Restart on Tuesday...possibly

Mini Transat boats in Gijon must head for Sada before the race resumes

Saturday November 2nd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

The Mini Transat first is either in the marina at Sada, close to La Coruna or in Gijon some 120 miles east as the crow flies along the north coast of Spain. The race will restart from Sada as soon as the 76 boats to the east have made it there. The next weather window appears to be on Tuesday.

Taking into consideration the understandably disappointment of the five competitors who were able to complete the course from Douarnenez to Sada, the differing skill levels of the sailors and the constraints of the hostile weather, the decision to cancel the first stage was not easy. Among all the safety of sailors is paramount. It was also necessary to find shelter for a fleet of over 70 boats. The links between Douarnenez and Club Naval de Gijon, and the responsiveness of the harbour master there, actively supported by the City of Gijon, have been crucial to the success of the operation.

From here the fleet in Gijon must regroup in Sada before they can start again on the leg to Lanzarote. This is partly because the estuary at Sada is ideally position to enable the fleet to pass Cape Finisterre, but also because it would be too much to ask the five solo sailors who managed to complete the course to backtrack east to Gijon. A weather window seems to be emerging during the day on Tuesday that would allow competitors to head to Sada in convoy. It will then take four to six days of racing to reach Lanzarote where the stopover would be shortened drastically to try to reclaim at least part of the time lost.

Nicolas Boidevezi skipper of Nature Addicts said: "The decision to abandon the stage did not really follow the formal approach. However the goal was to get all boats to safety before the storm hits the fleet today. This is what the Race Director was doing in passing the message of the break via the support boats. For sure this is not a decision that's good to hear, but at the same time, the difficulty for the organisation is to take into account all 84 competitors, from first to last."

TeamWork skipper Bertrand Delesne added: "I found the start of the race was hard. In the bay, it was gusting up to 25 knots. We hadn't sailed for a month so it was a little tough. The passage through the Raz de Sein went well but there were big puffs coming down. I thought it was pretty boat-breaking. I didn't want to push the boat too hard at that moment. I had a feeling that we could be in the bullshit."

Robin Marais, skipper of Marcel for Ever said:"The start was very stressful because of the weather conditions. I'd not managed to pick up the weather with the SSB. But after discussion on VHF with other sailors who had questions about the weather, I saw a lot began to turn around and I decided to accompany them. I did not want to be on my own out there. I didn't have much more than thirty knots of wind, but the sea was really big."

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