60 for the Mini Pavois

Including an impressive 18 non-French boats

Tuesday March 3rd 2009, Author: Veronique Largeau, Location: United Kingdom
60 skippers are preparing to set off on Wednesday 6 May on the Mini Pavois, one of this season's qualifier races for the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 in September. This solo race with stops is now into its fifth edition and will see the fleet heading south across the Bay of Biscay. After a stopover in Gijon, Spain, the boats will return to the Charente-Maritime via South Brittany and the Gironde Estuary - in total 800 miles.

As usual both Series and Proto minis will participate in the Mini Pavois. At present the entry list stands at 31 prototypes and 27 Series boats. Of the Series fleet, 21 are the popular Pogo 2s - examples of this Finot design from Structures have won their class in the last three Mini Transats, and in the Mini Pavios they will be up against two Super Calins, two Zeros, two Dingos and one Tip Tops. Three of the brand new Nacira Series boats will also be on the start line but racing as Protos as there are not yet more than 10 boats available.

Among the Prototypes there are four Manuard designs, of which the latest, 754, is being raced by Bertrand Delesne. There are also three Lombards, including the latest, 716, in the hands of Henry Paul Schipman as well as three Magnens, a Finot-Conq (which Isabelle Joschke campaigned in the last Mini), and other designs from Fisher, Berret-Racoupeau, Bertrand, Canivenc and De Beaufort…

Among the 60 entries 17 are non-French, from 11 different nationalities. These include Four Italians in Riccardo Apolloni, Luca Del Zozzo, Giancarlo Pedote and Juan-Carlos Oliva, two South Africans with Mat Trautman and Craig Horsfield, two Brits in Oliver Bond and Keith Willis, two Dutch in Robert Rosen Jacobson and Ysbrand Endt, one Scot Roos Turner, a Spaniard Anna Corbella, a Norwegian with Jordan Staal, a New Zealand in Conrad Colman, an American in Chris Tutmark, German Jorg Riechers and Brazilian Izabel Pimentel. Even some of the French have come from afar. Antoine Rioux is from New Caledonia!

Among the Series fleet the fight will be as ferocious as ever. The favourites are Bertrand Castelnérac (514 - No War), which proved in the last Charente-Maritime-Bahia Transat 6.50 [Mini Transat] what is achievable with a first generation Pogo. Sébastien Rogues (552 - Solent), Pierre-Yves Lautrou (579 - Altaïde moove), Davy Beaudart (674 - Dry Port Beaudart) and British skipper Oliver Bond (438 - Base Camp) are also in the running.

In the Proto class Thomas Ruyant (667 - Faber France) is back with the 2006 generation Finot-Conq, winner of the last Mini Pavois. Also to watch is Fabien Desprès (617 - Soitec) who finished third in the last Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50, Stéphane Le Diraison (679 - Cultisol) who is racing the Manuard prototype skippered by the designer himself in 2007Henry Paul Shipman (716 - Houses of the Future / Urbatys) is racing his new Lombard design, launched in 2008 while the latest Manuard is being skippered by Bertrand Delesne (754 - Raging Bull).

Among the foreigners Italian Juan Carlos Oliva (624 - Laylane), comes with top credentials having raced the America's Cup on +39 Challenge, in the TP52 from 2005 to 2007 and several titles in IMS World Championships....

Oliva's boat is the former Actual, Yves le Blévec's 2006 Lombard, which in 2007 won the Demi Clé 6.50, the Trophée Marie-Agnès Péron, the Transgascogne before establishing a new record (23d 03h 23m) when she won the last Charente-Maritime / Bahia Transat 6.50.

Mini Pavois 2009
La Rochelle start date: 6 May 2009
Route: La Rochelle / Gijon (Spain) / South Brittany / La Rochelle
Number of miles travelled: 800 miles or 1,481 km
Number of boats: 60
Organization: GPO
Presence of Boat: from 2 May at the Port of La Rochelle / Les Minimes – Pontoons 14 and 15

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