No announcement yet.

2017 Mini Transat

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Photoboy
    Packing It Up In Martinque

    With all the celebrations winding down, the focus now shifts to packing up the fleet of minis
    and getting them back to Europe.

    It remains only the award ceremony of the second stage, next Tuesday, and the 2017 Mini-Transat La Boulangère will have lived. In rugby, we celebrate the third half, on the Mini-Transat we participate in the Surf, a last opportunity for all riders to enjoy the moments of life together. Because the Mini-Transat La Boulangère may be a solitary exercise, it is also a collective adventure.

    Initially, the change of course requested by the race management to avoid a risk of tropical storm north of the race area had not excited the riders. Many feared the number of extra miles and the most outspoken loners argued that such a course would inevitably create a race of "wooden horses" past the archipelago. In the end, many competitors were seduced by the passage between the islands, some even imagining to make it a future destination of travel. The Atlantic crossing, however, gave pride of place to road options even though lateral deviations were much lower than usual. There were shots to play and some were able to enjoy such Benoît Sineau (Cachaça II) in series or Camille Taque (Foxsea Lady) or Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal) who were able to be in the right timing compared to the scales of wind, in prototype.

    So the detour to Cape Verde: false or real good idea? Answer in 2019.

    Two winners, two philosophies
    The context was different and the way to lead a boat too. In prototype, Ian Lipinski ( quickly found himself without real competition, his direct opponents disabled by breaking one after the other. After the abandonment of Erwan Le Mené (torn off the transom), Arthur Léopold-Léger's stop at Mindelo (breaking of saffron) and the dismasting of Romain Bolzinger, Ian had only to manage his march ahead towards Martinique. It was not always easy for the leader forced to sail sometimes cutter nature by bridling his winning temperament.

    In series, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) had a revenge to take on the first stage. Despite the shy start of Valentin Gautier (Shaman - Banque du Léman), the problems of Rémi Aubrun's driver (Alternative Sailing - Constructions du Belon), there were still many candidates for victory. It is besides Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) which embouquait in head the channel between Santo Antao and Sao Vicente. But soon the youngest member of the fleet engaged the overdrive, sometimes sailing beyond the limits of the reasonable and digging an irremediable gap on his opponents who could not keep up. Tanguy Bouroullec lost his chances of podium in a too strong southern option which would make him lose the control of the head of race. Tom Dolan ( was scared by failing to sancir under spinnaker and logically raised his foot. Clarisse Crémer (TBS) was trying to resist, but Erwan Le Draoulec was a cut above.

    All winners
    But the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, it is also the course of all these anonymous, those who will not make their honey of the race offshore, and which nevertheless will have marked their footprint, in the same way as the others, this edition 2017. It is Stéphane Gresset (Uniflow Marine) who, released very disappointed of his first stage chose to live fully the adventure of the crossing of the Atlantic without being obnoxious on the classification and which, thanks to this philosophy of life, has found the pleasure of sailing. It was the VHF madmen who flooded the airwaves with their need to talk, to tell their lives such as Vianney Desvignes (French Stade Effidyn), Luc Giros (Law Firm Rivault Nineuil - Enedis) or even Andrea Pendibene (Pegaso Marina Militare) . It is the calm Olympian Elodie Pédron (Manu Poki and Biotechs) who, galley galley, has always kept his cool, impressing his competitors and comrades crossing. It is still Guillaume Combescure (Mini Oiri) or Charlotte Méry (Optigestion Women of Brittany) who have found the necessary resources to finish despite the absence of a pilot for more than a week sometimes.

    It is Marcel Schwager ( who can not find the words to express his happiness to have been of this adventure. Marcel will be revealed by his placid and offbeat humor during the evenings spent on the pontoon to welcome newcomers. Finally, Slobodan Velikic (Sisa 2) dumplings, victim of a way-point mistake to land on the Cape Verde Islands or Martin Callebaut (Extasea) forced to finish upwind to cross the finish line. . Errors of venial navigation taken with the smile that should be when we managed to cross the big duck pond. For all those who have arrived on the other side, the dream for which they have put in brackets often two years or more of their life ends. Gradually, the community of the Mini will dissolve in the departures to the metropolis, will remade provisionally on the occasion of the awards ceremony for a final baroud d'honneur. But whatever happens now, they answered the call: "Pass your Mini first. "

    Ah! And what is this? Dorel Nacou now just 40 nm to the finish!


    Leave a comment:

  • IOR Geezer
    Wonder if they will leave some rum at the dock for him?

    Leave a comment:

  • El Capitan
    Nice story.
    Thought he was just really slow.
    Now it seems tenacity is to blame!

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Last to The Party

    Mini Transat competitor Dorel Nacou has had a trying debut in the Mini Transat in his Proto Vamonos.
    Dismasting in Leg One on November 1st, Dorel elected to repair the mast in Boujdour, just south of Morroco.

    He finally departed on November 7th, after the majority of boats had already departed the Canaries on leg 2.

    Dorel spotted the entire fleet a huge lead on leg two, not departing the Canaries until November 13, after a
    quick pit stop and reprovisioning, by then, Ian Lipinski had already finished and Pilar Pasanau, the furthest back in the
    fleet only had 900 nm to go

    Now, with the latest finisher, having tied up on the 21st, Dorel battles on, just under 600 nm from the finish...
    You have to admire the tenacity, but you also have to wonder if there will be anyone left in the village to greet
    him when he finally arrives!


