No announcement yet.

Mini Transat Now Just 5 Days Out

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Mini madness part two!

    Love it, shame they don't have the comms they the big boys have.


    • #17
      Canary's In The Rear View: Mini Transat Leg 2 Underway!

      This Saturday 2 November, the start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère was given at 14:33 UTC in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The fleet is bound for Le Marin, in Martinique. The race set sail in lovely conditions with a trade wind of around fifteen knots, which is due to build as the competitors get clear of the Canary Islands. The weather is forecast to be good, favouring a rapid passage throughout the 2,700 miles leading to Martinique. Axel Tréhin (prototype) and Ambrogio Beccaria (production) are leading the way at the end of the first leg, but there is little separating the chasing pack and this second act may completely reshuffle the cards.

      Reactions from the sailors as they leave the pontoons:

      Ambrogio Beccaria (production boat, winner of the first leg): “I’m a bit stressed as the weather is moving around a lot. It’s not easy to decide whether we need to head South or North. We’ll need to adapt to the situation rather than sticking to a ready-made strategy. However, that’s one thing I know how to do. Once we set sail, things will be a lot better. I think there will continue to be little separating us.”

      Keni Piperol (production boat, 14th in the first leg): “The start of the race is going to be important. We’re going to have to put in some good tacks, position ourselves nicely and avoid having our passage blocked in the wind shadows created by the islands. We’ve been wanting to get back out sailing again for a while now. I’ve already completed the Mini-Transat but every passage is different. The boat isn’t the same and the conditions are different.”

      Pierre Moizan (prototype, 12th in the first leg): “We’ve been preparing for this for a very long time, nearly three years in my case. It’s strange to be here on the big day itself. Yesterday, I felt very stressed but today things are better. After a three-week break, we’re really going to need to get back into the swing of things. A few hours on the boat and we’ll be able to get back into the rhythm. We may come across some friends from the Transat Jacques Vabre, which will be nice.”

      Daniele Nanni (production boat, 55th in the first leg): “I feel happy, the weather is very good and the boat is ready. It’s going to be the perfect transatlantic. It’s the first time that I’ve really crossed the Atlantic singlehanded. It’s exciting and a bit stressful. I still find it a bit hard to grasp the fact that I’m going to take the start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère.”

      Céline Sallès (production boat, 54th in the first leg): “It’s hard to find the words to describe what’s going on in my head, there’s a big mixture of emotions. So much has happened just to get to this stage, it’s almost a relief to be here. When we unroll the course chart, we realise that we’re pretty small on our little boats. I’m going to try to move up the leader board a few places, but I don’t feel any stress in that regard.”

      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #18
        Superb 1st 48 Hours For Mini Transat Fleet


        A little over 48 hours after the start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria/Le Marin), everyone is positioning their pawns. With little information and few tools at their disposal, the sailors are having to decide which strategy they believe will pay off in the medium and long term: immediately favouring the West or investing in the South. There’s been a high pace since Act 2 kicked off and the fastest competitors have already covered nearly 500 miles along the great circle route (direct course). This evening, the leaders are Ambrogio Beccaria (production boat category) and François Jambou (prototypes).

        Sailing in the trade winds is no bed of roses. The competitors in the Mini-Transat are certainly posting good speeds downwind, but they’re having to deal with a shifty NE’ly wind both in terms of strength and direction (fluctuating a good twenty or so degrees throughout the day), in the knowledge that squalls may well colour play. As a result, the skippers are having to make the most of these shifts and perfect the timing of their gybes.

        Which is best, South or West?
        Two major options are taking shape on the Atlantic chessboard. The bulk of the fleet has chosen to head West. This course is closer to the great circle route, but with it comes the risk of getting caught in zones with lighter winds. Other competitors have focused on making southing, lengthening the distance to sail in a bid to hunt down a steadier trade wind. For them, the medium and long-term challenge hinges on whether the strength of the wind will compensate for the extra ground they must cover. The lateral separation between the competitors is constantly growing and this Monday evening the fleet is split across 350 miles from Briton Joe Lacey (963 Earlybird Racing) in the North to Sébastien Liagre (589 Walaby) in the South.

        Alone or accompanied?
        After a little over two days of racing, certain sailors have already been a little deserted, as is the case for Raphaël Fortes (858), Georges Kick (529) and Sébastien Liagre (589). Already the solitude is absolute for them as they’re not in range of anyone else in the fleet. Meantime, others are making headway within very compact groups, including Thibault Blanchet (774), Thomas D’Estais (819), Thomas Gaschignard (539), Jean Bachèlerie (428) and Pierre Casenave-Péré (857), who are likely sailing within sight of one another. At the 16:00 UTC position report, these four skippers were bunched within just 2 miles of one another.

        Jambou and Beccaria setting the pace
        In the prototype category, François Jambou (865), Tanguy Bouroullec (969) and Axel Tréhin (945) are right where you’d expect them to be, in the podium spot once again. At the 16:00 UTC position report, François held a rather precarious lead given that there is still over 2,200 miles to go. Erwan Le Méné (800) is also lying in ambush, determined to be in the mix to win this second leg to Martinique.

        Event favourite and winner of the first leg, Ambrogio Beccaria is bringing his A game once more. Since the start in Las Palmas he’s been posting rapid speeds and pulling all the right moves. Benjamin Ferré (902), Keni Piperol (956) and Guillaume L’Hostis (868) are doing their utmost to hang on in there, on a similar course to that of the Italian. Their pursuers are scattered to the North, a posse led by Paul Cloarec (951), and a more substantial group to the South, with the notable presence of Félix de Navacelle (916).

        The production scows in the match
        The competitors sailing on the production scow bows are making the most of the conditions that favour their steeds to front the chasing pack. Keni Piperol, Paul Cloarec and Guillaume Quilfen (977) are in the top 10. We also need to keep an eye on the southerly option adopted by Florian Quenot, who has been very quick since the start in Las Palmas. Indeed, he’s covered the greatest distance over the ground (prototype and production boats combined) with 608 miles devoured since the start (16:00 UTC today).

