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Southern Spars

Mini Transat - Qualified to wait

by Audrey Knight on 20 Oct 2013
Katrina Ham, prepared for the start of the race - Mini Transat 2013 Audrey Knight
On Sunday 13 October, 84 skippers were set to cross the start line and race their tiny 21ft racers from Douarnenez in France to the stopover port of Puerto Celero in the Canaries in the 2013 Mini Transat race. However, due to a succession of low pressure systems in the North Atlantic, the skippers and their boats have been forced to sit tight in Douarnenez after the organizers decided to postpone and wait for a better weather window.

Among the skippers is 26 year old Australian Katrina Ham. She said, 'It is super frustrating. Having visualised the start for years as motivation to get through the tough times, it's disappointing to have to wait.'

Like all the racers, she faced tough competition to qualify and get a spot on the start line; there have been many on the waiting list, and several showed up in Douarnenez just to be told that they would not be participating in this year's race.

Katrina, who has been based in Lorient, France for one year, completed her first solo race in May as well as the 1000 mile qualifier that has been a requirement since the late 90’s.

Katrina and her main sponsor Chantier Naval Le Borgne have spent the past couple of weeks preparing her boat AUS 785 and getting through the tough security inspections imposed by the race committee. After being all set to go on the 13th, Katrina has been studying the grib files, as she and the other skippers wait for the organisers' colour code system to change from red to orange, signalling a possible start within 36 hours.

While many of the predominantly French skippers have gone home, Katrina has remained in Douarnenez working on navigation and the endless amount of boat tweaking while waiting for the green light.

Having dreamt about the Mini Transat for years, and enduring a hard slog to make it to the start, Katrina can’t wait to get going. She is proudly supported by Pantaenius, Ocean PME, Amanda Grey and Sandrine de Courcy. Her boat is kitted out with the best thanks to Wichard, Profurl and nke.

Follow Katrina as she races across the Atlantic (fingers crossed she doesn’t have to wait much longer!!) at Katrina Ham Racing and on Facebook.

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