    Dorel spent his childhood in his Romanian village of Ostra in the Carpathians, where he had to take care of farm animals, and protect them on the edge of the forest from the attacks of wolves and bears.

    He changed the course of his life in 1992 when, at age 20, Dorel hid on a train and arrived in France as a stowaway!

    Supported by the Olivier Bonnasse family, Dorel trained as a Charpentier de Marine at the Lycée Professionnel Poinso-Chapuis in Marseille and, even before his graduation, he was hired following an internship in the repair and maintenance company. shipbuilding company H2O created by Sébastien Grall, renamed IxBlue H2X following its transfer to La Ciotat in 2002.
    He develops his knowledge, and acquires solid expertise in all aspects of shipbuilding, in the use of conventional and composite materials, and in the management of work teams.

    In parallel, he is passionate about sailing and participates in the most beautiful regattas of the Mediterranean especially with Jean Paul Mouren, specialist of the Race in Solitaire of Figaro or double Transat and with Dominique Tian, ​​owner of the famous Glen Ellen on the championships IRC.

    Dorel begins to dream of participating in the Mini Transat when he sees the launching of a beautiful Mini6.50 prototype "Vamonos", built on the plans of the architect Olivier Bouvet at the Composite Works site in La Ciotat. 2002.

    After confronting his dream with reality by participating in the big Mini 6.50 race in Marseille - Malta - Alexandria double in 2007, Dorel bought Vamonos in 2013! He gradually improves his proto by taking inspiration from the best technological innovations, until endowing it with rudders in the form of fins of humpback whales!

    Without heritage, without the support that naturally benefits the people of the seraglio, Dorel advances with humility, perseverance, with the assurance of the one who killed the bear when he was 17 years old, all up there in the Carpathians!

    From the Carpathians to the Transat: Dorel has wings!

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    All In The Same Boat

    All in the Same Boat

    It’s a tradition among the finishers in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. Having barely set foot on the pontoon, the newcomer is treated to an impromptu dunking in the waters of the cove of Le Marin, helped along by their predecessors of course. And when the winner turns up, there are always a few former Mini sailors to carry on the tradition.

    Ultimately, this forced dunking is perhaps a symbol of a class in which there aren’t really any untouchable stars where, whatever your ranking, everyone is on a par with everyone else. As such, perhaps it’s no coincidence that it attracts so many overseas sailors, despite the fact that singlehanded racing struggles to break out of metropolitan France, that so many women take up the gauntlet of this adventure and that youngsters make a successful start to their careers here.

    The privilege of youth

    You’re not responsible when you’re seventeen years old. You’re barely any more responsible when you’re bordering on twenty are you? That said, the two youngsters of the race, Keni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) in the prototype category and Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) in the production boat category, were able to concoct the perfect winning cocktail from a mixture of recklessness and prudence. The former skipper, who made Martinique in fifth place as top rookie, demonstrated amazing maturity. The second pushed his machine like never before, pushing his limits and that of his boat to utterly dominate the fleet with a lead of around a hundred miles over his pursuers; a whole gulf on the one-design circuit.

    Make way for the female contingent

    “To my mind, there is no difference between women and men, there are only sailors…” This remark from Denis Hugues, Race Director of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, perfectly sums up the spirit that reigns within the Mini Class. Here, the musclemen aren’t necessarily established and men and women compete on an equal footing. Just take a look at the ranking for evidence of this, with a magnificent second place in the overall ranking going to Clarisse Crémer (TBS) and a stellar performance posted by Camille Taque (Foxsea Lady), who is set to finish the leg in seventh position among the prototypes, and key players among the older generation production boats like the Pogo 2, such as Estelle Greck (Starfish) and Nolwen Cazé (Fée Rêvée).

    An international contingent with no limits

    Finally, how can one fail to notice the intrinsically international flavour of the Mini-Transat la Boulangère? In the prototype category, behind Ian Lipinski, we find a veritable melting pot of different cultures; one German, one Swiss, and one Italian sailor. And they’re not here just to make up the numbers; they’re posting impressive results that testify to the growing infatuation for the Mini-Transat in other European countries and sometimes well beyond the borders of the Old World. The production boats aren’t about to be outdone either, since Irish sailor Tom Dolan is likely to make the top 5 in the overall ranking.

    Attracting international and female sailors, open to young and old alike, to amateurs and neo-professionals… It is no surprise that the race has always maintained its popularity. With the celebration of every one of the finishers, the Mini-Transat La Boulangère will continue to come alive to the rhythm of the umpteenth dunking… One thing for sure is the fact that the Mini isn’t about to sink any time soon.

    Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry)

    “I brought a book with me, but I never thought to read it. I helmed, I ate, I slept, I answered the calls of nature, a real animal life. It was a nightmare. The boat was soaked the whole time. I never dumped any sails, I just went up forward to reinforce my bowsprit. To get to sleep when I was under autopilot, I put on my headphones with some audio books and I listened again to the whole of Harry Potter. It was the only way of preventing stress whilst the boat was powering along at 18 knots, sometimes under autopilot, but I never eased off the pace. It was only in the last two days where I dropped the large spinnaker in the squalls. I said to myself that it would be too silly to break everything so close to the goal. Prior to that though I really attacked hard. I knew I was risking a dismasting, but my line of thinking was that I was only twenty years old and that I’d have the opportunity to do another Mini-Transat. I didn’t make the most of it, I didn’t enjoy it. I’d like to the cross the Atlantic again, but gently so as to make the most of it. The key moment of the race was just after the Cape Verde passage. Together with Clarisse, we successfully negotiated the wind shadow created by the islands and at dusk I attacked like someone possessed, particularly given the fact that I knew Tanguy Bouroullec hadn’t come off so well in that section. That night, I had a peak speed of 23 knots. It’s incredible what you can put these boats through. From then on, tucked away in my little corner, I no longer called anyone up and focused solely on my race. I got the result I was after but I was under so much tension that I didn’t really get any pleasure from it.”

    Clarisse Crémer (TBS)

    “The first and second leg were worlds apart! I’m so happy I can’t take it all in yet. It’s a strange feeling to be here: you’re happy to be at sea and yet at the same time you’re keen to have the physical presence of other people. And when you get to the finish, it’s almost the reverse, you’re so happy to see everyone, but you know that it’s the end of a great adventure. I no longer knew where I was at. I must have cried for three hours as I approached the line. In fact, the minute I was racing, I stopped thinking about the communication around my project, about the responsibility I had on my shoulders, otherwise I’d have been done for. The plan was to cross the Atlantic. I threw myself into this project to learn and I’ve been lucky to have the two Tanguys among my entourage (Tanguy Le Turquais, her partner and Tanguy Leglatin her coach). I owe a lot to Tanguy Leglatin: he took me on even though I was rubbish at the start. He saw that I was motivated and that I applied myself and that was enough for him and look where I am now. The worry is that when you work with him, you feel like you can no longer see what you’re doing wrong as he is so demanding. However, that too is what makes you progress.

    What am I going to do? I hoped the race would come up with the answer, but that’s not how it’s played out. It’s a catastrophe, I don’t know what I want to do. It was a great project, which has taken two years of my life, which is quite something. I’ll have to find something else now. Offshore racing is very special after all: you have a team, which rallies around one person and all these people give you so much energy only for you to then set off on your own. So, you need to put together a project for the right reasons and you have to find the right reasons.”

    Benoît Sineau (Cachaca II)

    “If someone had said to me that I’d end up on the podium, I’d have signed up straightaway. There were a lot of people in the production boat category and with my job I wasn’t able to really train. After that, you’re always keen to post a solid performance and as I’d already done a season in the Mini a few years ago, I felt as if it would be like riding a bike, you don’t really forget how to do it. Due to work commitments I set sail with very few hours of sailing under my belt and as such I felt like I was making progress every day. The first leg certainly gave me confidence and enabled me to sail the way I know how. I’d been waiting for this Mini-Transat La Boulangère for so long that I put my professional activity completely to one side to do the preparation for the race. It’s the only way of being able to do something and enjoy it. When you keep both parties sweet, you achieve nothing.”

    Time of arrivals of the second leg

    16 11



    1- Ian Lipinski ( : 14/11 : 13H30'34'' UTC

    2- Joerg Richers (LILCENTHAL) : 15/11 : 1H12'46" UTC

    3- Simon Koster (EIGHT CUBE) : 15/11 : 12H4'10'' UTC

    4- Andrea Fornaro (Sidéral) : 15/11 : 17H 58' 20'' UTC

    5- Kéni Piperol (Région guadeloupe) : 16/11 : 1H 19' 15'' UTC

    6- Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema) : 16/11 : 11H23'20'' UTC

    7- Camille Taque ( Foxsea Laddys) : 16/11 : 18H21'15'' UTC

    8-Aurélie Poisson ( : 16/11 : 20H44'15'' UTC

    9- Arthur Léopold Léger ( Antall -XPO) : 17/11 : 1h18'40'' UTC

    Séries :

    1- Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) : 16/11 : 2H50'15'' UTC

    2- Clarisse Cremer (TBS): 16/11 : 13H15'2'' UTC

    3- Benoit Sineau (Cachaça II) : 16/11 : 14H19'2'' UTC

    4- Tanguy Bouroullec (KERHIS-CERFRANCE) : 16/11 : 14H36'17'' UTC

    5- Tom Dolan ( : 14H57'10'' UTC

    6- Pierre Chedeville (Blue Orange- Fair Retall) : 16/11 : 19H43'30'' UTC

    7- Valentin Gautier (Shaman - Banque du Leman) : 16/11 : 21H55

    8-Germain Kerlévéo (Astrolab expeditions - : 16/11 : 23H58'44''

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Top 4 Protos In, No Come The Series

    Make way for the young...

    - Le Marin awaits the arrival of the two youngest skippers in the race, Keni Piperol and Erwan Le Draoulec

    - A hotly disputed podium in the production boat category

    - The tricks to sailing in convoy

    Amidst all the fanfare of the finish, the race continues... Indeed, there have been a succession of arrivals in the port of Le Marin, but for the overwhelming majority of the racers, there are still some days to go before they reach their holy grail and the celebratory rum punch of the finish, synonymous with being part of the clan of sailors who've done the Mini.