        Marie Gendron hits the racetrack again while Jean Lorre enters the pits in El Hierro
        At 22:30 UTC on Sunday night, Marie Gendron completed the repairs to her spinnaker pole and keel fairing and headed back out to sea, eager to try and make up for lost time. Later this afternoon though, Jean Lorre arrived in El Hierro, the smallest island in the Canaries archipelago, where he’s hoping to resolve an issue with his stay chainplate. Jean will endeavour to make it as quick a pit stop as possible, in the knowledge that he must halt racing for at least 12 hours in line with the regulations that govern this Mini-Transat La Boulangère.


        Ranking on Monday 4 November at 16:00 UTC


        1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 2,203.5 miles from the finish
        2- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 5.3 miles behind the leader
        3- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 17.7 miles behind the leader


        1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 2,206.3 miles from the finish
        2- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures 16.4 miles behind the leader
        3- Kéni Piperol (956 – Caraïbe Course Au Large) 34 miles behind the leader
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #19
          An epic run towards Martinique!

          After three days at sea, the fleet of 82 sailors in the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère is complete once again after Jean Lorre’s return to the racetrack at the start of the afternoon. The speeds are steady, on a trajectory close to the direct route, pushed by a trade wind that should accompany them all the way to the finish. The front runners might well make landfall in Martinique after just 11 days at sea… The eagerly awaited conditions for champagne sailing are upon them and the sailors are relishing their time on the water, albeit with a careful eye on possible broaches. A rare occurrence worth highlighting is the fact that the leader of the production boat category (Ambrogio Beccaria) is hot on the heels of the first prototype (François Jambou).

          The solo sailors competing in the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère are sure to have some tales to tell at the finish! “We’ve known since the start that the race could be very quick and that’s being confirmed. Even the support boats are finding it hard to keep up!” explains Denis Hugues, the Race Director. Indeed, this second leg is certainly living up to the competitors’ expectations as it offers up a long 2,700-mile run, making good speed under spinnaker throughout. Florian Quenot (946) made the most of the conditions last night to shatter the record for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours on a production Mini 6.50: 291.47 miles at an average speed of 12.1 knots.

          “It’s pretty gruelling…”

          However, this high speed sailing is both exhilarating and perilous with an abundance of broaches and minor damage. A message received from the support boat Yemanja sets the scene: “There is still a sustained 20-25-knot NE’ly wind, the seas are fairly rough, not heavy but not ordered either. We have fine weather with a few low clouds. Some conversations over the VHF between Minis suggest that things have been pretty gruelling for them. The majority are sailing with two reefs in the main and a medium spinnaker or code 5. There’s a lot of talk about which route to choose…” Talking of the route choices, it’s interesting to note that the competitors furthest North are tending to drop southwards to avoid some stormy zones that are set to develop from tomorrow.

          Production boats: Ambrogio Beccaria imperial, Kevin Bloch leading the ‘vintage’ fleet, Jean Lorre back in the match

          For now, Ambrogio Beccaria (943) is today’s hot topic on his Pogo 3. Not content with stealing a march on his direct rivals, the Italian is also in a face-off with the most honed prototypes. In fact, this evening he is second overall, with only François Jambou ahead of him. The chasing pack is in hot pursuit but Ambrogio is assuming his status as favourite in stellar fashion, knowing full well that it wouldn’t take much to curb his fantastic progress. It’s worth noting that behind the star Pogo 3s and production scows, certain competitors with older boats are enjoying a fantastic race, as is the case for Kevin Bloch (697), well placed in the Top 20 with his boat built in 2007. As for Jean Lorre (570), he’s been back on the racetrack since early afternoon after a pit stop in El Hierro to fix his stay chainplate. There are also some small groups forming to cross the Atlantic in unison with seven competitors bunched into barely 5 miles from Thomas Gaschignard in 23rd place to Pierre Casenave-Péré in 30th!

          Prototypes: François Jambou makes a bit of break

          Aboard the boat that is the current title holder for the event (in the hands of Ian Lipinski), François Jambou (865) is still in control of the fleet of prototypes. Finishing the first leg just six minutes after winner Axel Tréhin (945), François has now gained a considerable edge over his main rival (42.8-mile lead at 16:00 UTC). Tanguy Bouroullec (969), the third figure in this battle for gold, is some 16.9 miles shy of François. The match for outright victory is sure to be prime viewing right to the wire. Astern of the top three are four competitors eager stay in contention: Erwan Le Méné (800) is right in line with the leaders, whilst Antoine Perrin (850), Morten Bogacki (934) and Fabio Muzzolini (716) have favoured some northerly separation.

          Accessing the Mini-Transat from… Greece

          Currently making 10 knots of boat speed, Greek sailor Markos Spyropoulos (931 Quanta) is lying in 15th place in the prototype fleet more than 1,000 miles North of the Cape Verde archipelago. So how did the Greek sailor get to the start line of this Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019?

          “Basically I’ve been a sailor all my life. I started when I was 10 back in Greece on very small boats and then 420s and then after university I started offshore sailing. I then took on the post of a sailing instructor before officially becoming a skipper in 1994, which I’ve done for the past 25 years. I’ve sailed all over the world. I think I’ve crossed the Atlantic 7 times now and I’ve been around the world once, but all that was on Maxi yachts like 60 to 100 footers. During this time, back in 2004, I was at anchor in the Cape Verde islands when I saw 2 Minis, who had stopped off there with problems and that stuck in my mind and I thought, one day, when I have the time and money, I have to do this race, so here I am! It’s a big journey to make it to the start line because I’m from far away and Greece is a poor country compared to France. I’ve met some very nice sailors within the Mini circuit from both France and overseas and they’re very kind and polite with us foreigners.

