Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Mini Transat - Playing the card of transparency

by Solene Rennuit on 15 Oct 2013
2013 Mini Transat © Jacques Vapillon / Mini Transat http://www.minitransat.fr
In the Mini Transat, the recurring question in Douarnenez is why did you not start on Sunday with good weather prevailing over the bay? The answer lies at Cape Finisterre on the northwestern tip of Spain. This is where the singlehanders might be caugh out in the cold, beating in winds of 35 knots in a big sea. Critical conditions for boats as small as 6.50m sailed singlehanded.

You have to imagine life on a Mini, facing the sea in bad weather. The boat becomes trapped, barely able to climb the waves at very low speeds because of its short waterline length. The cockpit is regularly swept by the waves and the skipper is tossed about, relying on his safety harness to keep him attached to the boat. Inside, it's a real mess.

Everything that can be is piled up on the windward side, everything is soaked and the boat's movement prevent any attempt of to make a hot meal. In short, these are particularly difficult conditions for both the sailors and their machines. The rig is pounded with each wave and some masts can not stand up to the punishment.

It is understandable that in these conditions the race committee has chosen to postpone the start of the Mini Transat. Moreover, they must now find a big enough window to stop it slamming shut on the fingers of the fleet. However, the current situation offers intervals of only 48 hours, which is not sufficient to allow all competitors to cross the obstacle of the Bay of Biscay and make their descent along the western coast of Galicia. They have to sail about 450 miles before meeting more manageable conditions. To ensure the safe passage of the fleet what is needed is a weather window of about three full days. But the pressure systems currently feeding the near Atlantic are at relatively southern latitudes, making the dominant winds southerly to southwesterly. The famous jump to a nor'wester, following the passing of a depression, does not have time to establish itself before a new system takes its place.

Faced with such a situation, the organising team has opted to wait for favorable weather window to reach Lanzarote.

One alternative that could be considered is breaking the first leg into two separate sections. The first could take the fleet from Douarnenez to Gijon, a Spanish port that can easily accommodate a fleet of 84 Minis. Through contacts established with the Barquera during the Grand Prix Guyader the Asturian contacts of Douarnenez Courses are mobilised. At Gijon, the soloists can await another weather window to round Cape Finisterre. The advantage of the operation: by splitting the leg it considerably reduces the size of the good weather window necessary to open the road to the south. But today, no decision has yet been taken, as this solution raises a number of logistical problems. Next rendez-vous will be at 18.00 tomorrow . The race has chosen to play the card of transparency with the competitors : this is also in the spirit of the Mini Transat website

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
100 days to Rio, are there potholes and bumps ahead?
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for most crews.
Posted on 26 Apr
Is George Lucas a sailor?
He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic, which has been instrumental in the making of many of the special effects that have made the digital world so impressive. Gone are the smears of Vaseline along the bottom edge of the clear filter to hide the trolley that was actually transporting Luke Skywalker’s Speeder, for instance.
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Can World Sailing learn from dear old Oz?
Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint Some time ago now, Sail-World proposed that ISAF had a really good opportunity at hand when it morphed into World Sailing (WS). Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint, when you could bring out the jackhammers and do a proper reno??? A call was issued for 200,000 sets of goggles and earmuffs to be supplied and for the real work to be commenced.
Posted on 11 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignPantaenius - Fixed ValueHenri Lloyd 50 Years