    In a few hours' time, the Mini-Transat La Boulangère pontoon will have accommodated five prototypes and the first of the production boats. Following on from Ian Lipinski (, Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal), Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) and Andrea Fornaro (Sideral), Martinique is now preparing to welcome Keni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe), the darling of the Antilles arc and, almost at the same time, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry), who is about to become the youngest ever winner of the Mini-Transat.

    Production boats: all to play for in the race for the podium
    There are currently four boats within a 20-mile radius astern of Erwan Le Draoulec. Though Clarisse Crémer (TBS) is managing to hold onto her second place, hot on her heels is Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) who, should he fail in his bid to secure second place in the overall ranking, may still make the podium if he manages to make up his 2h15mn deficit in relation to Benoît Sineau (Cachaça II). Suffice to say that the last few miles are likely to be extremely tense and the slightest error may well prove very costly. Clarisse Crémer, who appeared to be slightly below par for some days, now seems to have the bit between the teeth again since the fleet bunched up again. That said, in an easing breeze which is gradually veering as it shifts a little further south, the slightest separation may well increase in scale to the detriment or the delight of the others. In principle, this latest wind shift looks set to favour those furthest north, who might well benefit from a better angle to make the channel between Martinique and Sainte-Lucie.

    Arrangements among friends
    As the chasing pack homes in on the finish, further back in the fleet there are the rumblings of the solidarity observed since the Cape Verde islands. Several competitors have opted to hunt down performance as a pack, agreeing on which strategy to adopt and following through on it. Some have been forced to find a dodge when technology lets them down. In this way, Melchior Treillet (Boulègue) and Julien Mizrachi (UNAPEI) have got into the habit of consulting each other on which route to follow, because sailing in convoy is far more reassuring and sociable. Unfortunately, the microphone on Julien's microphone has given up the ghost. Too bad. Melchior will simply put forward some strategic options and Julien will reply yes or no by hitting his VHF button once or twice respectively. Did you understand me R2D2?


    Quotes from the boats at the finish:
    Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal): "It's natural that Ian's won. He put together the perfect project: he bought the best boat, he trained to ensure he was ready and he's talented; you can't do better than that. You could almost write a manual: how I won the Mini-Transat. Mine is an anarchistic, hippy project. I've come along with a new boat, I didn't train and I've finished second. This hasn't been an easy transatlantic race: in upwards of twenty knots of breeze, I had to take the helm as the autopilot couldn't keep up. I didn't get enough sleep; around two to three hours a night. The boat wasn't originally designed for this configuration as she was supposed to have foils. In the end, I told myself that in the seas you encounter in the Mini-Transat, foils are not a solution. The Mini's too small to sail with foils.

    My southerly option really was a considered choice. Each time I climbed up to the north it was stormy, further south I encountered more stable conditions. What's clear is that the new designs with their scow bows perform far better. However, I still believe that, given the way I put this project together, finishing second is almost a miracle. It's worth a Vendée Globe or a Route du Rhum."

    Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa): "This third place suits me to a T. It's pretty much in line with the goal I set myself. After the first leg, the game remained wide open, even though there were a few people in front. As per usual, the Atlantic crossing reshuffled the cards. Already, there was Ian (Lipinski), who could only battle against himself. Our boats are too similar and I have a slight speed deficit in relation to him. I would have needed a different boat like the 800 (Erwan Le Mené's boat) to stand a chance of worrying him.
    With regards the foils, we're really going to have to rack our brains to analyse the pros and cons in terms of the weight estimate and the use you get out of foils. We know it will be impossible to have a boat that flies all the time, so the aim would be to have foils that aren't a disadvantage when they're not in use.
    As for scow bows, we should have been doing this for a long time. It's impressive to see how powerful these boats are. There's no longer any doubt about whether they work or not. For bigger boats, the only issue relates to coming up with fairly solid structures. Unfortunately, the big boat classes have their hands tied in this area.
    Fun? This is the most fun edition I've had. In 2013, it was very complicated with a race comprising a single leg. In 2015, it was a race against time. In this instance, I was ready and we had ideal conditions to boot. Some days it was so pleasant that I said to myself that the race could last another 2,000 miles.

    Position report on 15 November at 15:00 UTC

    2 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) finished on 15 November at 01h 12mn 46s (UTC)
    3 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) finished on 15 November at 12h 04mn 10s (UTC)
    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) finished on 15 November at 13h 58mn 20s (UTC)
    5 Keni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 64.9 miles
    6 Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema 3) 149.3 miles

    Production boats
    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 72.5 miles from the finish
    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 94 miles behind the leader
    3 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) 94.4 miles behind the leader
    4 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 107.2 miles behind the leader
    5 Thomas Dolan ( 114.5 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Ian Lipinski, absolute mastery

    If you needed proof about how well you can control and understand your boat, you just had to sit back and watch the last miles of Ian Lipinski’s race this morning between the islet of Cabri and the finish line of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. After a final gybe, the skipper of hurtled along under large spinnaker before opting for a last change of spinnaker just a few miles from the line. Mastery, wisdom and a hint of panache proved to be the winning cocktail for the sailor from Lorient, Brittany.

