Hard going for the Minis

Top Brit lies fifth while race favourite loses mast

Monday September 24th 2001, Author: Uk Classe Mini/Rya Solo, Location: United Kingdom

South westerly winds are making it hard going for the fleet ­ what was forecast to be a nice downwind skiff-ride around Finistere will now revert to a more usual upwind bash.

Race favourite Ronan Guerin has joined the list of casualties, following his dismasting and is currently making way to a port in northern Spain were he will be met by fellow Figaro sailors who will help him repair the damage and rejoin the race.

Also hoping to rejoin will be Paul Peggs who was dismasted on the first night. He is due to arrive today in Santander where he will be met by fellow Mini sailor Paul 'Morse' Blaker who has removed the mast from his boat (a sistership to Peggs' Blue One) and has driven down to help Paul complete the repair.

These bring the list of damaged boats to eight. None have resulted in injury, but at this stage it is impossible to tell how many will be able to repair their boats and rejoin the event.

For the rest it has been a case of surviving a period of fairly bad weather requiring many of them to sail under deep reefed mainsail alone. Now in the headwinds, it will be a tactical game of chess to fight south, down to Portuguese Trades and the sleigh ride down to the stopover in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

Top non-French skipper at present in the Proto fleet is Briton Simon Curwen on QDS (above). If there was a favoured list of skippers for non pros, Simon would certainly be near the top sailing his Lombard designed red flyer ­ one of the most photographed Minis in history!

Although not showing in the classification, top female is Sam Davies, also of Britain and one of the top pros in the race.

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