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Thread: Mini Transat Now Just 5 Days Out

  1. #11
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    1st Boats Due In Sunday Morning

    Less than two days till the verdict!



    The leaders in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère have passed the latitude of Madeira this evening. Though they can almost glimpse the finish of this first leg to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the end of the course promises to be a bit of a struggle in light airs. The first ETAs are likely from Sunday morning. For now, François Jambou (prototype) and Ambrogio Beccaria (production boat) are holding rank up front. Astern, numerous competitors are lamenting technical woes, which are more or less complicated to deal with. On a pit stop since Tuesday in La Coruña, Jonathan Chodkiewiez has announced his retirement.

    TRACKER

    The women and men signed up for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère will have certainly earned a warm welcome on their arrival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria! Whatever their ranking, they’ll have to battle right the way to the finish, get on top of their fatigue and possible technical issues, and contend with a fickle weather forecast.


    Reaching the denouement

    At the 16:00 UTC position report, François Jambou (865) was only 200 miles from the finish, still trailed by Axel Tréhin (945) and Tanguy Bouroullec (969). Italian Ambrogio Beccaria (943), leader in the production boat category, had 270 miles to go at the same time. Given the expected weather conditions, that’s both a little and a lot! Indeed, the wind is set to continue to drop away dramatically and the approach on the Canaries promises to be complicated. The front runners will have to exploit every little vein of breeze, which won’t be easy given the little weather information they have at their disposal. In both categories, there might well be a last-minute upset in the ranking.




    A race against the clock for David Kremer near Vigo and Louis-Xavier Lamiraud on a pit stop in Peniche, whilst Luca Rosetti’s tracker is now working


    David Kremer (260) is still on a pit stop in Baiona, in northern Spain, after the transom pulled out of his prototype. However, a kind act of solidarity is in force as two of David’s friends have hit the road to help him get the prototype out of the water and re-laminate and reinforce the transom. However, it’s a race against the clock to complete the repairs and head back out onto the racetrack within the 72 hours permitted for a pit stop.

    Louis-Xavier Lamiraud (479) has made it to the port of Peniche, to the North of Lisbon. He’s broken the system connecting his autopilot and his back-up system isn’t playing ball. Louis-Xavier plans to effect repairs and hit the racetrack again as soon as possible.

    At the request of Race Management, Luca Rosetti (342) has fired up his emergency positioning beacon. Luca is well and can now be located on the cartography once more.



    Pit stop for Yann Blondel, repairs mid-ocean for Marie-Amélie Lénaerts


    There is certainly a flurry of technical woes at the moment. Yann Blondel (836) will be stopping off at Leixões, near Porto, though he is yet to indicate the nature of the problems he’s encountered. Marie-Amélie Lénaerts (833) is experiencing an issue with her steering system. The Belgian sailor is currently hove to in a bid to repair it. Guillaume Coupé (906) has hit a UFO (unidentified floating object) and is checking his boat hasn’t suffered too much. As for Morten Bogacki (934) and Damien Garnier (788), it’s likely they’re encountering autopilot problems. Valiantly bringing up the rear after his pit stop, Briton Joe Lacey is zigzagging his way around the north-west tip of Spain and in another 39 hours or so the wind should actually turn in his favour at last! For certain sailors then, the 1,350 miles separating La Rochelle and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have become quite an epic…



    Accessing the Mini-Transat from… Poland



    Poland’s links with the Mini-Transat date right back to the very first edition of the race, which in 1977 set sail from Penzance in the UK, bound for Antigua via Tenerife. Of the 23 entries, Pole Kasimierz Jaworski (Spanielek) sailed an absolute blinder to secure a much deserved second place. Today, there are actually 7 Mini 6.50s based in Poland – ranging from a virtual museum piece, prototype No.29 built way back in 1989, right up to three much more modern production and prototype boats with numbers upward of 900. The newest of these is No.961 (Michal Weselak Racing) skippered by Michal Weselak, who is the only Pole in this 2019 edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère.



    Michal describes his journey to the Mini-Transat start line before setting sail from La Rochelle: “I started sailing just 8 years ago during my studies. I thought it would be good for me and that I might have a talent for it. My work relates to educating young people back in Poland aboard sail training ships, by showing them what life at sea is all about and how to sail. One night, whilst on watch aboard the ship, I decided that I needed something more in my life if I too was to become a better sailor, which is my main goal in this race. I thought about which class would be the best way to get experience. Imoca is too expensive for me and it’s not on my horizon back in Poland; the same is true for the Class40 and the Figaro. Then the idea of the Mini came to me and for a couple of months I researched ways to get aboard one. My Polish friend Radoslaw Kowalczyk, who’s done the Mini Transat himself, has the old boat 790, so that was my ticket onto the scene through rebuilding her and starting to learn how to sail her efficiently. It’s taken about 3 seasons to learn the necessary skills, how to work on deck, how to splice and so on. I then managed to scrape together enough money to buy the fully carbon 961 and I’ve been putting in a lot of work preparing her for this race.”