          I quit a very, very nice job and a good salary as the captain of a big sailing yacht 2 years ago to start this journey. Of course now I’m completely broke! I have managed to get some minor sponsors but it’s never enough really, but that’s okay when you’re doing something because it’s your passion. It’s a big sacrifice but, in the end, we’ll take back home with us all the happiness we were looking for. The skills involved in managing a Mini project are something that I feel I already have at my age.

          I am the second Greek sailor to have participated in the Mini-Transat, but the first one (back in 1983), quit the race on the first day as he wasn’t well prepared. I hope to be the first Greek sailor to finish the Mini-Transat. My boat is very well prepared and I feel like it’s at the highest level it has been in the 2 years since I bought it. I’ve done some really nice updates. It’s fully carbon and has a really good build quality but we’ll see how things go in this crazy race!

          Minis are fragile upwind, so we have to conserve them for the passage across the Atlantic. If it was just a race of 200 or 500 miles, it would be okay, but we have a long way to go. I have a 12-year-old son and I’ve spent most of the summer away from him. I’ve only had 5 days with him that whole time so I’m going to make up for that once I get to the other side of the big pond!”

          A personal journey of discovery, Markos is also hoping his participation in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 will encourage the inclusion of offshore racing in the 2028 Olympics as well as bring the sport to Greece.


          Ranking on Tuesday 5 November at 16:00 UTC


          1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 1,966.9 miles from the finish
          2- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 16.9 miles behind the leader
          3- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 42.8 miles behind the leader


          1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 1,972.3 miles from the finish
          2- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures 16.8 miles behind the leader
          3- Pierre Le Roy (925 – Arthur Loyd) 46.6 miles behind the leader
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #20
            1/3rd Of Way Completed In 4 Days



            Italians Matteo Sericano and Marco Buonanni have both broken a rudder and are making for Mindelo, in Cape Verde, where they’ll make a pit stop to effect repairs before, hopefully, returning to the racetrack. Since the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, three other competitors have made pit stops before setting sail again: Amélie Grassi, Marie Gendron and Jean Lorre. The remaining 77 sailors competing in the second leg of this Mini-Transat La Boulangère have surely had their share of hassles too, but have seemingly been able to deal with them offshore. To support one another in the great adventure that is the Mini-Transat, some sailors are making for Martinique in groups. Naturally, this is not the case for the front runners, who are focused on leaving their playmates as far behind them as is humanly possible. This evening, François Jambou (prototype) and Ambrogio Beccaria (production boat) are stretching out their respective leads.

            Technical pit stops for Matteo Sericano and Marco Buonanni

            The trajectories adopted by Matteo Sericano (888) and Marco Buonanni (769) on the cartography for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère suggested that the two Italian sailors have a few issues. Fortunately, they quickly got a message to Race Management saying: “technical problem, I'm OK”. Two support boats headed in their direction to find out more and learnt that each of them has broken a rudder. Unable to effect repairs at sea, they’re diverting to Mindelo, in the Cape Verde islands, to get their Minis back up and running. At 16:00 UTC, Matteo was about 200 miles from this port, and Marco around 350 miles away.

            Sailing in squadron formation

            It’s interesting to note that a number of the mid-fleet sailors are taking on the long passage across the Atlantic in contact with fellow sailors. In this way, they’re able to chat over the VHF and doubtless dispense and receive reassurance. Eight sailors are particularly bunched together on a N’ly course: Mathieu Gobet (455), Jean Bachèlerie (428), Thomas Gaschignard (539), Thomas D’Estais (819), Thibault Blanchet (774), Simon Tranvouez (807), Pierre Casenave-Péré (857) and Matthieu Perrault (825). Further South is another group made up of Jean-René Guilloux (915), Thibault Raymakers (891), Olivier Le Fichous (721), Axelle Pillain (781), Albert Lagneaux (882), Christophe Brière (755) and Raphaël Lutard (900). “This situation where sailors make headway as a group is a frequent occurrence mid-fleet in the Mini-Transat. However, the practice is less evident up front”, explains Denis Hugues, Race Director.

            Prototypes: François on the last lap?

            François Jambou (865) is letting his prototype go into overdrive, constantly racking up high speeds as a result. His rivals have their work cut out trying to keep up with the hellish pace he’s setting. Indeed, it’s worth noting how second placed Tanguy Bouroullec (969) has slowed today. Does Tanguy have techical issues? In any case, third placed Axel Tréhin is making the most of the opportunity to swoop in on his prey. After a complicated and backbreaking first leg due to energy woes, Antoine Perrin (850) is sailing a blinder in this leg and is lying in 5th position this evening, in contact with the experienced Erwan Le Méné (800).

            Production boats: Big separation in terms of options

            The three competitors who secured a podium spot in the first leg are opting for very different courses in the second. Matthieu Vincent (947) is the furthest North of the fleet and Félix de Navacelle (916) is the furthest South. Between these two sailors, the lateral separation has stretched to 450 miles this evening! As for the leader Ambrogio Beccaria (943), he’s gone for a passage through the middle where he’s really excelling himself. Astern, those who were favouring a S’ly course at the start of the race have repositioned themselves behind him, as is the case for Florian Quenot and Nicolas D’Estais, who have been the fastest sailors in the production fleet over 24 hours, respectively posting distances of 291.47 and 290.03 miles over a day.

            Accessing the Mini-Transat from… Russia

            The Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 is very happy to boast not one but two Russian entries this year, one man Fedor Druzhinin (prototype 759 – Assist) currently in 19th place in his category this Wednesday on a N’ly option, and the first ever Russian woman to compete in the race, Irina Gracheva (production boat 579 – Irina Gracheva Racing) – currently 47th on a S’ly option. Both sailors are nearly a third of the way across the Atlantic and prior to the start the two compatriots gave us the low-down on their respective journeys to the start line of this epic race.

