Brit Minis take to the high sea

Peter Scandling reports from the start of the Mini class' Demi Cle race

Sunday July 7th 2002, Author: Peter Scandling, Location: United Kingdom


35 Minis left Locmiquelic at lunchtime today, en route to Ireland, among them several Brits hoping to qualify for next year's Mini Transat.

The 2002 Demi-Cle will take the competitors from Brittany to East Ferry, Cork. Following a two night stopover they head south for the Fastnet Rock where they will spend a further two days in Baltimore, Ireland, before heading for the finish line in Lorient.

The prologue race was held on Saturday afternoon in 10-15kts of westerly breeze. Following a clean start it was the Magnen design, Sojasun who led at the first mark, closely followed by Nick Bubb on Deception, with All Mer in third. Irishman Cian McCarthy sailing his newly launched Owen-Clark design (above) was also in the lead pack, and being his first race was happy to discover his boat to be on the pace.

The beat to the top mark allowed the first six boats to break away, and the run home provided little opportunity for the chasing pack to make up ground. All Mer crossed the finish first, closely followed by Morpheon and Sojasun.

The British sailors had a good day. Cian McCarthy finished fourth with Nick Bubb in sixth. Ian Munslow and James Bird finished mid-fleet with Steve Simpson bringing up the tail having broken a jockey pole and his mini sprit.

For today's Demi Cle, following consultation with the participating skippers the race organisers have decided to run the event on a points system as opposed to elapsed time. The two longer legs will count for double points.

Today at 1200 local time the 35 21 footers crossed the start line, heading out into the Atlantic. The fleet managed a clean start in 8-10 kts of breeze from the southwest. At the first mark French Olympic windsurfer Frederic Duthil on All Mer held a narrow lead over Brit Nick Bubb on Deception. The following pack rounded together amongst them Ian Munslow, Steve Simpson, and Cian McCarthy. James Bird held back at the start and rounded the mark toward the back of the fleet. The fleet settled into a procession for beat out past the Ile de Groix.

For the competitors this is more than just another yacht race. In order to qualify for next year's Mini Transat competitors must complete 1,000 racing miles so for the majority of the fleet successful completion of this race will see them reach that milestone in their campaigns.

As Seb Magnen, two time winner of the Transat and leading designer said "if you don’t qualify this year then I think you will not make it to La Rochelle", referring to the start of next year's Mini Transat which starts from La Rochelle in September.

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