Mini Transat at full capacity
At the 30 August deadline for entry into the Mini Transat, 84 competitors had met the strict qualification requirements laid down by Classe Mini and the organisers.
A dozen competitors still remain on the waiting list and some of these might get lucky as several qualified entries among the '84' have yet to pay the 2000€ entry fee, the deadline for which is 13 September. It is therefore likely that the entry list for the 2013 Mini Transat will continue to evolve over the next two weeks.
As ever the line-up for the Mini Transat is diverse including professional sailors to semi-pros to amateurs, businessmen and women on leave. Particularly impressive is the international breadth of the fleet with nearly every continent represents. Of the 84, 32 are non-French with sailors heralding from as far afield as Estonia to Australia, all of whom will descend on the race's new start port of Douarnenez ready for the 13 October start.
As it has done, ever since the event was first held in 1977, the Mini Transat is a springboard for a career in professional sailing. Latest to have qualified as a result of their participation in the Transgascogne is Nicolas Boidevezi, winner of the Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables in 2012, and Julien Pulvé who, despite a late entry, is another race favourites.
But others are swapping their civilian clothes for foul weather gear. Louis Mauffret, comes from the world of classic boats, as Sales Manager of Chantiers du Guip, while in the Proto class Yann Le Pautremat is taking time off from his job as a dentist. David Genest, meanwhile, works as a steeplejack in Paris. He spends his time climbing the facades of buildings for maintenance purposes, but will undertake any job that requires specialists climbing and rope access skills.
While the competitors are putting the final touches to their campaigns, the new start port of Douarnenez is gearing up to host the event. The 84 boats will be moored in Port Rhu over 3-13 October at the foot of the Place de l’Enfer on full show for the public.
The Port Musée is also participating and will open a new exhibition about the history of the Mini Transat and what it has brought to the world of racing. Over the last 36 years it has spawne some of the world's top offshore sailor ssuch as Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Bruno and Loick Peyron, Marc Guillemot and Michel Desjoyeaux, to name but a few. But the Proto class in Mini has been the place many technological innovations have first been tried out, including the canting keel and articulating bowsprit that first appeared on Michel Desjoyeaux's entry in 1991. The exhibition will remain open until 17 March 2014.
The prologue for the Mini Transat will take place on 6 October in the Bay of Douarnenez. For the next week, leading up to the start itself, Mini Transat Village will host sponsor booths, themed exhibitions and numerous street entertainments. On 5 and 6 October the Port Musée will host a concert of classical music and on 9 October there will be jazz.