            “Racing in the Mini class is all about constantly overcoming obstacles. From preparing for a race, to training to actually getting out on the racetrack, it feels like you’re climbing a mountain and at times the summit seems to be getting further and further away. The effort involved is constant, whether you’re hunting for sponsors, repairing gear or trying to get time out on the water. Everything is tough-going, nothing is simple. There are no easy solutions in this game and no ready-made answers, and as everyone with a boat knows, they are money pits!” says Druzhinin smiling. However, this race has been something he’s dreamt of doing for the past 20 years.
            So what’s the big attraction of a Mini campaign? “Sailing is my life and my job – I’m a sailing instructor and I’ve crossed the Atlantic 5 times. I’ve covered over 100,000 sea miles in the past 10 years or so, 20,000 of which have been singlehanded. If you want to raise your game, improve your boat handling skills and your physical and mental agility, this Mini Transat is the best there is on the offshore racing circuit and it requires you to be mentally and physically strong. Last year, in Les Sables d’Olonne – Azores - Les Sables d’Olonne race, there were a lot of retirements and I really had to push myself to the limit to continue racing after falling badly and cracking my rib. Crawling around a 6.50m boat in huge waves trying to repair a headsail is no picnic I can tell you, but it certainly gives you a psychological advantage once you know you can overcome such hurdles!” he enthuses.

            “I still live in Russia which made it very complicated to prepare my Mini-Transat project. I’ve had to spend an awful lot of time travelling on planes and trains, whilst keeping my company ticking along. Before this race, I had to sacrifice precious time with my family to move to Lorient in Brittany for training and to gain experience competing in the pre-season races and that’s really tough.” One of his main goals in this race is to try to get the best out of his boat in a strong breeze and with sustained trade winds forecast right the way to the finish, he’ll certainly be an even better sailor by the time he gets to Martinique.
            Compatriot Irina Gracheva also boasts a wealth of sailing experience, predominantly spanning Baltic waters, though it also stretches to an expedition to Cape Horn in 2015 as well as a double-handed transatlantic passage. The Mini-Transat seemed like the obvious choice once she’d set her heart on singlehanded sailing. “Accessing the Mini-Transat is no mean feat for anyone, but when you come from the other side of Europe or further afield, it’s very daunting. I too still live in Russia, but to prepare and qualify for the Mini-Transat the only solution, for now at least, was for me to move to France, La Rochelle in my case, which I did for six months. On top of preparing for the race, I had to get used to living in France with all their new customs and habits that are a far cry from those in my home country, but I’m very proud to be the first Russian woman to attempt this race.”

            Wherever in the world you’re from, the common denominator in any Mini-Transat campaign is a deep-seated passion for sailing. Once you have that, it would seem that anything is possible. “My love for the sea and sailing developed from the age of twelve, when I began sailing competitively in Saint Petersburg and gradually began to devote all my time to this new passion. Singlehanded sailing appeals to me because aside from the romanticism of it, you grow as a person every time you overcome what might seem like an impossible hurdle and I love the physicality of working with your hands and also using your intellect to find solutions and fixes. Discovering what you’re capable of on your own is just amazing!”
            Among the main events that colour her history in sailing are the Rolex Fastnet, the Middle Sea Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, a sailing expedition to Cape Horn and a world speed record for a transatlantic passage from Bermuda to Plymouth, paired up with Swedish sailor Mikael Ryking on a Class 40, back in 2017, a year that also saw her secure a national award in Russia as Sailor of the Year. It’ll certainly be intriguing viewing to see how Irina fares in this Mini-Transat 2019 and whether it will serve as a springboard to further oceanic adventures…


            Ranking on Wednesday 6 November at 16:00 UTC

            1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 1,709.6 miles from the finish
            2- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 70.4 miles behind the leader
            3- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 75.3 miles behind the leader

            1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 1,724.8 miles from the finish
            2- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures 28.0 miles behind the leader
            3- Pierre Le Roy (925 – Arthur Loyd) 70.0 miles behind the leader

            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #21
              Just Over 600 and 700 NM To Finish For Leaders: 2 Dismastings For Mini Transat Fleet



              François Jambou (865) in the prototype category and Ambrogio Beccaria (943) in the production boat fleet are still utterly dominating the competition. Earlier this morning, Russian sailor Irina Gracheva (579) and Julien Berthélémé (742) both announced to Race Management that their boats had dismasted. Otherwise, all is well aboard for both skippers, who are still in the race for now. These two dismastings are the first to occur since the start of this 2019 edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère.

              Irina Gracheva

              Julien Berthélémé

              The sailor from the Finistère region in NW France (742) has broken his mast level with the spreader. He’s indicated his intention to continue on his way for now under jury rig. The same is true for the Russian competitor Irina Gracheva (579), who is not requesting assistance and wishes to sort out a jury rig on her own and continue her race. At the 16:00 UTC position report, they were respectively 1197.5 and 1,163.7 miles from Le Marin in Martinique.

              The trade winds are certainly no picnic

              Despite the generally accepted idea that it’s just a long session of slipping along downwind in the sunshine from the Portuguese coast to the West Indies, in race format it’s a very different scenario. Indeed, the sailors have to contend with a shifty wind in terms of strength and direction, short seas accompanied by a big chop and unpredictable winds of 30 to 40 knots that have a tendency to catch the skippers out under the cover of darkness. The upshot of all this is ideal conditions for wipe-outs. To get a better idea of this, you just have to look at the zigzagging trajectories on the cartography and the competitors’ sudden dips in speed. This second leg may not have the nasty conditions you might expect in the Bay of Biscay, but it is no less demanding or backbreaking for the skippers whose piloting skills are really put to the test. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that once the competitors make landfall in Martinique, conversation will quickly turn to the numerous and epic wipe-outs…

              Growing human and material fatigue

              After more than nine days of singlehanded sailing in the trade winds, the state of human and material wear is beginning to weigh heavy. In addition to the navigation and the race strategy, the sailors are having to double up their efforts in terms of remaining vigilant and cautious as the fatigue, solitude and pressure mount. Perhaps the same cannot be said for Erwan Le Mené (800) in the prototype category or Nicolas D’Estais (905) and Pierre Le Roy (925) in the production boat category however. Indeed, with a very slight edge over their direct rivals in the battle for a spot on the podium, these particular sailors must be glued to the helm, allowing themselves precious little rest.