    Michal has had a particularly tough journey to the start line, at times being so short of money that he hasn’t been able to afford to buy bread. Speaking to him it’s evident that he has always had fire in his belly though, and this is what is driving him down the Atlantic, nearly level with the Strait of Gibraltar in 16th place in the prototype fleet at 16:00 UTC this Friday.



    “It’s very hard accessing the Mini from Eastern Europe because it’s about 3 times more expensive for us than it is for French sailors, for whom all the relevant networks are readily available and accessible. I’m now completely broke, but there are things you can’t buy in life. Happiness is one of them and I hope I will take that away from this race, and I also hope to learn lots for my career and for my life going forward. Racing a Mini competitively isn’t just about learning to be a good sailor. It teaches you how to manage your life. You have to manage your budget, the work on deck, the transport of the boat and the logistics. This is important for my career as I am still young. The Mini Class is hard to access when you’re not French, especially when you don’t speak the language and Poland is a poor country by comparison. However, if ever you have any questions regarding your boat, fellow sailors will help you so it is like a big family. I feel very welcome here, especially from the organisation and other overseas competitors and I’ve met some very nice sailors here of all nationalities.”



    Like a number of the competitors, Michal had to quit his job in order to find the time to get out on the water and amass a decent amount of experience on the Mini circuit to prepare every element of his boat. In this way, he’s managed to compete in 2 Battle of Gotland races, 3 Around Gotlands, 2 Szczecin-Gdansk races including a race record and the 1000 Mile North Sea Race. In 2019, he’s completed the Gran Premio d’Italia, Mini en Mai, the Marie-Agnes Peron Trophy and the Mini Transat, usually finishing around mid-fleet.

    “I feel nervous about this race. It’s my first transatlantic passage. I feel that my boat is well-prepared though and I think I have a safe boat. It’s all about balance at the end of the day.” Hopefully, within that balance he will find some time to give himself a good pat on the back because he’s worked really, really hard to get where he is today, powering through the Atlantic as his compatriot did 42 years ago.

    --------------

    Ranking on Friday 11 October at 16:00 UTC

    PROTOTYPE

    1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 200.6 miles from the finish
    2- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 25.5 miles behind the leader
    3- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 38.9 behind the leader



    PRODUCTION

    1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 272.6 miles from the finish
    2- Félix De Navacelle (916 – Youkounkoun) 22.6 behind the leader
    3- Julien Letissier (869 – Reno Style) 27.6 behind the leader

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  2. #12
    Protos certainly are faster than production boats.

    Would have thought they would be closer.

  3. #13
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    Canaries Within Reach: Leader Under 20 NM


    TRACKER


    The denouement of the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère is imminent in the prototype category! At 15:00 UTC this Sunday, François Jambou was just 30 miles from the finish in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Tanguy Bouroullec and Axel Tréhin were respectively 15 and 25 miles shy of the leader. François Jambou is expected on the finish line from 19:00 UTC. This estimate is subject to change given the very light wind conditions reigning over the Canaries. To follow this three-way match race up close, the cartography (https://www.minitransat.fr/en/follow-race/cartography) is now updating every hour. In the production boat category, victory is likely to be played out between Ambrogio Beccaria and Félix de Navacelle. At 15:00 UTC, Ambrogio was leading the way some 80 miles from the finish. The podium for the production boats should be revealed tomorrow, Monday.



    François Jambou leads the fleet and Proto Division


    This was not really the scenario that the favourites in the prototype category had envisaged when they set sail from La Rochelle on Saturday 2 October. François Jambou, Tanguy Bouroullec, Axel Tréhin and the others were expecting a very quick race and the routing was promising. However, experienced sailors as they are, they knew only too well that it certainly wasn’t a done deal.



