after taking the win in this first leg?
When you finish a leg of the Mini Transat, you don’t really know what’s gone on out at sea. On land, you always know a lot more than us! For my part, it was clearly a surprise to see Fabio (Muzzolini) appear on the AIS this morning. I even thought that my system was acting up because the day before I had a 40-mile lead over him. We chatted a bit over VHF. I learned that he’d been accelerating the whole of last night thanks to a better closing angle than me. I was afraid that Pierre Le Roy was with him, but on crossing the finish line I learned that I was first so that’s cool.

It’s your second podium in a leg of the Mini Transat (3rd during act 1 in 2019), but your first victory. That means that you’ve fulfilled your goal of winning the leg in this 23rd edition…
Yes. I’m very happy, especially given that it’s been a fairly complicated one. Four of us managed to slip away at Cape Finisterre. I knew that the vast majority of the fleet had sought shelter due to the weather conditions. It was a strange feeling to learn that type of news. I got out my charts to see where some of them had stopped off. It’s certainly been a complicated leg in terms of the weather. I’m looking forward to seeing the cartography to get a grasp of everything that’s happened. I’ve no idea where Fabio came from! We’ve had some complex conditions with twin ridges of high pressure, a front in the middle… it was hard to know where we were at in relation to all that.

You seem pretty fresh at the finish…
Pretty fresh? No, that’s because there was a squall just before the finish, which woke me up! (Laughs). I’m doing alright though, to be fair. The boat’s doing well. I haven’t broken anything. She’s in perfect shape, ready for the second leg. As I’ve already said, this first act was complicated in terms of the weather, but there were still some enjoyable moments, especially during the last few days. Just before Madeira, we had fairly flat seas. We were just screaming across the water, slipping along up on the foils. Those were fun times and the foils have done well as it has been a bit of a lively leg. Exiting the Bay of Biscay was particularly full-on.

Yes, the exit from Biscay was a key passage in the race as announced…
It sure was! It was complicated! In the small front during the second night out, I had to contend with gusts of 36 knots! In a Mini, that much wind, close-hauled, is not much fun. After that I fluffed it a bit in the ridge of high pressure. Exiting Biscay really wasn’t that easy. We knew it’d be a decisive passage, but we didn’t expect the door to slam shut like that just behind us. We were lucky there. It’s fair to say that for the overall ranking in the prototype category, it’s created a hole.

A hole in relation to the rest of the fleet, for sure, but the battle for the podium remains very tight…
It promises to be a fantastic second leg! The match is still open. One hour on a transatlantic scale is nothing and Irina (Gracheva) is not very far behind either!

Race detailsEntry listTracker

After a one day postponement, the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat, reserved for the Mini 6.50, the smallest offshore racing class at 21-feet, got underway on September 27, 2021.

A notable proving ground for sailors with shorthanded aspirations, it is also test platform for new boat types, with 65 competitors entering in the production division for manufactured boats while the prototype division has 25 entrants with custom designs.

Held biennially, with limited participation for safety that includes strict qualification guidelines, the 4,050 nm course is divided in two parts: Les Sables d’Olonne (France) to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries (Spain), restarting on October 29 for the finish at Saint-François in Guadeloupe.

Source: Mini Transat

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