              The fatigue is also extending to the Mini 6.50s now of course. This is evidenced by the two dismastings suffered by Irina Gracheva (579) and Julien Berthélémé (742) this morning. However, a number of other competitors lament their own technical woes. Anne Beaugé (890) currently has spreader issues. The support boat Yemanja also reports that Thomas D’Estais (819) is in the process of repairing a rudder fitting that has pulled out and Thomas Gaschignard (539) has had to repair his helm and a cracked rudder. Meantime, the support boat Tea, reports that Jean-René Guilloux (915) lost the pin on the rigging screw attached to a stay last night but fortunately he’s managed to replace it with another on the boat. Finally, Race Management received an alert saying "Technical problem, I’m OK" from Simon Tranvouez.

              The latest stand-out performances

              Tired of bringing up the rear of the ranking, Christophe Noguet (744) decided to plunge southwards and this daring option might well pay off enabling him to pick off a few of his rivals before the finish in Martinique. For his part, Sébastien Liagre (589) has sailed nearly 1,200 miles on starboard tack. Finally, on the first of the boats that is neither a Pogo 3 nor a Maxi 650, Kévin Bloch (697) has made a break for glory among the pointy bows to secure 17th place in the production boat fleet this Monday evening.

              Accessing the Mini Transat from… Italy

              It has to be said that there is often a very solid Italian contingent who seem to just love to participate in this Mini-Transat La Boulangère race. This year is no exception with no fewer than seven Italian candidates – two with prototypes and the remaining five on production boats. In the former group we have Luca Rosetti and Matteo Sericano. The former is currently 15th and the latter is sadly now retired after a fantastic performance at the cutting edge of the prototype category prior to breaking his rudder, repairing it and then hitting a UFO that definitively put him out of the race yesterday with a severely damaged keel. Of the Italians in the production fleet, we cannot fail to mention the top boat with a current lead of 85 miles, sailed by Ambrogio Beccaria, who has come achingly close to overtaking the lead prototype at various points along the course and is posting a flawless performance once again. Behind him, compatriot Daniele Nanni is in 25th place, Luigi Dubini in 46th and Marco Buonanni in 58th. We chat to Alessio Campriani in 56th place who is representing the Circolo Velico Centro Italia sailing centre.

              “Many years ago I used to track the progress of the skippers in the Mini Transat as I just find it so inspirational. However, where I live in Perugia, Italy, there were no good organisations to help you train specifically for this race unfortunately as I couldn’t get to Barcelona or the Atlantic coast. As such, all this was but a dream for me 15 years ago, and it seemed too far away for me to access, what with work, life and every other excuse! Then in 2013, I was particularly inspired by one of the youngest skippers to compete in that year’s Mini Transat – my compatriot Michele Zambelli, who has a determination that moves mountains. He was from Rimini, which isn’t so far away from my mother’s seaside home, so I said to myself well, I’m old to do the Mini but I want to try!” he smiles, a twinkle in his eye. He is only 51 after all!

              Following his own Mini Transat campaign, Zambelli opened a training hub in the Adriatic Sea, which has been proving to be a popular way for Italian sailors to come together and train. Campriani jumped at the opportunity to begin his own Mini project at last. Interestingly, there were an impressive 7 Italians competing in the Mini Transat the year of Zambelli’s Mini campaign (2013), one of whom has steadily increased the size of his yacht ever since his fabulous 2nd place in the race. Indeed Giancarlo Pedote is due to complete the Transat Jacques Vabre on a 60-foot non-foiling Imoca tonight European time, in what is an important step forward in his bid to do the Vendee Globe 2020. Leading the Mini-Transat 2019 from beginning to end in the production boat category, it’s exciting to ponder where Ambrogio Beccaria will go from here…

              So how has Alessio Campriani got to the point where he is now able to confidently sail a steady race throughout this 2019 edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère? “With Zambelli’s support, I bought myself a Pogo 2 for this project and I’ve essentially been participating in all the races I can that make up the Mini circuit. I’ve been on the circuit a little longer than some, I believe I started in December 2016. Initially it was a big shock to arrive in the Mini circuit. I have a background in sport and I’m a banker and I thought what on earth have I done! But once you get to know people you realise that actually we’re just one big group who share the same passion. Everyone has their own individual goals but if you need something you just have to ask and vice versa so the feeling within the class is great. It’s so beautiful when you race in events like the Fastnet or the Transgascogne, and especially the solo events, that there is always someone to embrace you when you finish. It’s nice to be 1st, 2nd or 3rd but the important thing is that you arrive and you’re fine. In this race, particularly at my age, I’m just racing against myself really. I don’t have a high-powered, modern boat or the energy to go for the win, but the important thing is to be in the competition and to try to sail a beautiful race. I have an anxious character so setting sail on this race is terrible for me in some ways, but the moment you’re making headway on the sea and you can see that you’re going along nicely, then it’s just wonderful to be alone in the boat.”

              For those Italians wanting to train for this race in Italy, the key Mini training centres in Italy are the Centro Italiano Vela Altura (CIVA) in Tuscany in the Tyrrhenian Sea, an initiative run by Marco Nannini’s (2nd in the Global Ocean Race for Class40) sports association founded in 2012, the first Italian centre geared towards offshore sailing, and the Tribu del Vento Offshore Sailing School in Rimini on the Adriatic coast. Wherever you train though, Alessio Campriani’s journey to this Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 is sure to inspire sailors from all walks of life and any age to just get out on the water and follow their passion…


              Ranking on Monday 11 November at 16:00 UTC

              1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 631.4 miles from the finish
              2- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 91.9 miles behind the leader
              3- Erwan Le Méné (800 Rousseau Clôtures) 220.1 miles behind the leader

              1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 713.5 miles from the finish
              2- Nicolas D’Estais (905 – Cheminant – Ursuit) 84.8 miles behind the leader
              3- Pierre Le Roy (925 – Arthur Loyd) 85.2 miles behind the leader

              BACK TO NEWS


              Irina Gracheva (579) and Julien Berthélémé (742) have informed Race Directors that they have dismasted. Both sailors are ok. Support vessels are making way towards the 35 year-old Russian and the 43 year-old Finisterian. Both competitors are competing in the Production category in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019. They are respectively 27th and 45th and are 1171,2nm and 1244,3nm from Le Marin in Martinique. More information to come in the next hours...


