Please select your home edition

Raphaël Lutard and Mini Arkema 3 on departure line of Mini Transat La Boulangère, Leg 1

by Team Arkema 4 Oct 08:55 PDT
The Mini 6.50 Arkema 3 - Mini Transat La Boulangère, Leg 1 © Vincent Olivaud / Team Arkema Lalou Multi

Initially scheduled for 22 September, the start of the Mini Transat - La Boulangère race has had to be deferred several times due to complex weather conditions jeopardizing the competitors' safety.

After three successive postponements and a 15-day wait, the start of this solo transatlantic race is at last looming large for the young 23 year old skipper Raphaël Lutard and his innovative prototype, the Mini 6.50 Arkema 3. So, at 10.30 h on Saturday 5 October, the competitors will be setting off to tackle the first leg of their race: a 1400 nautical mile course between La Rochelle and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Raphaël Lutard talks to us just a few hours from the much anticipated start.

What has it been like to have the start postponed several times?

"I haven't been concerned about it too much. I understand the decision made by the race directors as we have had several lows in the last 10 days, not to mention hurricane Lorenzo! There was no point in being in two minds about it as the start would be given whatever happens. You just needed to be patient! So, after waiting in La Rochelle and making the most of it to go on fine-tuning the boat's preparation, I went back to the Bay of Arcachon for a few days' rest. I came back on Thursday and I'm now getting ready to sail off on Saturday: careening, supplies of fresh food, and of course the weather..."

What's the weather forecast for this first leg?

"We should have light winds on the first day, then we'll have a front to cope with on the first night. After a small zone of high pressure off Cap Finisterre, we should then be sailing downwind for the second half of the course. With wind speed forecasts for now of 30 knots on the weather charts and 35 knots in gusts, sailing down from Cape Finisterre to Las Palmas could be very fast!"

What's your strategy for this 1st leg?

"The first part of this leg will be upwind in light winds, which is not ideal for my boat. My aim is not to lag too far behind the head of the fleet as we sail out of the Bay of Biscay because I know that the boat is capable of clocking up great speeds from then on, sailing downwind."

Can you tell us a bit more about a typical day on board the Arkema 3?

"I start my day at sunrise with breakfast. I go round the boat to make sure everything's OK, and the rest of the morning is spent adjusting or fine-tuning, at the helm or working on the navigation charts. Generally I take a 20 minute break after lunch before my BLU session at 15h UCT. It's an important one-hour spot in the day. We receive daily news about the fleet as well as important national and international information; followed by weather forecasts in French and in English, and finally the rankings in distance from the finish line for the series and prototype boats. If you want to know what their position is, you need to fetch your compass and map and locate them within a rather large circle! After this session, I work on the strategy for the next 24 hours and check the positioning of certain competitors. I record everything in a small logbook to chart speeds and progress day after day. After another 20 minute break and the evening meal, it's off to another typical night alternating short sleep times with periods dedicated to tweaking and maneuvering!"

Click here to follow Arkema 3's race in the 1st leg of the Mini Transat - La Boulangère

Related Articles

Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta overall
Bullets for Blade II & Catapult Light conditions persisted, as did the frontrunners in Farr 40 and WC 70 divisions, on Day Two of the Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta. Posted today at 10:12 am
And then there were 60!
Banque du Léman finally arrives to complete Transat Jaques Vabre line-up Sunday is a day of rest in France, but not universally at the Transat Jaques Vabre, where Banque du Lémanfinally arrived at lunchtime to complete the starting line-up and crowds thronged, despite a spot of autumnal freshness. Posted today at 2:43 am
2019 International Masters Regatta overall
Andy Roy wins to take the trophy up north The only international team at the 2019 International Masters Regatta (IMR) is heading back north with the win after three days of tough, competitive racing. Andy Roy and his Canadian team grabbed the lead after the first day of the regatta Posted today at 2:15 am
2019 Rolex Middle Sea Race day 2
Rinse, repeat, keep sailing For a second year in a row the first 36 hours of the Rolex Middle Sea Race have proved extremely challenging, testing the patience and commitment of the 113 crews participating. Posted on 20 Oct
Not Dead...
Australian Sailing's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to John McConaghy A terrific Statesman of yachting had Australian Sailing's Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed upon him on Friday night. In his acceptance speech, John McConaghy noted that usually they hand these out just before you departed. Posted on 20 Oct
Joan joins Alexia for Transat Jacques Vabre 2019
“I didn't choose Joan because she is a woman” The progress of equality in sailing can often resemble the turning of an oil tanker rather than a carbon fibre racing boat, but there are some new grounds for optimism at sea. Posted on 20 Oct
47th St. Thomas International Regatta preview
Get ready to STIR up the fun! Everyone is invited! STIR 2020 invites CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association-handicap rule), racing, cruising and bareboat classes; IRC; ORC; Multihull, Beach Cats and One-Design classes with a minimum length of 20 feet. Posted on 20 Oct
Rolex Middle Sea Race - First 24 hours
The line honours leaders are now exiting the Strait of Messina on their way to Stromboli The Swan 42 out of Italy owned by Renzo Grotessi currently leads overall on IRC, followed by the French IRC52 Arobasa2 and the Cookson 50 Kuka 3. More in my update recapping the start, and following the boats through the Strait. Posted on 20 Oct
Epic Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for J/crews
STC event hosted by Larchmont Yacht Club Initially established in the early 1970's by "The Corinthians" that ran the regatta until 1999, the collegiate offshore regatta was then picked up by Storm Trysail Club. Posted on 20 Oct
North Sails Weekly Debrief
The Nations Trophy, Dragon 90th Anniversary, Sailing on repeat, Why the best choose Southern Spars Three podium sweeps, two world titles, and one European champion for North Sails clients in Palma at the Swan Mediterranean League Grand Finale. Posted on 20 Oct
Zhik ATR Aroshell SW FOOTERNaiad 660x82px_SuperyachtGul 2019 CODEZERO EVO Footer