In the Mini Transat, come November 12 at 17.30 local time, the start for the race from Sada to Pointe a Pitre will take place. The wind is moving into the northern sector, allowing the Minis sail in their favourite way, carrying the breeze from behind. More importantly, the start would not have been possible without the determination of the competitors and the extraordinary chain of solidarity that has been unbroken since the start from Douarnenez.
Mini Transat 2013
Finally! For the first time since October 13, the Azores anticyclone has deigned to give the race a break and northerly winds are forecast for the tip of Spain. For the Minis, docked in Sada since October 30 or who have been making the tough passage between Gijon and the Galician port, it will be time to do what they came to do, an exceptional race to Guadeloupe on the other side of the Atlantic. The last delivery convoy competitors, who had chosen to wait until the weather moderated considerably in the area, arrived between midnight and early morning with the exception of the Estonian Jaanus Tamme (Ropeye ) who arrived in the late afternoon. The weather forecasts indicate a sustained north to north-easterly wind which should allow for rapidly progress downwind.
There is a real strategic choice for the competitors. The optimised routings offer a route well offshore from Cape Finisterre with the risk of encountering up to or more than 35 knot winds. Alternatively they can follow a route close to the coast that offers much more manageable conditions, so it is a real choice of which path the competitors will chose according to their strategy, their ability to perform well in the breeze, and their desire to wrestle with the elements.
Tonight at 19.00, the competitors have their final briefing before the big leap. This is an opportunity to make a last weather check to review the conditions for a technical stop (not less than 12 hours and not more than 72 hours) to dissect one last time the course and the Puerto Calero gate, located in front of the city of Arrecife. If the Mini Transat is finally underway, it is largely thanks to a chain of solidarity that has rallied around the event. It is through the contacts established over many years between the Finistérien and Galician event organisers that it was possible to impliment the Sada stopover. Similarly, the links established between Douarnenez and Gijon during the Barquera helped in the mobilisation of officials from Marina Gijon who have bent over backwards to assist the nearly seventy Minis who arrived unexpected on their pontoons. Puerto Calero in Lanzarote, is obviously disappointed not to be able to welcome the fleet, but the port officials have already said that this is only a postponement. In Guadeloupe, the authorities in Pointe à Pitre have rescheduled the planned festivities so that the maximum number of competitors can participate.
The tenacious competitors, the partners who have been able to respond in a timely manner; despite the uncertainties with which the organiser of the 2013 edition have had to juggle the Mini Transat is still as fit as a fiddle. By navigating the 3,700 miles that will take them to Pointe a Pitre, the fleet is preparing to write a unique new page in the history books of a race that remains decidedly atypical.
Bertrand Nardin, Président de Douarnenez Courses: 'Despite all the hardships and misfortunes, a new start for the Mini Transat is well underway. It has been difficult for everyone, firstly for the competitors who have faced difficult weather conditions, endless frustrations and had to deal with complex choices on the rally to Sada. I also think that the organising team has found the flexibility to adapt to the stresses generated by the situation. Finally, without the chain of support that we found in both Gijon and Sada, and without the renewed confidence of our partners in Puerto Calero or Pointe-à-Pitre, the Mini Transat would have had to face much more significant turbulence. I thank them ... '
Jacques Bangou, Maire de Pointe-à-Pitre: 'In Pointe-à-Pitre we have been working attentively on this epic challenge for many months. We welcome the news that a start can finally be made for what will be a new adventure, a long race, a great race. We stand ready and you look forward to welcoming you with impatience. We wish you fair winds. '
List of competitors racing as of 11 November 2013 available here.
Mini Transat website