Mini Transat – Conflicting emotions as finish looms

Benoit Marie - Mini Transat 2013
As the Mini Transat 2013, Douarnenez to Pointe-a-Pitre, finish looms for Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com) and Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian), Guadeloupe dons her charming finery to create a welcome worthy of the two men who have been racing the battle of the Atlantic. Behind them we will have to wait twenty hours to see who steps into the final podium position.

Every morning at 9am GMT, the Race Director uses the BLU system to transmit a complete weather report followed the daily ranking to the fleet. No position data is given for each vessel, only the distance still to go to the finish. In yesterday's ranking, Saturday 30 November, Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) knew he possessed a thirty mile buffer on his immediate opponent Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com). In this morning's ranking he could hear the voice of Denis Hughes, the Race Director, telling him he had dropped to second, ten miles behind his opponent. We can only presume that the Italian navigator suffered a technical problem and knew that the gap would be reduced. But no doubt he hoped to keep a small leeway. The announcement of the ranking had to be psychologically hard to take for Giancarlo after leading the fleet almost continuously since the departure from Sada. Being overtaken on the final straight is without doubt one of the worst things for a competitor. However, one can easily imagine the divine surprise for Benoît Marie. Always on the attack since the start of the race, Benoît little expected such a feast and has, no doubt, an extra spring in his step following the announcement of the ranking. Now he needs to harness this new motivation to the finish line.

Still the battle for third place is fierce, the skipper of Boreal refuses to seed to the attacks of Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto) and Bruno Garcia (Sampaquita). The Mediterranean skipper wanted to take revenge on the Mini Transat after a dismasting ruined his hopes of placing in the last edition.

In the series boats, Aymeric Belloir (Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer) continues to lead Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) and Simon Koster (Go 4 It). The third ranked prototype should cross the line tomorrow afternoon (local time).

For the bulk of the fleet, this should be the final few hours of hassle. The stormy depression which seriously disrupted the Minis parade to Guadeloupe is gradually draining away to the north-east, giving way to a regime of winds which are is still light for the trades. But at least it means that, little by little, the fleet will return to downwind sailing, heading for the Caribbean. Whatever comes their way they will grab with both hands.

Photo taken from the PSP Cormoran during the abandoned first leg from Douarnenez to Sada - Mini Transat 2013

Cegelec / Eurovia Ranking (proto types) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Benoit Marie (667 – benoitmarie.com) with 71.6 nm to arrival
2. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmian) + 14.9 nm
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Boréal) + 193.5 nm
4. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 237.5 nm
5. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) + 244.2 nm

Yslab Ranking (series boats) at 16.00 (GMT +1)
1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) with 459.6 nm to finish
2. Justine Mettraux (824 - TeamWork) + 201.8 nm
3. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 314.4 nm
4. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Œuvre du Marin Breton) + 573.4 nm
5. Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) + 629.7 nm

The full rankings can be found online here.
http://www.sail-world.com/117198