    Ambrogio Beccaria Leads The Series Division


    Denouement this evening (or tonight?) in the prototype category


    The 1,350 miles leading to Las Palmas have been complex and punctuated by a wide range of weather conditions that have really put the sailors to the test. The finale in light airs is doubtless especially demanding. François Jambou, Tanguy Bouroullec and Axel Tréhin will be the first to tell all on the pontoons in Las Palmas. At 15:00 UTC, François Jambou seemed well placed to take the win, just 30 miles from the finish line and racking up about 5 knots of boat speed. He might well cross the line at around 19:00 UTC, that is unless the wind drops right away off Las Palmas turning the last few miles into a very hard slog, made all the harder by having two of your closest pursuers breathing down your neck.

    Verdict tomorrow in the production boat category

    Given the light wind conditions, it’s hard to go by the routing and establish a precise ETA for the different skippers. In the production boat category, we’ll very likely discover the podium winners in the second half of the day. At 15:00 UTC, Ambrogio Beccaria was still leading the fleet, tailed by Félix de Navacelle and Julien Letissier, the latter likely to be pleasantly surprised by his performance in this first leg. Tomorrow, we’re expecting a great slew of arrivals as there is a compact group hot on the heels of the top trio.


    83 skippers out on the racetrack and some substantial separation

    Yesterday evening, following on from the retirement of Czech skipper Pavel Roubal (908), Jonathan Chodkiewiez (958) and Jean-Baptiste Ternon (880), a fourth retirement was announced by Yann Blondel (836), who decided that he didn’t have enough time to effect repairs in Leixões near Porto. Indeed, on top of energy issues, he also lost use of his autopilot and had a broken rudder pintle.

    Lamenting some technical issues but not planning a pit stop at this stage are Guillaume Coupé (906), who hit a whale 3 days ago, causing popping of the structural floor of his boat and movement of the keel. Inevitably the boat has suffered some delamination, which he hopes to repair in the Canaries and, in the meantime, he is not pushing the boat too hard. Spanish sailor Miguel Rondon (954) has no power aboard but is continuing his race. The rudder fitting on the boat skippered by Axelle Pillain (781) has unscrewed itself and cracked so she’s strapped it up in a bid to make it safe. As for Thomas Gaschignard (539) and Bruno Simmonet (757), their energy woes are presently resolved thanks to Saturday’s sunshine.

    Back out on the racetrack at last, Briton Joe Lacey (963) has finally got Cape Finisterre behind him and is making nearly 5 knots en route to the Canaries and David Kremer is making around 7 knots in more favourable conditions off the coast of Portugal. Both courageous skippers are sure to be delighted to finally be heading in the right direction after their technical issues…

    -
    https://www.minitransat.fr/en/news/theyre-coming
    --------------

    Ranking on Sunday 13 October at 15:00 UTC

    PROTOTYPE

    1- François Jambou (865 – Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune) 30.1 miles from the finish
    2- Tanguy Bouroullec (969 – Cerfrance) 15.5 miles behind the leader
    3- Axel Tréhin (945 – Project Rescue Ocean) 25.5 miles behind the leader




    PRODUCTION

    1- Ambrogio Beccaria (943 - Geomag) 80.1 miles from the finish
    2- Félix De Navacelle (916 – Youkounkoun)10.5 miles behind the leader
    3- Julien Letissier (869 – Reno Style) 25.1 miles behind the leader

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  4. #14
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    Podium Places Decided In 1st Leg 2019 Mini Transat le Boulangere



    Production boats: Ambrogio Beccaria sails a blinder and Félix De Navacelle and Matthieu Vincent complete the podium
    Crossing the finish line in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at 04:30 UTC, Ambrogio Beccaria took the win in the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, after 8 days, 19 hours, 52 minutes and 07 seconds of racing. Event favourite in the production boat category, the Italian skipper held rank despite a complex scenario and a tightly bunched pack of pursuers on his tail. Félix De Navacelle secured second place, 1 hour and 43 minutes behind Ambrogio and Matthieu Vincent completed the podium (2 hours and 40 minutes behind the winner).

    Here’s the low-down from these three sailors.


    Series


    Ambrogio Beccaria

    1st Ambrogio Beccaria (Geomag): “I am so happy! I didn’t think I was in the lead. Yesterday morning, I didn’t listen to the weather and the rankings as I was sure I’d lost all the lead I’d had overnight. I thought everyone was positioned to the West and with the breeze kicking back in from the South-West, I believed I’d lost it all, especially as I knew that Félix was very close. As such, I stopped myself sleeping and eating for at least 15 hours in a bid to sail as quickly as possible and not have any regrets. I seriously doubted myself. I told myself that it wasn’t serious, that if I was third that was still good. I first started doubting that when I heard the sailors on the prototypes talking over the VHF and thought how strange it was. In the end, I discovered that everyone was positioned to the East. I’ve taken the win in this first leg and it’s really very cool! We had some very varied conditions. I wasn’t expecting a leg like that at all. It was very hard on the nerves. Exiting Biscay was complicated: the pressure at the start, the sea state, everyone was a bit sick… After that, we really pushed hard along the coast of Portugal to end up with these calm conditions at the finish. It was terrible! I’m pleased to have been the first to finish. After that, it’s a race against the clock. If I’m first with a 10-minute lead that’s not very much, if it’s 2-3 hours that’s already better. So I’m awaiting the arrival of Félix, I don’t know where he is.”




    Felix De Navacelle

    2nd Félix De Navacelle (Youkounkoun): “It’s been great to have managed to hold onto this position since Cape Finisterre ! Over the last two days, when you see how far it is to the finish, you say to yourself that you really have to pull out all the stops to hang on in there. The best moment was when I heard over the daily link-up that I was first for the first time: total ecstasy! That’s also where I discovered the pressure of no longer having anyone to chase. I tried all I could to ensure I had no regrets. There are plenty of times where you’re latent and unable to motivate yourself to do things. I forced myself to move, to stay active and clear-headed. I stuck to the recommended slots for sleeping. I’m ready to go again! I really got into the rhythm and I was really at ease aboard. The boat worked fantastically well. I had to climb to the top of the mast twice. Little adventures in themselves. I believe I managed to have fun in this race, which isn’t necessarily that easy on a Mini when you’re flat out.




    Matthew Vincent

    3rd Matthieu Vincent (L’Occitane en Provence): “I’m third?! Ah, I wasn’t aware! Wow, that’s great! It’s been a long hard battle. It took me 2-3 days to get into it as it was a bit hard to leave the family and I felt a lot of nostalgia. We had it all out there, happy times and some very tough times. I had a fair amount of damage, but just learning that I’m third makes me forget all the hardships I’ve had over the past 8 days. It’s incredible. It was a great leg but also very hard psychologically. As usual, I’ve struggled with the solitude and remoteness. As soon as you have people around you it’s okay, but as soon as I end up on my own, it’s hard to deal with. To my mind the Mini-Transat really is a personal challenge rather than my idea of fun. Today, I feel pretty proud of myself. I had a fair few incidents during this leg. I did a somersault! I knew the bow was burying in but not to that extent. I was on my knees putting a reef in the mainsail and the boat was submerged up to her mast almost and I was projected overboard. I ended up in the water, the boat drove down and then broached at 90°. It was mega full-on… On top of that I had to scale the mast for the first time at night, something I’ve never done and it was an opportunity to try it! The end of the course was cool. Battling with Amélie, Nico and Julien was really nice. We really had some good conditions, we were able to get some rest and get back into a normal rhythm of life, because quite honestly along the coast of Portugal it was really hardcore. Now it’s time to make the most of the atmosphere, friends and family who will come along and savour the good times.”


    *******************************


    Tréhin, Jambou, Bouroullec: The prototype podium done and dusted in 26 minutes!



    The denouement of the first leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère unfolded with incredible suspense in the prototype category overnight in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In very light airs, the three main movers and shakers of this 1,350-mile course setting sail from La Rochelle fought for victory right to the wire and ultimately it was Axel Tréhin who was first across the finish line (02:36 UTC) after 8 days, 17 hours, 58 minutes and 28 seconds of racing. Taking second was François Jambou (6 minutes and 22 seconds behind the winner) and Tanguy Bouroullec (26 minutes and 07 seconds after the first place). The three sailors give us the low-down on this extraordinary first act.


    Proto


    Axel Trehin

    1st Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean): “This first leg really had it all. There was breeze, less breeze, some upwind, some downwind and a bit of reaching…. There were moments where strategy was called for and others where pure speed was the order of the day. It was really interesting. We were expecting it to be a fairly quick straight line run after Cape Finisterre. In the end the game opened right back up and it was important to be versatile. I was beginning to fret yesterday. I said to myself that François (Jambou) and Tanguy (Bouroullec) had got there before the wind died, but then I heard some chatter on the VHF and understood that they were stuck next to each other. I was absolutely stoked! I positioned myself to the right of them and that’s exactly where the fresh breeze came from. I drew virtually level with them with the pressure. At the last minute, there was a big lift to the right, like a gift from heaven and that was it, a done deal! There is precious little separating me from François and Tanguy, we’re tied, except I won! That’s a great feeling going forward and certainly better than last time where I was 2nd in the first leg. Next up, I want to sail a good second leg to finish off the job. We’re really going to be given a run for our money so it’ll be a heck of a battle, but I’m not worried!”



    Francois Jambou

    2nd François Jambou (Team BFR Marée Haute Jaune): “I found this leg tough. Mentally, windless zones are complicated. The descent along the coast of Portugal was boisterous and you could easily have broken everything. To my mind, the boat was leaping like never before. The waves were really steep and it felt like the boat was going to open up every time. I had a great lead of up to 40 miles. When I arrived off Gran Canaria there was 10 knots of breeze and I couldn’t see anyone on the AIS. I thought I had the race in the bag, but that’s not how things panned out at all. Axel and Tanguy came back into the game with the pressure and there was nothing I could do. Axel was driving in at 8 knots and I was making 0. I got going again once he was beside me but I didn’t have the right sail. It’s hard to finish 2nd when you’ve led for five days, but that’s also what makes offshore racing so great; the fact that there are always twists and turns. It’s a race and we’re all keen to win. But I’m 2nd and I’m not going to be a spoilsport. I was beaten by a very good sailor. I’ve satisfied the objective I had at the start; I’m still in the game. Axel, Tanguy and I are tied. Outright victory is still very much within our grasp. I’m determined to succeed in the second leg.”





    Tanguy Bouroullec

    3rd Tanguy Bouroullec (Cerfrance): “I’m really happy to have made the finish and secured a spot on the podium! It was one hell of a finish with Axel and François. There was a lot of suspense at the end. It didn’t work out for me, but the gap isn’t catastrophic. I’d been trying to make a comeback for the past 3-4 days so as to limit the damage, because I knew that François had the edge. I lost some ground when I tore my medium spinnaker along the coast of Portugal so I finished the leg under-canvassed. All three of us arrived in Las Palmas together. Axel had a 7-mile deficit a few hours ago and just managed to overtake us at the end. It’s pretty crazy! After that, François and Axel finished with a match race two miles in front of me. It cost me a 26-minute deficit in the end but I’ll take that. It’s still all to play for in the second leg! The exit from the Bay of Biscay wasn’t easy. Two fronts rolled over the top of us. After that, the sea was really violent in the Portuguese trade winds. I had some breakage. It wasn’t easy. For two and half days it was pretty hard in fact and it was important to reduce your sail area so as not to break everything. The rest of the leg from there was fairly quiet. We had to dig deep to make up the ground on François, but conditions were nice. A bit of breeze and sunshine, the perfect way to finish! I wasn’t able to really put the foils to good use. I didn’t fly in the Portuguese trade wind, instead I was trying to stall my progress so as to avoid damage. However, they did enable me to make up some ground on François, and I made good headway.”



    *****************************

    A special mention to the two ladies below which were not only the 1st women in their respected divisions but also bot just narrowly off
    the podium for overall in the same!


    Amelie Grassi 5th in Series



    Marie Gendron 4th in Proto


    https://www.minitransat.fr/en
    Last edited by Photoboy; 10-15-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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  5. #15
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    2nd Leg Of Mini Transat Begins Saturday

    Green light for tomorrow’s start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère
    “This is what we signed up for!”

    It’s tomorrow, Saturday 2 November at 14:08 UTC that the start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère will set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria bound for Le Marin (Martinique). Following the withdrawal of Hendrik Witzmann due to injury, there will be 82 women and men setting off on this 2,700-mile passage, with some very fine conditions on the cards involving some established, steady trade winds. Torn between excitement and apprehension, the sailors have but one wish: to get on their way! Among the prototypes and the production boats, the matches remain wide open.





    Hendrik Witzmann withdraws, 82 sailors at the start


    Hendrik Witzmann completed the first leg between La Rochelle and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a fine 16th place in the production fleet. Unfortunately, this resident of the United Arab Emirates is suffering from a knee injury (torn meniscus) meaning that it would be unreasonable for him to take on the big crossing to Martinique. As such, 82 sailors will be setting sail tomorrow at 14:08 UTC from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 21 in the prototype fleet and 61 in the production boat fleet.


    Gearing up for a quick second leg


    Conditions at the start are forecast to be very good. “The trade wind is getting back into position in the Canaries”, explains Christian Dumard, meteorologist for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. “For the start, there will be around ten knots of breeze on the coast, then 15 knots as the competitors get further offshore. The first challenge will involve skilfully negotiating their way around the wind shadows created by the islands. There will be some options on the cards. The trade wind will be well established (15 to 25 knots) for the first week, with some good sailing conditions, though it’ll be important to get a handle on the squalls. The first prototypes could well take between 11 and 12 days to make the crossing.”


    “The situation is quite well settled and that’s great for the competitors. I’d really like to set sail in such conditions”, smiles Denis Hugues, Race Director.



    Prototype: “Battle like the devil”

    In the prototype category, the race for victory remains wide open and the top three are effectively starting over from scratch. Axel Tréhin, winner of the first leg, has a lead of just 6 minutes over François Jambou and 56 minutes over Tanguy Bouroullec. The latter copped a penalty of 30 minutes for losing an onboard water bottle. “When you see how little there is separating us, it’s like we’re on level pegging”, explains Axel. “The match remains wide open. We’re going to have to battle like the devil”, Tanguy agrees. As for François, he points out that other competitors may well join the mix in the battle for the podium, starting with Marie Gendron (4th), Fabio Muzzolini (5th) and Erwan Le Méné (6th).


    Production boats: “The equivalent of a hundredth of a second in a 100m sprint”

    In the production boat category, Ambrogio Beccaria has a lead of 1hr43 over Félix de Navacelle and 2hr40 over Matthieu Vincent. “If we were to draw a comparison with another sport, this would correspond with a hundredth of a second in a 100m sprint”, explains Ambrogio. “We’re soon going to be putting pedal to the metal and each of us will sail our own race. Trying to defend a lead of around 1hr40 would be senseless. Everyone will have problems to deal with and you can very quickly lose an hour.” Matthieu Vincent points out that a number of parameters will come into play: “Among the front runners, we all have the same boats (Pogo 3) and virtually the same speeds. The race will be decided on the trajectories, on who has fewer problems than the others, on maintaining good average speeds and on keeping up a constant rhythm throughout the passage.” Among the production boats, the top seven are grouped within 4hrs and the 10th boat (Florian Quenot) is 6 hours shy of the leader.




    -----------------------

    Reactions from the sailors on the eve of the start of the second leg:



    Guillaume L’Hostis (12th in the production boat category): “I’m keen to get going. I feel confident. In sporting terms, I’m lying in ambush and that suits me down to the ground. I don’t have the pressure on my shoulders. I intend to have some fun, make the most of it and give my all. It’s no secret that we’re going to have to send it! Clearly, there’s an element of stress, mainly regarding breakage and putting yourself in danger. That gets the adrenalin pumping a bit, but that’s what we were after. The weather’s shaping up to be nice with wind, waves and everything you need to make the most of the trade winds.”



    Antoine Perrin (14th in the prototype category): “The first leg was tough, but I’m fired up to get back out there and make the most of the solitude. I’ve been preparing for this moment for the past two years. The latest routing shows a fairly quick race. We’ll have to play around with the wind shifts and watch out for the squalls. They’ll be some moves to be played from the get-go. Some options could be had in the passage around Gran Canaria, with some oscillations in the wind to exploit.”


    Thomas Gaschignard (35th in the production boat category): “The pressure’s rising, but I feel positive as we’re in line for some fantastic conditions. It’ll be the same downwind conditions right to the finish line. That’s what we signed up for! The first leg was fairly complicated at some points. This time, the trade winds will kick in throughout the race and it’s going to be magical. With my Pogo 2, I think it’ll take 16-17 days.”



    Sébastien Liagre (36th in the production boats): “Lots of things are going round my head, excitement, apprehension, impatience… We’ve been preparing for this moment for a long time. I’m keen to get going and coming face to face with the ocean on my own. Last year I took 13 days to get to the Azores with my Mini and the trip went really well. This time, it’s going to be even longer.”


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  6. #16
    Mini madness part two!

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

  7. #17
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    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.”









    https://www.minitransat.fr/en/news/c...-la-boulangere
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    Superb 1st 48 Hours For Mini Transat Fleet



    TRACKER


    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

    PROTOTYPE

    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

    PRODUCTION

    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

    https://www.minitransat.fr/en/news/atlantic-chessboard
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  9. #19
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    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

    PROTOTYPE

    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

    PRODUCTION

    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
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    1/3rd Of Way Completed In 4 Days


    TRACKER

    JAMBOU AND BECCARIA SOLID LEADERS, TWO SAILORS SET TO MAKE A PIT STOP IN THE CAPE VERDE ARCHIPELAGO


    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

    PROTOTYPE
    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

    PRODUCTION
    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

    https://www.minitransat.fr/actualites
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