              After a little over eight days of racing, the fastest of the fleet have already completed two thirds of the 2,700 miles between Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Le Marin in Martinique. According to the latest routing from Race Management, François Jambou and Ambrogio Beccaria, leaders of the prototype and production fleets respectively, might well make the finish this Thursday. Meantime, Briton Joe Lacey has had to receive assistance from a support boat so he is officially out of the race but is valiantly continuing on to the finish. Italian Matteo Sericano reported his retirement this evening, following a collision with a floating object, which has seriously damaged the keel of his prototype. As a result, 80 sailors are still officially racing despite some far from simple conditions in this 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère.

              Tropical airs
              Being the first to make Martinique and savour victory (and rum) and being there to welcome in all the rest of the fleet might well be something that François Jambou (865) and Ambrogio Beccaria (943) are starting to mull over now. However, they are both experienced enough to know that concentration is still key with a third of the course to go and their pursuers waiting in ambush in case either of them slips up.

              Hotly-contested podiums
              In the prototype category, Axel Tréhin (945) has been relegated to 100 miles astern of the leader. Meantime, Erwan Le Méné (800) and Tanguy Bouroullec (969) are neck and neck, slugging it out for 3rd place. With a little N’ly separation, German sailor Morten Bogacki (934) remains very much in the match to play catch-up too. In the production fleet, a spot on the podium is particularly highly prized. At the 16:00 UTC position report, Nicolas D’Estais (905), Benjamin Ferré (902), Pierre Le Roy (925) and Félix de Navacelle (916) were grouped within ten miles or so of one another, on the hunt.

              Squally weather
              Respectively some 867 to 932 miles from the finish at the 16:00 UTC position report this Sunday, François Jambou and Ambrogio Beccaria have eked out fairly substantial leads. However, prudence is a prerequisite as the men and the gear are tired and conditions are not easy with heavy seas. Moreover, their passage is littered with numerous squalls bringing significant rain and above all winds that could reach 35 to 40 knots. As such, wipe-outs can occur at any moment and this squally weather is set to last for at least three days.

              Briton Joe Lacey continues his race albeit it unofficially
              Yesterday, a support boat sailed alongside Joe Lacey (963) and ultimately a member of the crew climbed aboard the Mini 6.50 to assist him with repairing his tiller pivot. The issue was eventually resolved and the sailor has since been able to continue on his way. However, given that he received outside assistance, Joe Lacey is no longer officially racing, which is sure to be a bitter disappointment to the Briton who has given his absolute all throughout this race.

              Italian Matteo Sericano forced to retire
              Matteo Sericano has also suffered a major setback tonight. Having set sail from Mindelo yesterday after repairing his rudder, the Italian quickly turned back, this time as a result of hitting a floating object which has severely damaged his keel. Matteo has attempted in vain to repair it but has since had to announce this retirement this evening.

              Tracker problem resolved for Julien Letissier
              This morning, Julien Letissier (869) was no longer being located on the cartography for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. His beacon had failed and at today’s link up Race Management asked him to switch tracker. The message has clearly got through via the support boats since Julien has reappeared on the 16:00 UTC cartography and is in 12th place in the production fleet.

              Where are we at with the female sailors?
              Eight women (seven in the production boat fleet and one in the prototypes) took the start of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère and all of them are still racing. In the production category, best placed is Amélie Grassi (944) who’s sailed a blinder after setting sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria a good dozen hours or so after the rest of the fleet in 61st position. This evening, Amélie is in the Top 15! Hot on her heels is the youngest sailor in the race, Violette Dorange (955), who seems to be into a good rhythm after a first leg marred by energy woes aboard her boat. On her Ofcet 6.50, Anne Beaugé (890) is also enjoying a great race (20th place at the latest poll). She’s one of the best placed among those skippers not sailing Pogo 3s or Maxis.

              Relatively deserted on the race zone, albeit in the top part of the fleet, Russian Irina Gracheva (579) is carving out a fine course aboard her trusty Mini launched nearly 15 years ago. And even though there is still a long way to go, Axelle Pillain (781) and Céline Sallès (514) also look to be on track to pull off their gamble of crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a Mini. Tonight they’re at the midway mark in 40th and 48th places. Meantime, Belgian sailor Marie-Amélie Lénaerts (833) is demonstrating great determination with regards to sorting out her technical woes at sea. Making slow progress throughout yesterday, she’s back up to speed today and continuing on her way. Just one woman is competing in the prototype category, Marie Gendron (930). Hurriedly returning to Las Palmas due to keel issues and a problem with her bowsprit, Marie has since been courageously hurtling along on a S’ly option in a bid to try and catch up with the rest of the fleet.


              Ranking on Sunday 10 November at 16:00 UTC


              1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 867.9 miles from the finish
              2- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 100.9 miles behind the leader
              3- Erwan Le Méné (800) Rousseau Clôtures Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 212.4 miles behind the leader


              1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 932.7 miles from the finish
              2- Nicolas D’Estais (905 – Cheminant – Ursuit) 72.2 miles behind the leader
              3- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures 73.9 miles behind the leader

              BACK TO NEWS
              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #22
                Under 500 NM For Jambou



                A race is never over till it’s over as the saying goes. However, it’s hard to imagine how the 2 leaders, François Jambou (965) in the prototype category and Ambrogio Beccaria (943) in the production boat category could let victory slip between their fingers now. With 419.3 miles to go for François Jambou and 538.3 for Ambrogio Beccaria, the 2 men are expected to make the marina in Le Marin on Thursday morning.