    We’ve seen him more stressed. On this occasion, Ian Lipinski had the time to savour a victory, which he’s patiently built bit by bit over the past four years or so. Arriving in the Mini circuit in 2012, he showed just what he was made of by securing a brilliant third place in the Les Sables – Les Açores – Les Sables race. The Mini-Transat 2013, which resulted in a capsize offshore of Portugal, didn’t put paid to his determination. Indeed, the following year, he put together a winning project with the help of the Ofcet yard. With every race, he transformed his production boat into a formidable winning machine and rounded off his year by snatching victory in the first leg of the Mini-Transat 2015. During the second leg, Julien Pulvé secured the top spot, causing Lipinski to break into a cold sweat before ultimately bringing home the win in the overall ranking.

    Bringing the ‘A’ game

    From that moment on, to remain in the Mini circuit called for a winning project. Thanks to his partner and the acquisition of the Maximum designed by David Raison and built by Davy Beaudart, Ian Lipinski knew that he was placing the bar very high. Boasting the best boat on paper, he had to produce a performance that lived up to expectations. For two years, none of the races on the Mini circuit escaped his clutches. From 2016, despite very scanty competition in the prototype, Ian participated in every one of the events, be they double-handed or solo, in a bid to fine-tune his machine and learn to control her. To do this, Ian did not hesitate to put together an entourage comprising the top specialists of the sport, such as Thierry Fagnent, the director of the AMCO yard, a master creator of composites, where his prototype underwent a general overhaul with a particular focus on her appendages, as well as Tanguy Leglatin, the coach from the Lorient Grand Large training centre, who has a knack for transcending the potential of his young protégés. He arrived at the start of this Mini-Transat La Boulangère in tip-top condition. Designated the race favourite, he held rank to perfection.

    My Mini-Transat La Boulangère by Ian Lipinski (verbatim)

    Under pressure?

    “Paradoxically, I didn’t feel under pressure from the competition during this second leg. Fairly rapidly, my direct rivals Erwan (Le Mené) and Arthur (Léopold-Léger) ended up crashing out of the race for final victory. Once I was past the Cape Verde islands, I just had to keep an eye on my gear and manage my race. Now, on a prototype, the stress is constant. There is always the fear of breakage. After Cape Verde, there were very crossed seas and you had to be very careful.”

    A racing incident

    “Whilst we were sailing along the coast of Morocco, I had an incident, which could have been a lot more costly. In the middle of the night, I spotted a fishing boat around twenty metres or so away. I decided to get well clear of it, but it wasn’t enough as I ended up getting caught in a net, which brought the boat to a complete standstill. I dumped my spinnaker and in so doing I ripped it, at which point it felt like the whole story of my race was unravelling. It was the spinnaker that Davy had torn before he retired on this same boat. I got out of it somewhat miraculously by letting the boat slip along the length of the net to its far end. Aside from the spinnaker, I broke nothing else in this story. I got away with it, aside from three hours of sewing.”

    The damage suffered by his adversaries

    “From the moment my rivals ended up out of the race, my primary focus was on managing my race. From time to time, the little devil on my shoulder pushed me into speeding, whilst the little angel on my other shoulder called on me to play for time. The situation was a little frustrating for a competitor, all the more so given that I never felt under threat from my other adversaries. The only one who was coming dangerously back into the fray was Romain Bolzinger, but at the pace he was maintaining, I was convinced he’d end up dismasting or suffering a major technical glitch, which is how things played out ultimately.”

    The psychological aspect of an Atlantic crossing

    “We’re on little boats and the minute the sea picks up, it slams a lot. And when you’re tackling the Atlantic crossing, you tell yourself that if you suffer breakage, there’s an ocean to traverse. You can’t not think about it. For me, making landfall in Le Marin is very special. It’s here that I began sailing at fifteen years of age on an old tuna boat, with the person who has become the owner of my prototype. Winning the race here is a great way to come full circle.”

    Position report on 14 November at 15:00 UTC


    1 Ian Lipinski ( finished in 13d 00h 22mn 34s

    2 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 79.0 miles from the finish

    3 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 91.6 miles behind the second placed boat

    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 113.1 miles behind the second placed boat

    5 Keni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 172.5 miles behind the second placed boat


    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 282 miles from the finish

    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 83 miles behind the leader

    3 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) 84.3 miles behind the leader

    4 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 93.1 miles behind the leader

    5 Tom Dolan ( 105 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Prince of Whales
    Well done!

    1st in production boat then in a proto!

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy

    Flash Info: Ian Lipinski Team (Griffon. (Fr) crossed the finish line of the 2nd stage of the minitransat la boulangère at 14 h30' 34 '' (French time). His race time on this 2nd step is 13 days 22 minutes 34 seconds. Bravo ��

    " For two years, everything is going well... it's a great victory, but the conditions have smiled upon me. After learning the damage that affected Erwan and Arthur Léopold-Léger, I knew I had to manage my race first. It was sometimes frustrating: there was in me, the little demon that pushed me to light and the little angel who told me to preserve the material. Compared to 2015, the race has nothing to do with it. In 2015, I was under tension as a result of the competition, but the stress related to equipment is still present on a prototype.
    Getting here is an amazing pleasure. This is where I pulled my first edge on an old tuna boat with François, my sponsor today. In a way, it's a nice way to wrap the loop. "

    Leave a comment:

  • Tonapah Low
    That Lipinski kid is going to find himself sailing one of those Ultim's if he isn't careful!

