Flying bathtub leads the charge again
Ten hours into the race, and the front-runners of the Mini Fastnet are already out in the Channel. The Italian-French duo Pedote/Bourguès (Prysmian) has taken the lead in the Proto fleet, while ‘the pair from Finistère’ Cloarec/Mahé on Lomig is leading the Series.
It’ll be a calm night as far as the weather’s concerned, but not so calm for the competitors who will need to contend with maritime traffic and whatever the winds might throw at them.
From 0600, the 110 sailors competing in the 2013 Mini Fastnet left the pontoons of the Winches Club and, set off on the Mini Fastnet at 0800 with a 15-knot northwesterly to get them out of the Bay of Douarnenez. With the wind building as they headed out at sea, so the competitors soon pulled away from the Breton coast, helped by a favourable current.
In the Protos, a group of four boats has already managed to break free. At the head of the fleet – although they’re sailing closehauled and in moderate downwind conditions is Trophee MAP winner, the Scow-bowed Prysmian sailed by Giancarlo Pedote and Laurent Bourguès. Hot on their heels are two strong pairs going of Maslard/Marette on the newly launched Groupe Sefico and Gahinet/Mouly on Watever - Nautipark. Just behind them, less than one nautical mile from the front-runners, there’s Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on Mare.
The rest of the pack is a little distance behind, a shade slower but snapping at their heels. For the moment, the last Proto is trailing at about one hour behind.
In the Series class, the frontrunners are a more grouped together but four boats have managed to gain a slight lead. Out in front are Damien Cloarec/Gildas Mahé on Lomig, then not far behind, the female duo of Mettraux/Joschke on Teamwork. Davy Beaudart/Simon Koster (GO4IT) and Antoine Guillou/Julien Marcelet (Région Nord Pas de Calais) complete the lineup of the four leaders.
The whole of the Mini Fastnet fleet had started crossing the Channel by the middle of the afternoon in a weakening wind. There won’t be many great strategic options to choose from when it comes to negotiating their way around Wolf Rock off Land's End as the boats are closehauled. And, above all, as they approach the Scilly Isles, they’ll have to carefully anticipate how they’re going to navigate around the Traffic Separation Scheme and as these zones are forbidden and could lead to disqualification.