                So with first place seemingly in the bag in both fleets, in their wake there are an increasing number of candidates for the remaining podium places! Indeed, third place is very much up for grabs in the prototype fleet, with Erwan le Mené (800) and Morten Bogacki (934) embroiled in a thrilling match race. As for the battle for supremacy in the production fleet, 5 competitors are grouped into 40 miles. At the last position report, it was still Benjamin Ferré (902) and Nicolas D’Estais (905) in 2nd and 3rd spot. However, whether it’s Pierre Le Roy (925) who’s attempted a S’ly option, Félix de Navacelle (916) positioned further to the North or Guillaume Quilfen (977) going for an option right down the middle and currently in 6th place, all 3 are still in contention for a great place in Martinique. Verdict in a few days’ time…

                François Jambou is this morning less than 500 miles from the finish in Le Marin in Martinique. As such, the leader in the prototype category now has a glimpse of what looks set to be a victorious finish within the next two days. A little over 100 miles astern, Ambrogio Beccaria is also very well placed to take the win in the production boat category and mirror his victory in the first leg. For now though, the two leaders will have to focus on containing any attacks from their pursuers whilst preserving their gear. Such is the tough balance required in offshore racing… The battle for the remaining podium places is still just as intense and further back the list of damage is mounting. Two competitors, Irina Gracheva and Julien Berthélémé, are sailing under jury rig, whilst many others are having to try to make repairs at sea in order to hang on in there until they make it to the other side.

                Prototypes: the fast track to victory for François Jambou?

                With a lead of nearly 100 miles over Axel Tréhin (945) with less than 500 miles to go, François Jambou (965) looks poised to secure outright victory. Indeed, it’s worth noting that the separation between the two men was just six minutes (in Axel’s favour) at the end of the first leg. Erwan Le Méné (800) looks firmly settled into 3rd place. Will he be able to make up the deficit he amassed in the first leg to move up onto the podium in the overall ranking? Erwan lamented a deficit of five hours in relation to Tanguy Bouroullec (969) on setting sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and this morning Tanguy has been relegated to over 50 miles astern of Erwan. The fleet of prototypes stretches nearly 800 miles between François Jambou and Marie Gendron (930), in 20th.

                Production boats: The fleet is split into three large groups

                In the production boat fleet, three large groups have formed. The first comprises leader Ambrogio Beccaria (943) and his closest pursuers. Lined up behind the untouchable Italian, Benjamin Ferré (902) and Nicolas D’Estais (905) are virtually neck and neck, closely followed by Félix de Navacelle (916), positioned slightly to the North. Lauris Noslier (893) is also attacking hard to the South. Given the easing weather conditions announced for the coming days and his slight deficit in relation to this group, Lauris certainly has nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Interestingly, Pierre Le Roy (925), a meteorologist in civilian life, is also hedging his bets on the South. We’ll have to wait and see how the S’ly option pays off.

                The second group comprises those racers ranked from 7th (Guillaume Quilfen) to 15th place (Florian Quenot). Their podium hopes would seem compromised at this stage, but these nine sailors are embroiled in a fine race and are giving their all. Indeed, it’s worth giving a special mention to Amélie Grassi (944) who’s continuing to pick off her fellow competitors and is lying in 14th place this morning. Just astern of this group, we find Kevin Bloch (697) and Violette Dorange (955) who are very much sailing their own races. Out of VHF range from their playmates, their transatlantic race will be a true rite-of-passage.

                The third large group is more substantial, but also more spread out with a significant North/South separation. However, there is little between them in terms of distance to the goal. Indeed there is just 110 miles between 18th placed Benoit Formet (887) and 40th placed Mathieu Gobet (455) this Tuesday. Even in the soft belly of the ranking, the battle is intense between sailors with a whole variety of profiles, which is all part of the charm of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère.

                Irina Gracheva and Julien Berthélémé continue on their way under jury rig, while Anne Beaugé has to scale her mast

                The two competitors whose boats dismasted yesterday have managed, without assistance, to set up jury rigs that should enable them to make Martinique without further incident, though they will have to be patient and sparing of their remaining food. This morning, Irina Gracheva (579) and Julien Berthélémé (742) are 1,100 miles from the finish (08:00 UTC position report).

                Meantime, after breaking a spreader, Anne Beaugé (890) is planning to scale her mast to secure her rig once a support boat arrives alongside to ensure she can perform the operation in safety.


                Ranking on Tuesday 12 November at 16:00 UTC


                1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 419.3 miles from the finish
                2- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 97.9 miles behind the leader
                3- Erwan Le Méné (800 Rousseau Clôtures) 242.4 miles behind the leader


                1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 538.3 miles from the finish
                2- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures) 82.1 miles behind the leader
                3- Nicolas D’Estais (905 – Cheminant-Ursuit) 86.8 miles behind the lead
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

       Photo Gallery


                • #23
                  Martinique On The Horizon For Mini Transat Leaders

                  Jambou and Beccaria poised to take the win imminently

                  The wait in Le Marin (Martinique) for the first competitor to complete the Mini-Transat La Boulangère is about to enter its final day. François Jambou is expected to make landfall tomorrow (from 18:00 UTC). Indeed, barring calamity, he’s set to take the win in the prototype category after a very fast race and a little over 12 days at sea. Axel Tréhin looks set to hold onto his 2nd place, whilst German sailor Morten Bogacki and Erwan Le Méné are duelling for the last remaining podium place in this second leg. In the production boat category, Italian Ambrogio Beccaria continues to reign supreme free of any threat and is due to cross the finish line on Friday (from 16:00 UTC).

                  Everything’s in place in Le Marin to welcome the sailors in style as they complete the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, having sailed a remarkable race across the Atlantic, singlehanded on the smallest offshore racing boats in the world.

                  The front runners closing on Martinique, the back runners at the midway mark!


