Mini match race
For various reasons the Challenge Business' first foray into organising races for the Mini class has not been successful. Only two boats have shown up to take part in what it was hoped would become (and still in the future could become) a classic event in the Mini calendar of equal stature to the Mini Fastnet and the TransGascoigne qualification races for the class' main event of the year - September's Mini Transat.
The two 21ft ocean-going skiffs taking part are Scotsman Alan Crichton's Speedy Pym and Jeremy Grogono in the highly refined Finot-Conq design sailed by America's Cup hydrodynamicist Peter Heppel in the last Mini Transat. Disabled sailor Stuart Boreham and Brian Thompson were supposed to also take part but pulled out because of the bad weather forecast.
Due to the poor entry and the bad weather, organiser Andrew Bishop told madforsailing that they will be changing course. The boats will go to Cowes tonight and from there to Cork on Thursday or Friday. They will return from there to Portsmouth next week. The original concept for the race was to be a triangle course from Portsmouth to St Malo, Cork and then back.
So why the poor turn out? Part of the reason is that, like the EDS Atlantic Challenge, the event is ambitious and does not come at an ideal time in the class' calendar.
"I think the main reason is that although a number of boats have been informed about the Mini Challenge Triangle, those that haven't qualified are doing the TransGascoigne in a couple of weeks time while those who are qualified don't want to push their boats when they could be getting ready for the Mini Transat," commented Bishop.
Bishop feels that it was wrong to hold the event in the same year as the bi-annual Mini Transat and for this reason they are looking to repeat the event in 2002. But the primary reason the event has not attracted the 50 or so Minis seen in Portsmouth during the Mini Pavois in May, is that it is not part of the official class calendar. "We need to get the race supported by the class association in France," said Bishop. "They haven't promoted it in any way."