Please select your home edition
Edition
Clipper Ventures

2019 Mini-Transat La Boulangère Day 4: Enjoyment, vigilance and competition!

by Aurélie Bargat 8 Oct 10:56 PDT 8 October 2019

The skippers competing in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère are just about done with the demanding passage across the Bay of Biscay. They're now entering the second major phase of this course, which is just as exhilarating since the coming days will involve downwind conditions.

Virtually all the competitors are opting to pass inside the Cape Finisterre TSS, aside from four sailors who are going for broke to the Far West, a move they hope will pay off. Two sailors have currently been forced off the racetrack, hopefully temporarily, but for a minimum of 12 hours according to the rules. These are Briton Joe Lacey still on a pit stop in Gijon and Jonathan Chodkiewiez in La Coruña. In the prototype category, François Jambou has taken the lead, with Axel Tréhin hot on his heels, whilst Ambrogio Beccaria is the boss of the production boats.

With the prospect of some long days spent slipping along under spinnaker on the horizon, this is what the Mini sailors were after when they signed up for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. However, they've had to earn this golden ticket and the sailing remains complicated off Cape Finisterre and along the coast of Portugal, requiring the utmost vigilance with the heavy shipping. Over the next few days, the sailors should be able to power along in a N'ly wind, which is gradually set to fill in, and a good swell (over 3 metres). They're going to need to be quick, whilst maintaining control of the boat and trying to avoid broaching.

Four sailors are attempting the option to the West of the TSS

German skipper Morten Bogacki (934), Franco-Italian Fabio Muzzolini (716) and French sailors Julien Letissier (869) and Guillaume L'Hostis (868) were the only racers opting to pass to the West of the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) at 16:00 UTC. Split between two prototypes and two production boats, they'll be after a more sustained breeze, slightly less shipping and a longer swell.

Game on among the prototypes and production boats

Leading the gang of four, Morten Bogacki (see portrait below) is enjoying a fantastic debut in this Mini-Transat La Boulangère with a boat that compatriot Jörg Riechers secured 2nd place on in the 2017 race. He'll be hoping that this bold move will enable him to close on the top French trio among the prototypes. François Jambou (865) currently has control of the fleet, with Axel Tréhin (945) and Tanguy Bouroullec (969) ready to pounce. Marie Gendron (930) remains in the Top 5 and is doubtless hoping to stave off the attacks of Raphaël Lutard (900) and Erwan Le Méné (800) - among others.

Among the production boats, Italian Ambrogio Beccaria (943) continues to set the pace. Always quick, he's renowned for keeping any strategic errors to the bear minimum. In his wake, a very compact French group fully intends to knock him off his perch. Félix de Navacelle (916) is still 2nd this evening, but Julien Letissier and Guillaume L'Hostis are making the most of their W'ly option to come back strong: they were 3rd and 4th at the 16:00 UTC position report, making nearly a knot more boat speed than the leader.

Two competitors in the pits

Late morning today (UTC), the support boat Yemanja sent the following message to Race Management: "The 958 is passing behind us at position 43 degrees53'N 8 degrees41'W at 10:39 UTC. He's heading for La Coruña to try to repair the problems with his batteries and torn genoa." Skippered by Frenchman Jonathan Chodkiewiez, one of the 22 competitors in the prototype category, he was approaching his destination at 16:00 UTC.

Meantime, Joe Lacey, safely made landfall in Gijón today at 0930 UTC, where he's repairing damaged electrics and very much hopes to get back out on the racetrack. However, with a minimum stopover time of 12hrs, he won't be able to join the fray again until 21:30 UTC.

The support boats also have a few other issues to report. Guillaume Quilfen (977) had to scale his mast to recover his spinnaker halyard, while Benoît Formet (887) had also lost the halyard of his large spinnaker at the top of his mast. It remains to be seen whether he too has successfully completed the perilous climb to retrieve it.