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Lipinski On Threshold To Double Victory

    The path to glory

    - ETA for Ian Lipinski, Tuesday 14 at around 15:00 UTC

    - Vedran Kabalin's boat has dismasted

    - 500 miles of lateral separation between the competitors' most extreme options

    Less than twenty-four hours from the finish, Ian Lipinski looks to be heading towards an historic double. Thus far, never before has a racer won in the production boat category and then repeated his win in the prototype category two years later. Following on from Sébastien Magnen on his prototype Karen Liquid in 1997 and 1999, he is set to become the second double champion of the Mini-Transat.

    They've got the scent of home in their nostrils now. On two converging routes, Ian Lipinski ( and Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal) are rapidly making headway towards Martinique, with the pair of them set to make landfall over the course of day on Tuesday. On their heels will be Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) and Andrea Fornaro (Sideral)... In a way, this foursome are a good reflection of the diversity of the applicants that sign up for Mini-Transat La Boulangère: one champion who has been able to build his victory by progressively moving up the hierarchy of the Mini circuit, one German, one Swiss and one Italian sailor, testify to the diversity of the profiles and the influence of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère across Europe... Behind these four, Keni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) is the harbinger of a revival in the offshore racing network in the Caribbean islands and could well inspire future sailors.

    Clarisse and the boys
    In the production boat category, the youngest sailor in the race, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) is continuing to keep the opposition at bay with the maturity of someone who has knocked about a bit. We can but imagine what must be going through the mind of this young man, driven by a crazy desire for victory, but also highly emotional and sensitive. Not everyone is gifted with winning the Mini-Transat at 21 years of age. Astern of him, Clarisse Crémer (TBS) is constantly discovering new pretenders to the podium. Yesterday, it was Tom Dolan ( leading the attack for the runner-up spot. This evening, the Irish sailor has been relegated to fourth place by Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance), who has seemingly come racing back into contention from the back of beyond thanks to his southerly option, and by Benoît Sineau (Cachaça II).

    Among the Pogo 2s, Frédéric Moreau (Petit Auguste et Cie) is leading the way again ahead of Mathieu Lambert (Presta Service bat) and Estelle Greck (Starfish). This trio are grouped within ten miles of one another and anything is still possible. Shadowing them are Victor Barriquand (Charente Maritime) and Guillaume Combescure (Mini Oiri). Quite the motivation for the top trio, who would surely be proud to get the better of the latest generation boats. This close-contact racing clearly isn't a very familiar concept for Gwendal Pibot (Rossinante), isolated to the north, and Loïc Fagherazzi (Trebunnec), positioned to the south of the chasing pack. Between the two, the lateral separation is vast; 500 miles, or twice the length of the Bay of Biscay crossing.

    Sores galore
    For other sailors in the fleet, such tactical considerations are a world away. Charlotte Méry (Optigestion – Femmes de Bretagne) has clearly had a few technical issues, which have hampered her progress. She's back on track again now making a normal speed; an indication that the young sailor has remedied the problem. She is not alone. Similar comebacks are evident from observing the progress of Elodie Pédron (Manu Poki et les Biotechs) polled at over eight knots, Romain Bolzinger ( powering along at over five knots under jury rig, and Patrick Jaffré (Projet Pioneer) who seems to have found just the right balance between speed and wisdom. However, things are rather more complicated for Vedran Kabalin (Eloa Island of Osinj), who has managed to contact Race Management to alert them to the fact that his boat has dismasted. Meantime, Dorel Nacou (Ix Blue Vamonos) is just approaching the Cape Verde Islands. An ocean apart, no big deal...


    Position report on 13 November at 15:00 UTC
    1 Ian Lipinski ( 217.4 miles from the finish
    2 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 80.0 miles behind the leader
    3 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 155.3 miles behind the leader
    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 182.6 miles behind the leader
    5 Kéni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 251.7 miles behind the leader

    Production boats
    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 464.5 miles from the finish
    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 99.5 miles behind the leader
    3 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis-Cerfrance) 104.9 miles behind the leader
    4 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 109.3 miles behind the leader
    5 Thomas Dolan ( 115.2 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Storm's a Brewing in Mini Transat

    A Storm's a Brewing

    - The front runners within a thousand miles of the finish

    - The last third of the race determining

    - Unsettled conditions for the finish

    You could get a sense of it from looking at the competitors' trajectories. The trade wind, never totally steady at the best of times, has been ruffled by stormy squalls, which are causing significant variations in the wind, both in terms of strength and direction. Together with the fatigue, any errors in judgement or manœuvring can prove costly.

