Severe weather alert for Mini Transat >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
(October 1, 2021; day 5) – If the first four boats of the Mini Transat EuroChef crisscross the ideal conditions to accumulate miles at high speed off Portugal, the reverse is true in the Bay of Biscay and off Cape Town Finisterre, where conditions today remain gloomy and unstable.
However, a drastic change of pace is announced from tomorrow, with forecasts becoming particularly violent overnight due to severe weather degradation. In fact, old-fashioned conditions are expected in these areas, with gusts of 50 knots in difficult seas.
The race management sent all the competitors a weather alert accompanied by advice on how to seamanship and consider taking shelter. Since receiving the message, a large number of competitors have seen reason and have chosen to suspend their race to ensure their safety and that of their boat.
This is evidenced by the many courses which gradually converge towards the land. The ports of Baiona, Camariña and La Coruña seem to be destinations of choice for sailors who are likely to be the most exposed to these difficult conditions.
The skippers most affected by the situation will probably be the latecomers, but things are looking complicated overall for all the Mini sailors who are still north of the latitude of Porto by tomorrow evening.
If the escape is an option taken by many skippers, it is fortunately not a necessity for the whole fleet. Indeed, the leading boats in the production boat category seem ready to escape the worst of the wind. For now, off Cape Finisterre, they will gradually cling to more regular conditions, having spent 30 hours fighting to progress in light and irregular airs.
On the standings side, the last 24 hours have seen Gaël Ledoux sail blindly. The skipper of Haltoflame-Ilots.site, positioned in 13th place 14.6 miles from the leader yesterday afternoon, took control of the fleet at midday thanks to a daring trajectory as close as possible to the coast. The sailor from Saint-Malo is currently 3.6 miles ahead of Basile Bourgnon (975 – Edenred) and a small group of nine sailors led by Julie Simon (963 – Dynamips) about 5 miles behind.
Among the prototypes, the small group of four mentioned above, composed of Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Tollec MP / Pogo), Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre), Irina Gracheva (800 – Path) and, in particular, Pierre Le Roy (1019 – TeamWork) which really flies and is now more than 45 miles ahead of its closest rival, clearly has a taste for speed.
These escapees continue to lengthen their stride, propelled by the Portuguese trade winds. This trade wind is not very strong and relatively fluctuating, but it has allowed them to progress at an average speed of between 8 and 11 knots over the last 24 hours. As such, their arrival in Santa-Cruz de La Palma is always expected late on October 3 or the early hours of the next day, at least two days ahead of their pursuers.
As another news to note from today, the successful towing of Franck Lauvray’s boat was completed by the trimaran of Adrien Hardy, sailor and rescuer of boats in distress. The Alice prototype, which underwent a dismasting on the night of September 28 the following day, reached the port of Lorient at around 1 a.m. local time last night, which means that the skipper and the boat were completely secured before the approach of storm. shots.
In addition, Lilian Geolle (616 – Aora) managed to repair his stick mast, but the situation is a little more annoying for Camille Bertel (900 – Cap Ingelec). The skipper failed to repair the on-board electronics and continued on his way without an autopilot. He sails alongside Pierre Legendre (994 – AKKA) who helps him keep morale and motivate him.
Race details – Entry list – Tracker
After a one-day postponement, the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat, reserved for the Mini 6.50, the smallest 21-foot offshore racing class, started on September 27, 2021.
A notable proving ground for sailors with reduced aspirations, it is also a testing platform for new types of boats, with 65 competitors entering the production division for manufactured boats while the prototype division counts 25 participants with personalized designs.
Held every two years, with limited participation for safety that includes strict qualifying guidelines, the 4,050nm course is split into two parts: Les Sables d’Olonne (France) to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries ( Spain), leaving on October 29 for the arrival in Saint-François in Guadeloupe.
Source: Mini Transat