After 16 days of waiting, the Mini Transat 2013 started today, with the 84 skippers making their way out of Douarnenez, France, to head across the Bay of Biscay and then south to the Canary Islands. The delay has been due to a succession of low pressure systems bringing gale force winds around Cape Finisterre, but finally the 21 foot boats have crossed the start line of their 1250 mile first leg to Lanzarote.
Katrina heading to the start
Among the racers is 26 year old Australian, Katrina Ham, who was relieved to be finally underway, although concerned about the sea state and forecast. She said 'There will still be a lot of swell, and there is another low coming across the Atlantic, so that is incentive to push hard.'
She has spent a year getting her boat AUS 785 ready to race, as well as completing the strict qualifying regulations set by race organiser, Classe Mini. Plus this Aussie is definitely pleased to be heading south to warmer weather, commenting, 'Daylight saving has stopped now in France ...so as far as I am concerned, it is winter!'
Katrina before the race
It has been a frustrating wait over the last two weeks: friends and supporters who came to see her off had to leave again, while she waited in port. The French sailors were able to go home, but Katrina stayed in Douarnenez, working on the never-ending list of tweaks to the boat and doing more prep on navigation.
Her main sponsor, Chantier Naval Le Borgne, has been instrumental in helping with her preparations. Without their support and that of her other sponsors, Pantaenius, Amanda Grey, Oceane PME, Sandrine de Courcy, Wichard, Profurl and NKE, Katrina acknowledges that she wouldn't be in this position at all, as no amount of determination and hard work can conjure a mini campaign alone.
Anticipation has been mounting on the dock in Douarnenez since the organisers gave the green light on Sunday, and the Minis were towed out of Port Rhu yesterday to be ready for the start. Katrina summed it up: 'Now it is show time!'
Follow Katrina on the Mini Transat tracker here:minitransat.fr, read her blogs for how she's been feeling leading up to the start katrinahamracing.com/blog and Like her facebook page for news of her campaign along the way: facebook.com/KHR