Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

Mini-Transat departs France, Championship of Champions, U.S. Match Racing Championship

by David Schmidt 8 Oct 14:00 PDT October 8, 2019
2019 Mini-Transat La Boulangère start © Christophe Breschi

The 1,350 nautical mile Mini-Transat La Boulangère race departed the city of La Rochelle, France, on Saturday, October 5, following a considerable delay due to weather, finally giving sailors the chance to aim their bows towards Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the finish of the first leg of this two-stage race. Once in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, sailors will have a chance to temporarily regroup before then punching on towards the race's ultimate finishing line in Martinique's bay of Le Marin. En route, the 87 singlehanded sailors who are contesting this race aboard Classe Mini yachts (read: 21.3' LOA) will be challenged by the course, by the conditions, and by their fellow competitors and will have to make all decisions alone and with precious little sleep.

Sadly for American offshore interests, none of the competing Classe Minis will be flying sails that read "USA", however European interests are better represented, with France leading the hunt in terms of total number of boats entered.

Competing sailors can either enter a prototype (read: custom build) or production Classe Mini, and the two classes are scored separately. The race's tracker function reveals that amongst the protos, skipper Axel Trehin, sailing aboard Project Rescue Ocean (FRA 945) was leading the chase, followed by François Jambou, sailing aboard Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune (FRA 865), and Marie Gendron, sailing aboard Cassiopée-SNCF (FRA 930). Amongst the production builds, skipper Ambrogio Becarria, racing aboard Geomag (ITL 943), was in the pole position, followed by Lauris Noslier, sailing aboard Avoriaz (FRA 893), and Pierre Le Roy, sailing aboard Arhtur Loyd (FRA 925).

For years, the Mini Transat has served as a talent pipeline for shorthanded sailors seeking to step up into the bigger Class 40 or IMOCA hardware, but the recently-announced addition of a mixed-sex, two-person offshore event in keelboats at the 2024 Olympics also places additional emphasis on single- and shorthanded events as a possible Olympic proving ground.

Clearly, France is well-positioned for glory, both in the 2019 Mini-Transat La Boulangère and likely also in the inaugural offshore event at the 2024 Olympics, and while Sail-World wishes all competitors racing in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère safe passage and plenty of speed, we sure wouldn't mind seeing a return to the days of American sailors participating in this storied event.

Meanwhile, much closer to home, US Sailing's Championship of Champions, which was contested in Sonars, was sailed last weekend on the waters off of Stamford Yacht Club, in Stamford, Connecticut. To qualify, entrants must win a national or North American class championship title, meaning that the starting line was packed with talent. But, after 13 races, the Seattle-based team of Dalton Bergan and Ben Glass (Team 5) beat out 19 other teams. They were joined on the podium by Vincent Porter and Andrew Barrett (Team 17), and Chris Raab and Geoffrey Ewenson (Team 15).

"We went upwind to check our settings over and over again without resting much between races," said Glass in an official US Sailing press release. "It seems to have paid off."

And in San Francisco, California, the St Francis Yacht Club hosted the Kilroy Realty U.S. Match Racing Championship (October 3-6). While "the Bay" is known for its wind-machine properties, Sunday proved to be a light-air affair that forced the race committee to cancel the day's racing. Fortunately, better air earlier in the series allowed the committee to successfully score the regatta. Skipper Pearson Potts and his team claimed victory for their third consecutive year, beating out seven other teams, including teams skippered by Peter Holz and Jeffrey Petersen, who finished the regatta in second and third places, respectively.

"We came in to defend; we never really saw ourselves [that way]," said Potts in an official press release. "So we tried to win rather than defend. Any time you come to St. Francis... there are so many currents and variables," he said.

And finally, in America's Cup news, both INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa have launched their first-generation AC75s. This brings the total count of launched AC75s to four, with only Stars & Stripes Team USA yet to unveil their build. It will certainly be interesting to see where these teams end up in terms of the designs of their second-generation boats. Stay tuned!

May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt

Related Articles

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
US Sailing press conference
As direct hits go, think hiking till it hurts Rolling with yet another turn in the American scheme for Olympic sailing development, Erika Reineke found herself onstage in San Francisco last Wednesday relating to lessons learned in competition in Japan earlier in the year. Posted on 19 Oct
Mini Transat, Dragons and J/80 North Americans
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt While the sailing world is aglow with images of the four newly launched AC75 class yachts, the 1,350 nautical mile Mini-Transat La Boulangère race is also unfurling. Posted on 15 Oct
Mark Pincus on the 2019 J/24 World Championship
An interview with Mark Pincus about the 2019 J/24 World Championship I checked in with Mark Pincus, regatta chair of the 2019 J/24 World Championship, via email, to learn more about this high-level One Design regatta. Posted on 15 Oct
The one before the big one
KA-5, the 12 Metre known simply as, Australia At the end of the 70s the Bond camp was starting to show what attending the America's Cup for a decade could do from a design and team angle. The boat that really stepped them up a rung was KA-5, the 12 Metre known simply as, Australia. Posted on 13 Oct
One Design or Two?
David Henshall looks at control (and abuse) of hull shapes over the years Science fiction and the Terminator movies introduced us to the notion of shape shifting, but in the real life of the sailing dinghy world, how IS a shape defined? Posted on 9 Oct
Duane Guidry on the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta
An interview with Duane Guidry about the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta I checked in with Duane Guidry, regatta chair of the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta, via email, to learn more about this now-classic Southern Coast fall challenge. Posted on 8 Oct
Going really quickly in big boats
And then there were four - and they are pretty different too And then there were four. And they are pretty different too. They are a little like two pairs, if cards are your thing, but by the time the second hulls appear, you wonder Posted on 6 Oct
Mark Towill on The Ocean Race 2021/2022
An interview with Mark Towill about 11th Hour Racing's campaign for The Ocean Race 2021/2022 I checked in with Mark Towill, of 11th Hour Racing, via email, for his thoughts on the 2021/2022 edition of The Ocean Race. Posted on 2 Oct
AC-75s poised to rewrite America's Cup history
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt If you're anything like me, you've now 'wisely invested' significant parcels of time (obsessively) watching videos of the brand-new AC-75 class yachts, which will be used to contest the 36th America's Cup (March 6-21, 2021), out flying above the water. Posted on 1 Oct
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterNaiad 660x82px_SuperyachtVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 3