Mini Transat start...delayed again
This afternoon at 17.30 local time - okay strike that, its been delayed again until 0900 tomorrow (Wednesday) - the Mini Transat will finally start in earnest, some 30 days after the scheduled start date from Douarnanez.
Since then the boats set off on their first leg to Lanzarote only for the weather to turn unfavourable off Cape Finisterre and for the race organisers to cancel the first leg. There has been a long ponderous wait ever since with the major of the fleet moored in Gijon in northern Spain and having to deliver their boats to Sada, deep in the Bay of La Coruna over the course of the last few days.
Now conditions have turned favourable, the race, which will go down as the most delayed in the history of yacht racing, will set sail this afternoon bound for Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe, with Lanzarote still as a mandatory turning mark - there is a gate off Arrecife.
The forecast indicates a sustained north to north-easterly wind which should allow the competitors to make rapid progress downwind. There is a real strategic choice for the competitors as the optimised routings offer a route well offshore from Cape Finisterre with the risk of encountering up to 35 knots or more knot winds. Alternatively they can follow a a route close to the coast that offers much more manageable conditions.
The first leg from Douarnanez was canned and so the race is literally starting afresh this afternoon with what will be the longest passage in the history of the Mini - 3,700 miles across the Atlantic.
Bertrand Nardin, Président de Douarnenez Courses commented: "Despite all the hardships and misfortunes, a new start for the Mini Transat is well underway. It has been difficult for everyone, firstly for the competitors who have faced difficult weather conditions, endless frustrations and had to deal with complex choices on the rally to Sada. I also think that the organising team has found the flexibility to adapt to the stresses generated by the situation. Finally, without the chain of support that we found in both Gijon and Sada, and without the renewed confidence of our partners in Puerto Calero or Pointe-à-Pitre, the Mini Transat would have had to face much more significant turbulence. I thank them ... "
Jacques Bangou, Mayor of Pointe-à-Pitre added: "In Pointe-à-Pitre we have been working attentively on this epic challenge for many months. We welcome the news that a start can finally be made for what will be a new adventure, a long race, a great race. We stand ready and you look forward to welcoming you with impatience. We wish you fair winds."
From Jesus Renedo / www.sailingstock.com