Pip Hare on the Mini

Photo: www.massimopersiani.it
Pip Hare tells Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker about the solo class for the next Solent 650, the new Transat course and her new role at the RNLI
For most Mini sailors, the big news of the past few weeks has been the announcement of the final course and dates for next year’s Transat. At a meeting at their home base on 27 October, new French race hosts Douarnenez Courses revealed that the 19th edition of the solo race will start at 1313 hours on 13 October, 2013 and include a stopover in Arrecife, Lanzarote on route to the finish in Guadeloupe. Yet for top British Mini-ist Pip Hare the more significant announcement came a week later with the release by Classe Mini of the provisional race schedule for 2013 and the news that the second edition of the Solent 650 will be open to solo as well as doublehanded entrants. “It’s brilliant, it’s an absolute coup,” says Hare. “It means that in future UK sailors could, over a two-year period, qualify for the Mini Transat without leaving British waters, which makes a huge difference.” Classe Mini rules require entrants for Category A contests – which includes the Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables race as well as the Mini Transat – to have completed 1,000nm of racing in their boats, including a singlehanded race and one with a leg of more than 500nm. With the addition of a solo class for the 290nm Solent 650, itself a feeder for the Royal Western YC's 565nm UK Mini Fastnet, UK Mini sailors will for the first time be able to satisfy this requirement without having to compete on the continent. There are also signs that the new solo Solent 650 could attract a sizeable non-British contingent. Race organiser Keith Willis reports that following the announcement the race website has received more hits from the Netherlands than from the UK. Hare adds that she expects considerable interest in the new class from French Ministes, given how favourably the course