                  From the front to the back of the fleet, the festivities are sure to continue as each of the skippers make landfall, share their stories from the high seas, savour a job well done and make the most of the bikini climes of the Caribbean and the gathering of Mini soulmates. And though the first skippers are reckoning on an imminent arrival, the back runners still have a long way to go. Indeed, Georges Kick (529) and Jean Lorre (570) are only at the midway mark this evening, progressing slowly… but surely.

                  Prototypes: Jambou powering towards victory, Bogacki in fight mode!

                  Aboard the reigning champion prototype, François Jambou (865) moved up into the head of the fleet 48 hours after the start in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Since then he has been opening up a seemingly inexorable lead over his main rivals: Axel Tréhin (945), Erwan Le Méné (800) and Tanguy Bouroullec (969). According to the latest routing (to be taken with a pinch of salt as ever of course), François could well cross the finish line from 18:00 UTC, or 14:00 hours in Martinique this Thursday.

                  A fifth sailor has also joined the fray now. In fact, after finishing 11th in the first leg, Morten Bogacki (934) is sailing a very fine race in the second leg too. Now less than 500 miles from the finish, Morten is on the provisional podium, neck and neck with Erwan Le Méné. Indeed, the German sailor has really got to grips with his very fine prototype, a boat that compatriot Jörg Riechers secured 2nd place on in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère in 2017. Among the stellar performances of note in this particular fleet are that of Spaniard Pep Costa (431), who’s sailing one of this year’s oldest prototypes, launched back in 2003. In the space of three days, he’s gained six places, moving up from 15th to 9th place and will doubtless be ecstatic to learn he’s inside the Top 10.

                  Production boats: Beccaria two days from deliverance, podium impossible to call

                  Since the start of the second leg, Ambrogio Beccaria (943) has been leading at every position report, barring one exception (on 3 November at 03:00 UTC)! Suffice to say that the Italian skipper has stamped his mark on this race with impressive authority to relegate some very honed rivals a long way astern. He could well make Le Marin on Friday at around 16:00 UTC to complete the double with a win in both legs. Behind him, the 2nd and 3rd spots are still very much up for grabs and will likely go to the wire. This evening, Benjamin Ferré (902) and Nicolas d’Estais (905) are hanging on in there, but it’s still absolutely all to play for given how tightly bunched they are with 450 miles to go. Either way, as the finishers begin to flood across the line, it’ll be time to get out the calculators and work out the state of play in the overall ranking for this 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère in the production boat fleet.

                  Finally, it’s worth noting that Anne Beaugé (890) scaled her mast today and repaired her damaged spreader without assistance so she is now back out on the racetrack. The two sailors who dismasted, Russian Irina Gracheva (579) and Julien Berthélémé (742), are continuing to make headway towards the finish line, the latter skipper’s jury rig proving to be particularly effective. No longer officially racing after requesting assistance, Briton Joe Lacey is also gradually closing on Martinique on a course along the great circle route.


                  Ranking on Wednesday 13 November at 16:00 UTC


                  1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 205.5 miles from the finish
                  2- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 106.1 miles behind the leader
                  3- Morten Bogacki (934 – Otg Lilienthal) 277.4 miles behind the leader


                  1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 355.6 miles from the finish
                  2- Benjamin Ferré (902 – Imago Incubateur D’aventures) 87.3 miles behind the leader
                  3- Nicolas D’Estais (905 – Cheminant – Ursuit) 88.2 miles behind the leader
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

         Photo Gallery


                  • #24
                    Francis Jambou Takes Line Honors In 2019 Mini Transat

                    Proto: François Jambou-Navigateur-Course au large
                    Arrived Thursday 14 November at 18 pm 00 minutes 07 seconds.
                    Time elapsed: 12 days 02 hours 27 minutes 07 seconds from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to le Marin Bay, Martinique.

                    Reactions from François Jambou-Navigateur-Course au large, first boat to the sailor!

                    "I am very moved and I have trouble realizing. I made a lot of sacrifices that make sense today with this victory. My whole life has been turned around this, to be able to get there. I haven't had a salary in a year and a half because I stopped working. Lately I haven't been very present for my 3 year old son. My companion has been behind me, I thank her because without her I could never have done that. This victory will change my life, there will be a before and after. " "

                    "I was in a mode where you shouldn't break the boat, I had my feet on the brake at first, maybe the others wanted to go too fast from the start and broke. I was really in medium speed mode, there were plenty of moments when I could have shot more on the boat but as soon as it hit, as soon as there was a strange noise in the boat I was a little bit, while watching the Ranking. I didn't feel like doing the crazy because it's not in my nature. At The GPS when you see that there are 1 miles left to go, we don't want to do them under fortune rig. We are sailors before being of. " "

                    "We had fun conditions, always at the door. I put a spi at the start and I was just there, I DID ONLY 1 thousand close. It was a great navigation. The boat was high all the time. There were beautiful landscapes, of suns, we couldn't dream better. Mentally it was harder, I had a hard time managing the stress of the competition. It's quite an experience, I feel like I've made a lot of progress, to have understood a lot of things and that's rewarding too. I didn't have the claim to be able to win because there were great sailors, great boats and on the first stage I missed a little success at the end. " "

                    "You had to get into the game from the start, which was not obvious because we were picked directly with strong wind. I was just behind Marie Gendron when she broke, I saw others leave. It still takes a bit of success because the bullshit hangs on us all: the object we're going to hit, the wind swing that is not announced. A lot of trouble, it can happen to everyone. " "

                    " The mini-Transat is the race of my life. I've never dreamed of making the route du rhum or the vendée globe. I came to sail on the late, around 16 years old. For me the mini-Transat was Mr. Everyone's race and I thought I had access to it one day. Winning this race is amazing! " "

                    "There is a sailor who impressed me, it's ambrogio. I think he's the best sailor I've ever seen. He's impressive. Getting drunk with standard boats as if they were the best protos, it was a major fact of the race. I completely hallucinated. Necessarily when the wind has a little molli, with my boat more powerful, lighter, I got away, but nevertheless there's a hell of a level in mini and it's good for the class, it's good for sport. " "
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

           Photo Gallery