Accessing the Mini-Transat from... Germany

German doctor Morten Bogacki (prototype - Otg Lilienthal 934) is enjoying a cracking race in this Mini-Transat La Boulangère. Before the start, he explained what he loves about the Mini circuit and his journey to the start line:

"I love the fact that the Mini Transat is a real family. There's a big group of us and you're never alone on shore. You may be alone on the boat but the closest person to you is normally another competitor, which creates a real sense of camaraderie. Onshore, you're always helping one other and lending tools, parts, material and advice and if they can't help then they can usually point you in the direction of someone that can. There are also lots of opportunities to get together, which further strengthens the bond between us. This kind of network is really just starting in Germany. There are a few Minis now in the Baltic Sea with about 10-15 boats now racing regularly, with its own WhatsApp group and good communication between us. It's certainly growing out there but it sometimes involves completely different people than there are here in France. In France there are some adventurous types that have already been across the Atlantic. On the singlehanded scene in Germany, there are some that race competitively, and this is a small but close group, and then there are a lot that participate in events like the annual Silverrudder (a 134-mile singlehanded race around the island of Funen in Denmark) with about 350-400 singlehanded boats of varying sizes including the Mini.

Sadly there are no Mini training clusters like there are in France. There are a few boats around Kiel, about 5-7, which sometimes meet to go to another port over the weekend but it's not training as such and they're not that competitive. I think that when you want to race a Mini then you have to go to France, Lorient in particular, and train.

Mine is a special project because just this season Offshore Team Germany asked me if I wanted to do the Mini Transat. Jörg was still racing the boat so it was a really short project span and I mainly just did this year's Mini races and the qualification course, with little time for training in between other than the odd day, so what with my delivery trips and all that stuff, I didn't really join a training centre as part of a training block like the others. I'm ready to go though. I do feel a bit nervous but I think you need that in competitive sailing!"

Ranking on Tuesday 8 October at 16:00 UTC

Prototype
1- François Jambou (865 - Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 906.2 miles from the finish
2- Axel Tréhin (945 - Project Rescue Ocean) 2.6 miles behind the leader
3- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 - Cerfrance) 6 miles behind the leader

Production
1- Ambrogio Becarria (943 - Geomag) 932.6 miles from the finish
2- Félix De Navacelle (916 - Youkounkoun) 6.9 miles behind the leader
???????3- Julien Letissier (869 - Reno Style) 10.4 miles behind the leader???????

For more information visit www.minitransat.fr.

Related Articles

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
2019 Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 1 finish
Félix De Navacelle and Matthieu Vincent complete the production podium Crossing the finish line in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at 04:30 UTC, Ambrogio Beccaria took the win in the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, after eight days, 19 hours, 52 minutes and 07 seconds of racing. Posted on 14 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère Leg 1 finish
Tréhin, Jambou, Bouroullec: The prototype podium done and dusted in 26 minutes! The denouement of the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère unfolded with incredible suspense in the prototype category overnight in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Posted on 14 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 9
They're coming! The denouement of the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère is imminent in the prototype category! At 15:00 UTC this Sunday, François Jambou was just 30 miles from the finish in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Posted on 13 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 8
High pressure, high intrigue! We are about to witness the denouement of this first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. It's a tense finale with a very light breeze, that fades away to nothing at times on the outskirts of the Canaries. Posted on 12 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 7
Less than two days till the verdict! The leaders have passed the latitude of Madeira this evening. Though they can almost glimpse the finish of this first leg to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the end of the course promises to be a bit of a struggle in light airs. Posted on 11 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 6
The sailors' versatility put to the test The competitors in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère have now been at sea for over five days and they've already seen it in a vast array of colours. Posted on 10 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 5
Living life to the full… amidst the solitude! Out on the racetrack this evening, the Mini-Transat La Boulangère fleet stretches from the latitude of Lisbon to Cape Finisterre. It's been a very fast and exhilarating day, especially for the sailors further South. Posted on 9 Oct
Mini-Transat begins, Championship of Champions
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt 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. Posted on 8 Oct
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 3
Still 87 at sea, technical pit stop for Briton Joe Lacey On the third day of racing, the 87 sailors in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère are all still at sea, led this evening by Axel Tréhin (prototype) and Ambrogio Beccaria (production). Posted on 7 Oct
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterPandB 2019 Autumn Sale - FooterFestival of Sails 2020 - FOOTER