    "Tell me about the rain not the fair weather, the fair weather disgusts me..." sang French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, but it's not certain that these particular lyrics would win much acclaim in this last third of the Atlantic. Indeed, the stormy squalls, which are beginning to set the tone, in addition to a need for increased vigilance, are likely to complete shake up the trade wind system, until it is virtually on its knees as the fleet approach the Antilles arc. For now, the feedback from the support boats is indicating white squalls, still without any really striking cloud formations, but which may cause the wind to pick up violently to nearly thirty knots, whilst turning through 30 to 40 degrees. Naturally, in such conditions, there are sure to be a number of broaches as indicated by a significant lull in boat speed as the skipper takes the time to digest recent events. Is this what has happened to Elodie Pédron? The skipper of Manu Poki et les Biotechs has just spent several hours with the boat at a virtual standstill, clearly the victim of some sort of technical issue, which was sufficiently crippling that her friend Marta Güemes (Artelia) diverted course in a bid to sail alongside her. Since that time, Elodie has begun making headway again, albeit at a reduced speed. A support boat should be heading over to her tonight to find out more, but it's not an impossible scenario that her mission to jury rig the rudders before the Cape Verde islands has given up the ghost.


    Anyone's game once more?
    At the head of the race, Ian Lipinski ( will be able to begin to feel like he has the race in the bag now. Indeed, some 150 miles ahead of his rivals and less than 1,000 miles from the finish, he's starting to boast a comfortable lead. However, it's a close race for second place between Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) and Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal), who are just a tenth of a mile apart in terms of the distance to the goal. Will Jörg be paid for his audacity after choosing a radical southerly option? Response in twenty-four hours' time.
    Another sailor with plenty of pluck is Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance), who has amassed nearly 300 miles of lateral separation to the south of the chasing pack and over 400 in relation to the inseparable top two, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) and Clarisse Crémer (TBS). In fact, it's the first time since negotiating the Cape Verde islands that the routes of the two leaders have diverged. Consequently, anything is possible. In 2015, Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulvé sailed in convoy up to five days from the finish at which point the sailor from La Rochelle managed to slip away. Ultimately, Julien won the leg by a comfortable margin, causing the announced victory of Ian Lipinski to wobble. Given the conditions that the solo sailors are set to encounter in the coming days, the craziest scenarios could become a reality. Among the production boats, there is so little separating them that nobody would be so bold as to call a winner. It's an important psychological boost to see a three-figure distance being displayed on the GPS. However, it would perhaps be better to cast such thoughts to one side for now, especially given the weather conditions expected. Thinking about it, Brassens has some funny ideas at times...

    Position report on 10 November at 15:00 UTC

    1 Ian Lipinski ( 794.4 miles from the finish
    2 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 149.7 miles behind the leader
    3 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 149.8 miles behind the leader
    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 223.6 miles behind the leader
    5 Kéni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 257.7 miles behind the leader

    Production boats
    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 1,035.3 miles from the finish
    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 51.3 miles behind the leader
    3 Tom Dolan ( 94.1 miles behind the leader
    4 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 107.5 miles behind the leader
    5 Pierre Chedeville (Blue Orange Games – Fair Retail) 131.5 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy

    The better it is, the less it changes… In fact, the rankings are looking increasingly similar with every passing day. Even the more or less radical options are failing to shake up the hierarchy of the skippers’ respective positions. However, the situation may well evolve from Sunday onwards.

    The skippers are continuing to tick off the miles, day in day out. Indeed, each day of a Mini sailor’s life is relatively active, amidst fitful sleeping, manoeuvres, navigation and maintenance of the boat.

    The typical day begins at daybreak, the perfect time to get back to reality, especially given how testing it is to be on watch late into the night and through into the early hours. As such it’s best to get a few minutes shut-eye whenever conditions allow. However, the taste of a breakfast, brief as it may be, alone on the ocean as the sun peeps over the horizon in the east, is simply beyond compare. It’s time for the day’s first VHF audio session with the support boats, when they are in range that is. Next up, it’s over to fine-tuning the trim and even putting in some time at the helm, just to get an idea about whether it’s the skipper or the autopilot that performs best. We mustn’t forget a spot of stacking too, as the wind is never totally stable in terms of strength or direction.

    Then it’s the hallowed time of the weather report issued by Race Management. This involves pinpointing the centres of any active pressure and noting the wind forecasts before switching over to the rankings. Each competitor is allowed to view the distance in relation to the goal for themselves and everyone else. What begins then is the daily conundrum: trying, in light of the weather forecasts and daily progress of any direct rivals, to position them all on the race zone. The craziest assumptions may well be contradicted at the finish when the time comes to look at the cartography archives around a rum punch.

    There are always a thousand and one things to do on a Mini of course. Checking your gear and looking for any signs of wear or chafing on the sails, doing a spot of sewing or a bit of whipping to effect repairs or make sure things last, casting an eye over the helming system and the rig… Meantime, certain sailors treat themselves to a musical interlude, immerse themselves in a book or film their adventure. These asides are obviously a lot less evident aboard the leading boats, given that daggers tend to be drawn in the battle for the top spot!


    Unsettled weather, broken routines

    In the current season, it’s not uncommon for fronts to upset the usual wind patterns. In this way, on Sunday 12 November, an easterly wave of breeze is likely to stir things up considerably amidst the trade winds and this may well extend as far as 19°N. As such, the whole fleet is likely to have to contend with weak winds, the direction of which will be more or less random. For the favourites, this means that it may well be game on once more in the hunt for the crown. Ian Lipinski ( now boasts a sufficient lead not to be overly alarmed by these shenanigans. However, in the production boat category, the situation could well be turned on its head and Erwan Draoulec (Emile Henry) and Clarisse Crémer (TBS) could see their rivals biting at their heels once more. After adopting a radical southerly option, the likes of Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) may well be among them.

