Inshore option for Thompson

Mini Pavois leaders expected in Portsmouth Wednesday afternoon

Tuesday May 22nd 2001, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
Brian Thompson, British favourite in the Mini class, was hoping to make better progress as the singlehanded Mini-Pavois boats sailed along the south coast of the UK bound for Portsmouth. The collection of 21ft Minis had to round the Eddystone light off Plymouth and then had to set off into 15-18 knot north easterlies up the coast. Having to beat upwind this has made the end of the first leg of the Mini-Pavois much more tactical. Hopefully local knowledge will pay off for Thompson who comes from Devon and is now sailing in his own backyard.

Both Thompson and fellow British competitor Paul Peggs, currently lying ninth, seem to have taken the option of hugging the coast to stay out of the tide, while the race leaders have gone offshore. At the head of the fleet yesterday's leader Ronan Guerin and Arnaud Boissieres have swopped places with Boissieres on board the Magnen-Nivelt designed Mayflower holding top position now.

Other Brits in the fleet include madforsailing contributor Sam Davies who is currently lying in 18th place, while Mike Inglis and Ian Munslow it seems may be match racing, lying 21st and 22nd in the prototype fleet in which 32 remain racing. Another English speaking competitor is American Gale Browning, currently 29th in the 'proto' class. She is racing a 1999 Groupe Finot designed Mini.

In the One Design class Belgium Denis van Weynbergh is still holding on the lead on board the Pogo Paneb.

The first boats are due to arrive in Portsmouth on Wednesday afternoon. If you want to see these extraordinary boats they will be moored up at the brand new Gunwharf Quay. They're well worth a look. It was in this class that Ellen MacArthur got her first taste of solo offshore racing four years ago. They are also a development class. Many have the most complicated articulating bowsprit arrangements and some of the keel systems are even more amazing. In the Open 60 class many boats have canting keel. On Minis this is old hat. Some boats have keels that not only cant but can be moved fore and aft along a track (as on Thompson' boat). On others the keel can be canted and twisted to give better lift when going upwind. See them and you find it hard to believe that the lucky few will be setting sail for Brazil come September.

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