|Mini Transat 2013 Press Release
Douarnenez, 29 October 2013
Mini Transat – Entering into difficult territory
- A start in squally conditions
- A boost through the Raz de Sein
- Several retirements during the first few hours
It is never easy to start 84 Minis in a breeze with a well-established swell. It is even less easy if the weather forecasts impose tight timings on a fleet that had remained trapped in the port of Douarnenez for more than two weeks. The start of the Mini Transat has not failed the tradition with a lot of twists and turns.
It was the sort of start we all love, with plenty to spice up the action: some ocean swell, some busts powerful enough to remind everyone that ultimately the sea can be an unforgiving mistress, a sumptuous landscape, and an exit through the Mer d’Iroise, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. At the entrance of the Raz de Sein, the Minis could begin to unleash. The gennakers quickly flourished and it was at more than ten knots that the fleet leaders crossed the symbolic threshold and penetrated into the Bay of Biscay.
Unsurprisingly, there were some familiar faces to be found at the forefront: in the prototypes where Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) demonstrated the power of his unusual prototype, only trailing behind Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addict) who took a more direct straight line route. Positioned to weather Gwénolé Gahinet (Watever-Logways) profited from the opportunity to take the lead. But their little world is separated by only a few miles and from the leading group back to Sébastien Picault (Kickers) in eleventh there are less than five miles difference in distance to the goal.
In the series boats, the suspense is intense. After Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) is Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) who led the fleet to the Raz de Sein before Ian Lipinski (Pas de futur sans Numérique) claimed a lead of respectively 0.2 miles and then 0.3 miles to Mary Renaud and Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer). Again, the differences are very small since Damien Cloarec (Lomig) in seventh place is just 1.4 miles astern of the race leaders.
Misfortune at sea
For others, the Mini Transat is proving to be a hard road to tread. For some, it is all about getting into the rhythm of a race that started at an unbridled pace. This is the case for the Australian Katrina Ham (Seanergy) and Italian Federico Cuciuc (Your Sail) who are already more than 12 miles behind after less than seven hours of racing. Others will not have the good fortune to be able to compete with their fellow travellers. For example Craig Horsfield (Naked Retreat) had to abandon due to a collision with Annabelle Boudinot. The young skipper of Agro 650 was finally able to leave after an express pit stop in Douarnenez, which put a little balm on the heart of Craig who was at fault in the incident. Arnaud Etchandy (Ipar Hego) has fallen victim to various technical problems and, like Craig Horsfield, estimated that the time needed for repairs did not allow him to leave in safe conditions. Bert Bossyns (Netwerk) reached the same conclusion having returned to Douarnenez at 17:00 with his solent jib completely torn. The Belgian was navigating through big swells and was unlucky to see his headsail pierced by a tree branch exposed between two waves. Finally, Bruno Simonnet (El Nono) was forced to retire for medical reasons as he is experiencing reduced movement in one of his arms.
Two other sailors are currently heading back to Douarnenez. The Spaniard Carlos Lysancos (Reyno de Navarra) is facing serious problems with his autopilot following a collision after the start. Stan Maslard (Sefico Group), meanwhile, seems to have bad luck : after breaking the support cylinder of his autopilot just before the start, the Sablais navigator still had the bit between his teeth and returned to see once repairs were completed. After two hours of racing, Stan was forced to turn back again because of a problem with his rig. Having invested so much of his time to be forced to return to the dock twice … this is one of those days when luck seems to have deserted the ranks.
Last minute: Delcroix – Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque dismasted
At 17:47 Arthur Leopold Leger asked assistance from the organisation of the Mini Transat. At 17:57 he triggered his distress beacon. The PSP Cormorant went immediately to the position of the signal to find that Delcroix – Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque was dismasted and leaking. Arthur Leopold Leger was recovered by the PSP Cormorant. He is in good health.