Mini Pavois preview
60 solo skippers are set to start the Mini Pavois from La Rochelle on 4 May. This is one of the all-important qualifying races for the 2011 Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6,50 for which the entry list will open in December.
Organised by the Grand Pavois, the Mini Pavois is the third race on the Atlantic coast for the Classe Mini's 2010 season following the Demi-Clé 6.50 and the Select 6.50. For the Minis, it will is the longest race this season at 800 nautical miles. This year, the sixth time the biennial race has been held, the Mini Pavois will head south for the fourth time, with a 300 miles crossing of the Bay of Biscay and a stopover in Gijón in northern Spain followed by a 500 mile return leg back to La Rochelle via southern Brittany.
Today, 41 sailors have registered for this year's Mini Pavois. So these there are 18 protos and 23 series boats: 26 French sailors, 1 dual nationality sailor and 14 non-French. Once again, the internationalisation of the Classe Mini speaks for itself with Spain's Jorge Maden Ruiz, the first Turkish Mini sailor in Tolga Pamir, Czech Republic's Milan Kolacek, two Americans in Andy Abel and Ryan Finn, two Dutchmen in Robert Rosen Jacobson and Lucas Schroder, Scot Ewan Stirling, Jonas Gerckens from Belgium, Bruce Gailey from Canada, Germany's Jorg Riechers, Swiss ailor Etienne David, Franco-Swiss sailor Thibault Reinhart and finally, New Zealander Conrad Colman. But sadly, no Brits.
Although they are currently 'only' 41 registered; it will fight hard in both classes. Among the hot contenders in the Protos are Nicolas Boidevezi (719 - Défi G.D.E.) on his 2008 Bertrand design, who finished 7th in last year's Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50; Jorg Riechers (753 - Mare.de) on its another Bertrand design this time from 2009 which was the 2009 Transgascogne winner, and Sébastien Rogues (716 – Eole Génération – GDF Suez) that has traded his series boat for Henry Paul Schipman's Lombard design (read more about this here) that was third into Salvador de Bahia in the 2009 Transat. Swiss Tour Voile veteran Etienne David (679 - Teamwork) is racing Stéphane Le Diraison's former 2007 Manuard design that finished fourth in the last Mini Transat.
There are three new prototypes: Thomas Normand (787 – Financière de l’Echiquier) with a 2009 Manuard design, Milan Kolacek (759 - Follow me) on another 2009 Manuard design and Thibault Reinhard (791) on a 2010 prototype Marin design.
The only woman (for now) competing is Véronique Loisel (429 – De l’espace pour la mer) racing the 2003 Lombard Proto that belonged to Alex Pella and that finished second in the 2005 Mini Transat.
A new arrival on the Mini circuit is that extreme skiing World Champion Aurélien Ducroz (417 – Nissan) who is sailing another Lombard-designed Proto. She is looking for a new challenge - this time at sea!
Among the series boats, Pogo 2s once again dominate with 14 lining up for the start. In addition there will be two Manuard-designed Tip-Tops sailed by Jorge Maden Ruiz (636 – Casio G-Shock) and French journalist extraordinary Loïc Le Bras (579 – Cachaca). There will also be three new D2 s - designed by Pierre Rolland - in the hands of Tolga Pamir (737 - Yakamoz), Pierre Cizeau (746 - E=MD2) and Brendan Archin (757 - Bibounde). Will they shattered the Pogo 2 supremacy?
Four competitors returning following on from sailing in the 2009 Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50, namely Robert Rosen Jacobson (602-Ned602), Jonas Gerckens (473 - Zerline), Emmanuel Renaud (446 - Koati) and Conrad Colman (480 - Betelgeuse).