In the Mini Transat, after reviewing all the options open to them, the organisers, in consultation with the competitors, have finally decided that the 2013 edition of the race will be run as a single leg, from Sada to Pointe-a-Pitre. The start is scheduled for November 12.
The decision is made, and it break the feeling of uncertainty that had began to weigh on everyone's minds. And once again the organisers of the Mini Transat have, in an unconventional way, choosen an original solution : to go directly to Pointe a Pitre, removing the Lanzarote stopover.
This choice responds to several constraints regarding the rally from Sada to Gijón, it is a trip of more than 160 miles, or 24 to 36 hours, in conditions that may not necessarily be very easy : the prevailing westerly winds, residual high waves residue, coastal navigation requiring vigilance. In the first of the briefings in Gijon, the competitors requested that a stop of at least 48 hours be observed after the arrival of the last competitor in the Galician port. In adding this new delay the time available for the turnaround time in Lanzarote is compromised, which has the knock on effect of also compromising the arrival date in Guadeloupe.
The choice of the direct route can catch some of the delay caused by the bad weather. However, the fleet will race through a gate near Lanzarote that will establish an intermediate classification before crossing the Atlantic. In addition, competitors who wish may make an express stop at Puerto Calero if they wish to make repairs before undertaking the crossing. Finally, although this leg with be the longest distance in the history of the Mini Transat (about 3,600 miles as opposed to 3,1000 for Madeira to Salvador de Bahia), it could well be shorter in time, because it avoids crossing through the Doldrums. The arrival of the first boats could be celebrated around the first of December.
Originally, the Race Director wanted to be able to start on November 11. But there are a number of logistical issues to resolve. Firstly, many competitors had sent equipment to Lanzarote in anticipation of the stopover there and it is necessary to repatriate that equpment to Sada. Computers, stores and especially freeze-dried food, clothing suitable for sailing in the tropics, all these need to be returned quickly to the Galician port. Logistics are being put in place, but to ensure that everyone can recover their equipment the start is moved to November 12. As of this afternoon, the first soloists begin passaging to Sada. Some have already decided to wait until tomorrow when the wind should begin to drop. Within days, the entire Mini family will be reunited and on a war footing to take a historic step. Certainly, this race is unlike any other!
by Solene Rennuit
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3:42 PM Tue 5 Nov 2013GMT
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