No light at the end of the tunnel
On Monday morning, a number of the competitors have returned to the village of the Mini Transat to watch over their boats and learn about the general mood of the race... A small minority chose to remain on site over the weekend, dividing their time between tourist visits around the area and physical activity to maintain their fitness.
Douarnenez Courses has taken advantage of this waiting time to review the activities of the ten days before the theoretical start date of 13 October. It is estimated that more than 25,000 visitors came to the village to honour the competitors, the event partners and the Mini Class, there were over 30 exhibitors on the 3000m² site, and the installation of the Mini Transat in Port Rhu has been declared a success. To this must be added the interest aroused by the exhibition organised within the Port Musée, the strong mobilisation of volunteers and all the primary school classes that came to the village to visit the sailors as part of Operation Label Bleue.
It is now a week since the Mini fleet began to pace the docks of Port Rhu. Overall, the sailors are coping well and are in good heart despite being faced with exceptional weather conditions. To stay in the game, many competitors have not hesitated to take up various physical exercises such as jogging and stretching; anything to keep themselves in good shape. Others took the opportunity to finish a few things. Aboard Pas de Futur sans Numérique, Ian Lipinski took delivery of some additional electronic equipment that he has been able to add to his instrument panel. This is also the time for fairing: compressed air bottles are shared and the sandpaper is at the ready, the aim being to remain mobilised without consuming too much energy.
Door closed at Cape Finisterre
The days go by and everyone looks to the Bay of Biscay. The entire fleet is watching for the winds to switch to the west or northwest. But the center of the low pressure remains positioned to the south and this is generating very strong southwest winds from the tip of Spain to the tip of Galicia. Yesterday evening, the files suggested a possible way out for next weekend, but the latest forecasts do not encourage optimism.
Competitors still in Douarnenez can at least happily rely on the solidarity of the people and the Cornouaillais traders. For example sailors with no where to stay were spontaneously offered free homestays with local residents, and those who spend their morning in the race center waiting for news can at least enjoy free croissants kindly provided by a baker in the city. Several companies have also offered tours and tastings of local produce. It is these little touches that are part of the seduction of the Douarnenez venue. Now all everyone can do is wait for the next weather files, knowing that the situation may change rapidly, given the instability of this type of weather phenomena. For now, Code Red still prevails.
David Genest, skipper of www.diffuselec.com, saidL "We enjoy the small activities offered by Douarnenez Courses, and we like to go walking. The other day, we went diving just off the Pointe du Raz . In any case, one is better off here than if we were at sea and a fortnight stopover in Douarnenez is really not so bad, there is so much to discover in the area. In the evenings we put the world to rights, it was even suggested that one day the Mini will start from the Mediterranean!"
Ian Lipinski, skipper of Pas de Futur sans Numérique, added: "I stayed in Douarnenez. I did not want to leave the atmosphere of the race. My girlfriend came to spend a few days ... Then we occupied ourselves picking mushrooms (except that I do not know the good places around here), doing some sport, fairing the boats. I think the decision is good. Just think what it would be like if we were at sea now. So, we wait, and we savor the situation as best we can ... "