Your prep time has ended

Published on October 16th, 2023

As the lone North American competing in the 2023 Mini Transat, Peter Gibbons-Neff (USA) began the first stage on September 25 and completed the 1350nm course from Les Sables d’Olonne in France to the Canary Island on October 7. Currently serving as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Peter was among the 90 solo sailors racing in the 21-foot Mini… here is his report:

Most Marines can still hear the saying “Your prep time has ended…” echo across the rifle range, no matter how long ago they experienced the qualification process. Well, those words still felt just as real as we approached the start of the 2023 Mini Transat.

Going into this race I expected a challenge but you never know exactly how it will all play out. There were plenty of tough days out there, but also some incredible downwind sailing, surfing down waves with the big spinnaker up off the coasts of Portugal and Africa.

More to follow soon with my in depth after action report blog posts. For now, getting you all up to speed initially with a podcast episode.

In this podcast episode, Jane helps me break down the final preparations for the Mini Transat, the race village experience, the departure, and the start of the race. We discuss parts of the race beyond what you can see from the tracker alone.

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After a one day postponement due to storms, the 24th edition of the Mini Transat, reserved for the Mini 6.50, the smallest offshore racing class at 21-feet, saw the first stage get underway on September 25, 2023.

Ninety solo sailors entered the 2023 Mini Transat with the competitors placed in divisions for prototype and production boats.

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

Held biennially, with limited participation for safety that includes strict qualification guidelines, the 4,050 nm course is divided in two parts with the combined elapsed time to determine the results:

September 25: Les Sables d’Olonne (France) to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries (Spain) – 1350 nm
October 28: Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries (Spain) to Saint-François in Guadeloupe – 2700 nm

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