Brit takes lead in Mini Transat

but then loses it again in transatlantic battle of the dwarf boats

Wednesday October 17th 2001, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Behemoth British multihull sailor Brian Thompson (above) briefly had a taste of victory yesterday when he pulled his 21ft Simon Rogers-designed skiff Lighthouse Life Foundation into pole position in the Transat 6.50 Charente Maritime-Bahia (better known as the Mini Transat). The morning round of position updates showed Thompson 10 miles ahead of the three French favorites - Yves le Blevec, Yannick Bestaven and Ronan Guerin - with another British sailor, Simon Curwen, holding on to the fifth place he acquired yesterday.

Both Thompson and Curwen benefitted when extra pressure came in from the left hand side of the course. For a while they surged ahead until the others picked up the breeze too. Unfortunately by the afternoon position report (see page two), le Blevec had regained his lead.
Yesterday afternoon the front runners were 130 miles from the mark at the Cape Verdes. They are due to pass the islands of Sâo Antaô and Sâo Vicente, sometime this morning. Tactically this could open up opportunities for the skippers who will have to be careful to play the variable winds around the islands to their maximum benefit.

Currently the wind is fairly constant throughout the fleet with boats sailing at 6-7 knots in a 10-15 knot north easterly breeze.

A fight between the leading girls is going on with Jeanne Gregoire on board in eighth and Aberdeen Asset Management's Sam Davies in ninth.

Several boats have decided to stop into the port of Mindelo on the Cape Verde outlet of Sâo Vincente. These include Antoine Cornic on Oceanicand Okolé Manula and Eric de Froidmont. Eric Vassard, who suffered a blow to the head and broke his boom has retired to Tenerife. Armel Tripon is also retiring and is en route back to the Canaries.

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