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Southern Spars

Mini Transat - Forgetting where the brake pedal is

by Solene Rennuit on 17 Nov 2013
Photo taken from the escort boat L’Imaginaire. Lucile Chombart de Lauwe
In the Mini Transat, as of 16.00 (GMT +1) Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) was only 130 miles from Lanzarote, the first mark of the course after the start from Sada. If the wind holds up, he should pass the waypoint overnight from Saturday to Sunday at around three the morning. Achieving this would mean that the front of the fleet will have taken less than four days to cover the 950 miles between the start line and the first gate.

It would seem that the Minis have all forgotten where the brake pedal is. It's time to accurately evaluate performances as the first of the fleet pass through the gate located just off Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, and it looks likely that they will have been achieving around 250 miles a day since the start, at an average speed of a little more than ten knots. At this rate, the material damage is always a consequence and many sailors have had the misfortunate to sustain assorted damage: some are relatively inconsequential, others are more serious and have led many of the soloists to make pitstops for repairs. For most, the stops have been short and the vast majority are straigh back into the race after repairs.

Who said that Switzerland was not a country of great sailors? In the Mini Transat, Aymeric Belloir (All Sing World against Cancer) does not need any convincing. Because he has two worthy Swiss representatives snapping hard at his heels, the Swiss/German Simon Koster (Go 4 it) and Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) who is Swiss/French . Between the two, there is no regional rivalry when it comes to stealing a march on the rest of the sailing world. Behind them, Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) is collecting dividends from its option to stay inshore, while Jean- Baptiste Lemaire (Œuvre du Marin Breton) has opted, meanwhile, for the most western route of the entire fleet. As usual, the truth can sometimes take strongly diverging paths. Others have no such qualms, and Florian Mausy (Foksaglisse), has stayed true to his principles and opted for an almost direct route from Cape Finisterre to Lanzarote. Keeping the boat steady as she goes under reduced sail, he is currently looking at 14th place in the series boats ranking.

'Slow and steady wins the race.' In the prototypes, Giancarlo Pedote has firmly scratched this famous maxim out of his dictionary. With a cushion of some 40 miles on a group of three consisting of Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork Proto), Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com) and Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addicts), he has clearly demonstrated that he knows how to get the very best out of his Raison design. He is still in the first quarter of the race, but the Italian navigator has yet to put a foot wrong. After the disappointment of the first stage cancellation, cinquantaine has been able to get back into the game. It is also the mark of the best to know how to bounce back.

But you also need to have a little bit of luck with you. Gilles Avril (Evolution Marine) took the option to purchase the hull of a prototype and complete the construction with his own hands. He could be rightly proud of the result.

Unfortunately, a drifting log was right in the path of his dreams when the boats bow came out of a surf and hit the log square on with force. Gilles decided not trigger the emergency beacon : instead he set of a request for assistance from his Argos, and then waited patiently for the escort boat while his boat was filling with water. As the support boat arrived Gilles conducted his transfer with composure and professionalism and his transfer to the Class40 of Benoît Parnaudeau went off without a hitch. The skipper had first inflated his life raft, then climed aboard it and allowed it to drift back so the Class40 could come alongside and secure it. Gilles was then able to safely board the support boat. It was a piece of very fine and well controlled seamanship, which highlights the important role of safety training where this type of rescue procedure is dissected and taught by the rescue professionals and marine security services.

Aboard Paris Texas, Ludovic Méchin appears to be sailing towards the coast of Morocco at low speed. The skipper has keyed the presence on board button to incidate that all is well on board and he does not require assistance. This is also the situation of Nolwen Carlan (Reality) who is also making slow speed progress. As in other cases, the browsers they try to resolve their equpment issues under their own steam. The Mini Transat is an exceptional sea school.

Cegelec / Eurovia Ranking (prototypes) at 16.00 (French time)

1. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prysmian) with 2872.6 nm to finish
2. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) + 47.2 nm
3. Benoit Marie (667 – benoitmarie.com) + 52.5 nm
4. Nicolas Boidevezi (719 – Nature Addicts) + 58.2 nm
5. Julien Pulvé (802 – MEXT-ICA) + 75.1 nm

Yslab Ranking (Series boats) à 16.00 (French time)

1. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer) with 2947.9 nm to finish
2. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 it) + 9.9 nm
3. Justine Mettraux (824 - TeamWork) + 22.2 nm
4. Renaud Mary (535 – www.runo.fr) + 35.5 nm
5. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607 – Œuvre du Marin Breton) +49.8 Mini Transat website
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