    Others don’t have to deal with such problems. Patrick Jaffré (Projet Pioneer), like Antoine Cornic (Destination île de Ré), can no longer get the best of their boat’s potential. The former is having to take time out to repair his rudders and Antoine is suffering from limited power aboard, which is forcing him to reduce his sail area in order to get some sleep. The only consolation for them will be knowing that they are not alone in their misfortune. Indeed, after dismasting yesterday, Romain Bolzinger ( stands little chance of exceeding an average speed of four and a half knots with his jury rig as he continues determinedly to make for Martinique. At the current pace this will likely take around thirteen days at sea.

    Position report on 9 November at 15:00 UTC


    1 Ian Lipinski ( 1,022.3 miles from the finish

    2 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 122.3 miles behind the leader

    3 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 145.6 miles behind the leader

    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 205.3 miles behind the leader

    5 Kéni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 228.9 miles behind the leader

    Production boats

    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 1,245.4 miles from the finish

    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 40.2 miles behind the leader

    3 Tom Dolan ( 81.0 miles behind the leader

    4 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 84.1 miles behind the leader

    5 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis – Cerfrance) 94.4 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    Committing To Martinique

    A touch of the blues in the big blue

    - Virtually the entire fleet in the Atlantic

    - Thibault Michelin and Pavel Roubal still in Mindelo

    - First strategic divergences


    These are what the regulars call the crucial days, those where you realise that from here on in there's no way back and that there are no options until you reach Martinique. Little by little, as they get further apart, the VHF conversations become few and far between and each solo sailor enters another world and another time.

    Focusing on getting the boat making headway, not letting yourself be overwhelmed with emotion, looking ahead rather than behind and living in the here and now. Such a recipe is key for those setting sail on their first Atlantic crossing, especially in a Mini, where outside contact will become increasingly rare, until the moment where the focus switches to the finish in Martinique. The journey into solitude starts here.

    The weight of experience

    At the head of the fleet, Ian Lipinski ( has a rather different mindset. His focus is on the competition element and the sailor from Lorient in Brittany is continuing to drive his prototype hard. Indeed, he'll soon have a lead of over 100 miles in relation to second placed Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa). In the production boat category, Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) is continuing to gently stretch away from Clarisse Crémer (TBS). The youngster of the race has made sure he is equipped to deal with any dips in morale in the form of instructions posted up all over the boat and even a photo of his coach, Tanguy Leglatin, on which he's listed the best remedies for the blues. However, it has to be said that the heady scent of victory is a great vaccine against such malaise.

    all images © Breschi/ Mini-Transat le Boulangerie

    Anyone's game?

    Behind the leaders, some sailors didn't hang around to change course, even if the routing recommended a northerly option. Clearly the rotation of the wind to the east, on the left-hand side of the race course, has inspired certain solo sailors to gamble on the return of the NE'ly trade wind over the coming hours or days. If this is the case, having gybed again, they'll be able to link onto a route that will take them considerably closer to the direct course, whilst their neighbours to the north will find it difficult to drop back down. In the meantime, their provisional rankings are set to tumble because in taking this option, these daring sailors will distance themselves from the great circle route and hence the shortest course between Cape Verde and Martinique. This has already happened to Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis Cerfrance) and Pierre Chedeville (Blue Orange Games – Fair Retail) in the production boat category and Camille Taque (Foxsea Lady) on her prototype. Similarly, it will be wise to keep an eye on how the rankings evolve for Jörg Riechers (Lilienthal), Andrea Fornaro (Sideral), Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema 3), Luc Giros (Cabinet Rivault Nineuil – Enedis) and Sander Van Doorn (Air Charge), as they wait to reap the rewards of their investment.

    Non-stop to Martinique
    The last competitors still in Mindelo are planning to set sail again very soon. For Pavel Roubal (Pogo Dancer) this should be tomorrow morning. Thibault Michelin (Eva Luna) has finished his repairs and should be heading back out to sea shortly. For Romain Bolzinger (, who is posting slow speeds, there is no other option than to continue. Race Management has sent their support boat, Top50, over to investigate what the problem is. In any case, Romain has not activated his distress beacon and is not requesting assistance. Top50 should be on site late tonight.

    Position report on 8 November at 15:00 UTC

    1 Ian Lipinski ( 1,243.0 miles from the finish
    2 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 99.7 miles behind the leader
    3 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 108.8 miles behind the leader
    4 Andrea Fornaro (Sideral) 163.9 miles behind the leader
    5 Kéni Piperol (Région Guadeloupe) 205.7 miles behind the leader

    Production boats
    1 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 1,433.0 miles from the finish
    2 Clarisse Crémer (TBS) 30.3 miles behind the leader
    3 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis – Cerfrance) 38.1 miles behind the leader
    4 Tom Dolan ( 88.2 miles behind the leader
    5 Benoît Sineau (Cachaça 2) 91.4 miles behind the leader

    Leave a comment:

  • Cleveland Steamer
    Either the gudgeons are super strong on that boat, or the transom construction is really weak on that mini!

    Leave a comment: