Good British turn out for Mini-Fastnet

which leaves St Quay-Portrieux today

Sunday June 10th 2001, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
70 boats are due to set off today on the two-handed Mini-Fastnet race from St Quay-Portrieux in northern France, around the Fastnet Rock before returning to Douarnenez on the west Brittany coast. Among them is a strong British contingent.

To date former PlayStation helmsman Brian Thompson has had the most successful season on the Mini circuit behind professional Figaro sailor Ronan Guerin in the build up to September's Mini Transat. Thompson has scored a first, a second and a third place in the last three races and looks set for a similiar performance as the seemingly invincible Guerin - who has won the two races he has sailed in since his boat was launched - is not taking part. Thompson has teamed up with Tanguy de LaMotte for this race. De LaMotte is a yacht designer and former Kingfisher shore crew, who is now Thompson's shore support.

Two skippers who competed in the recent Mini-Pavois are back. Ian Munslow has Kingfisher designer and former BT skipper Merf Owen crewing for him. Munslow's Ishtar has come from the drawing board of the Owen Clarke Design Group and has a smart new suit of sails from North France and should do better in this race than his 23rd in the Mini-Pavois. Scottish competitor Michael Inglis who was on board Atomic is back at it following his 18th place in the Mini-Pavois, although his 14th place (out of 31 finishers in his class) in the second half of that event shows his form is coming on.

Sam Davies and Paul Peggs are not taking part in the Mini-Fastnet. They, along with Thompson, Mike Inglis and Simon Curwen (who has Lionel Lemonchois' Marc Lombard design from the last race - one of the best Minis afloat), have now qualified for the Mini Transat.

Although Ronan Guerin is not taking part in this event, two other significant presences have returned to the fleet. Crewing for Karen Liebovici on Karen Liquid is boyfriend and Mini guru Sebastien Magnen. The bear-like Magnen is a yacht designer (currently working with Bernard Nivelt) and has not only been responsible for knocking up some of the fastest boats in this class, but has won the last two Mini Transats. Also in the fleet is Dutchman and occasional Mini sailor Hans Bouscholte, who took over as skipper of the Dutch Whitbread 60 Brunel Sunergy in the last round the world race.

After Peter Heppel and Andrew Cape won the last running of this bi-annual event - will there be another British winner? Wait and see...

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