Please select your home edition
X-Yachts AUS X4 728 - 2

Mini-Transat La Boulangère – A sense of ambivalence among Mini sailors

by Event Media on 30 Sep 2017
Mini-Transat La Boulangère village Christophe Breschi
This Saturday, on the eve of the start, the atmosphere has utterly changed on the pontoons hosting the Mini-Transat la Boulangère fleet.

Overnight, family friends, day-old acquaintances, partners and former Mini racers out to celebrate the race’s 40th anniversary, have been thronging around the boats. The solo sailors themselves are torn between the pleasure of being surrounded by the people who mean so much to them and a desire to be out there sailing already.

The atmosphere had become more relaxed as the week went on, after the initial, rather alarmist weather forecasts from earlier on in the week, improved considerably. For the solo sailors, it’s been all about putting the finishing touches to a series of odd jobs, amidst like-minded people, with teams restricted to a few old faithfuls, out to give a last helping hand with the preparations.

And suddenly, this Saturday morning, the wave of friends, familiar faces from the race and the media following the event, flooded the pontoons of the Bassin des Chalutiers. Faced with this welcome tsunami, the Mini sailors have been trying hard to show willing, not about to refuse the offers of kindness at a time when they’re about to take the plunge from what feels like the ten-metre board.

“We’re being targeted from all sides. We’re on the receiving end of some incredible displays of affection, which are a little overwhelming to say the least and we feel torn between such random acts of kindness and the need to get into the zone, into race mode. In fact, our minds are already elsewhere… but perhaps we’re the only ones to know that,” explains an old hand who has racked up three Mini-Transats so far.

A final helping hand

In the midst of this maelstrom, certain skippers are managing to keep their feet on the ground. On some boats, like Emile Henry, Erwan Le Draoulec’s Pogo 3, everything has been ready to go for some days, whilst others still have a few odd jobs to finish. “It never stops in any case,” says a wise Fred Guérin (, with no fewer than three Mini-Transats to his credit. “You just have to know when to say stop…”.

For these final hours, some have been receiving additional help from family like Tanguy Bouroullec (CERFRANCE Kerhis), who’s had some technical assistance from his father Christian, director and creator of the Structures yards, or Nolwen Cazé (Fée Rêvée), whose dad took part in the very first Route du Café or the Transat Jacques Vabre as it’s now known. Others have come along to support their protégés like Imoca sailor Kito de Pavant, who has taken Jonathan Chodkiewiez (Tasty Granny) under his wing. The latter is setting sail aboard a rather venerable prototype, which he’s hoping he can really show what she’s made of out on the water. It’s certainly a far cry from the eighties where the jigsaw was still much in evidence on the pontoons, though certain traditions continue all the same.

A fortieth birthday celebrated in style

Perhaps more so than in previous editions, the old hands, those who are in the know, the cult Mini sailors, seem to be particularly numerous on the pontoons. In the evening, on the eve of the start, the Class Mini paid homage to what amounts to nearly a thousand racers, who have already walked the boards in a bid to chase the rainbow of racing across the Atlantic singlehanded, without assistance, for the sheer pleasure of proving themselves.

Like any family reunion, there were those sailors who pulled it off in the end, which led to some ambitious offshore racing projects, such as Yves Le Blévec, Sam Davies, Tanguy de Lamotte, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Isabelle Joschke… Above all though, there have been a cohort of underlings, those who returned to their professional occupations with this unique experience etched in their memories forever. All, without exception, enriched by a whole new life or nostalgic about past years, were simply delighted to see the family coming together, flitting from one encounter to the next, embracing the true Mini spirit at its finest.

RS Sailing BOTTOMBandG AUS Triton2 FOOTERGul 2018 October - Code Zero AUST FOOTER

Related Articles

52 Super Series homes in on food waste
Achieving significant and measurable changes In the world of grand-prix sport, such as the 52 Super Series, the philosophy of multiple, small, marginal gains to affect a game-changing performance is widely recognised.
Posted today at 3:49 pm
Kiteboard foiling at the Medemblik Regatta
In the Netherlands, the preparations for 2024 are in full swing In the Netherlands, the preparations for 2024 are in full swing. A reason for the Dutch Watersport Federation to implement this sport at the Medemblik Regatta.
Posted today at 2:35 pm
North Sails Weekly Debrief
Figaro 3 R&D, Palma Vela, J/24 European Champs, New Moth Class Leader Six division wins and an ORC podium sweep at Palma Vela. The European sailing season is getting warmed up and North Sails powered teams are on fire.
Posted today at 11:33 am
Recommendations on Paris 2024 Equipment
Three Events and Equipment were confirmed for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition The Equipment to be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition was at the top of the agenda and the Committee debated the subject at length before voting on what recommendations they will put forward to World Sailing's Council
Posted today at 9:48 am
Vertigo takes IRC honours in Apollo Bay Race
Vertigo, from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, also took out AMS Vertigo, the Summit 35 owned and skippered by Tim Olding, has won the IRC class of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria's (ORCV) slow-going 52 nautical mile 2019 Apollo Bay Race, which started on Saturday at 8.15 am with a record fleet of 29 entered.
Posted today at 9:10 am
Equipment Committee votes for RS Aero
The Equipment Committee of World Sailing has voted to recommend the RS Aero to the Council. The Equipment Committee of World Sailing has voted to recommend the RS Aero to the body's Council for confirmation at its meeting tomorrow (Sunday). The Committee decided not to support a Board recommendation that the RS:X be retained for 2024 Olympics.
Posted today at 4:34 am
Finn European Championships wrap up in Athens
The day of reckoning in Greece It was the day of reckoning in Athens at the 2019 Open Finn European Championship, with two European titles to decide and two places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games up for grabs.
Posted today at 12:16 am
AUS at the 49er, 49erFX & Nacra 17 Europeans day 6
Outteridge siblings make Nacra 17 Medal Race at Europeans in Weymouth The weather gods were smiling down on some of the Australian Sailing Team (AST) at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Weymouth, where light breezes and flat seas made the difference for some
Posted on 18 May
Offshore Racing with Live Streaming proven
Oakcliff Sailing accept the challenge ahead of Paris 2024 When World Sailing proposed a new event for the 2024 Paris Olympics--a double-handed, mixed-gender distance race--the sailing community exploded with controversy. Many sailors rejoiced but others voiced opposition to the idea.
Posted on 18 May
Finn Europeans in Athens overall
Giles Scott and Joan Cardona secure European titles Giles Scott secured his third European Finn title in Athens today after holding off world champion Zsombor Berecz on the final day of the Finn Open European Championship. Joan Cardona, from Spain won the U23 European title.
Posted on 18 May