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Weather cruel to Mini Transat—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 1 Nov 2013
2013 Mini Transat Mini Transat http://www.minitransat.fr/
Despite the best efforts to get in a good race, Leg One of the Mini Transat Race was cancelled due to deteriorating conditions in the Bay of Biscay. According to the latest reports, the race organizers made this tough decision based on longer-range GRIB files, which painted an atrocious picture that wasn’t made safer by the fact that the legendary race consists of singlehanded skippers racing aboard 21-foot speedsters.

At the time of this writing, most of the fleet was reportedly heading towards Gijon, on Spain’s Cantabrian coast. Once the fleet is safely ashore and the weather system has played through, race organizers plan to restart the fleet as quickly as possible. Get the full report, inside this issue.

Meanwhile, news recently broke of a Chinese entry into the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). Team Dongfeng, backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle, will be the third Chinese-flagged entry in as many editions of the VOR, and they are also the third confirmed entry in this grueling, around-the-world battle.



'Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle has become an important partner for the Volvo Ocean Race, which is an internationally renowned sailing event,' said Huang Gang, Dongfeng’s General Manager. 'This is also a key step in DFCV’s global marketing strategy.'

'Team Dongfeng will be sailing in our new One-Design Volvo Ocean 65, like the rest of the fleet, which means they will have exactly the same boat and competitive opportunities as anyone in the race, and they will be one of the first teams on the water,' said Knut Frostad, CEO of the VOR. 'The team will include a significant number of Chinese sailors and the search begins now to find the best in the country.'



Also offshore related, 'Spindrift 2', the world’s largest offshore trimaran, is currently attacking the distance record from Cadiz, Spain to San Salvador in the Bahamas. The current record of 7 days, 10 hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds was set in 2007 by skipper Franck Cammas and crew aboard the maxi trimaran, 'Groupama 3', but co-skippers Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and the 12 other crewmembers aboard 'Spindrift 2' are hoping to best 'Groupama 3’s' average pace of 21.70 knots.



'Dona and I are proud to set off on this first trip, on this first adventure with the Spindrift racing team,' said Guichard. 'This is my 11th Atlantic crossing, and everything seems different. The pressure is positive and whilst leading this crew is no trivial matter, the shared adventure has all the ingredients and fun one feels on great crossings.'

Get the full scoop, inside, and stay tuned to the website for the latest news from 'Spindrift 2', as it becomes known.

Also inside, get the latest news from the Star class, the JP Aloha Classic and ISAF’s latest match-racing rankings.



Lastly, I recently caught up with Ken Read, President of North Sails, World Champion sailor and the unofficial Don of the Newport Sailing Mafia, to get his pulse on sailmaking in the post-Great Recession era. Part One and Two are now live on the site, and Part Three of this exclusive Sail-Word feature will be published in the next few days.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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