Mini Fastnet underway
At 16.19 today, the fleet of 33 Minis set off on the Mini Fastnet after a fine start on the Bay of Douarnenez in a light wind but stronger winds brewing.
The competitors were ready for the changing conditions as the first few hours of the race were forecast to be light as the boats head north towards the Fastnet Rock.
A light, northerly breeze should allow the Mini Fastnet competitors to cross the Channel quite easily over the next 36 hours. By Wednesday, the wind should have risen as they cross the Celtic Sea before a front arrives on Thursday.
As is often the case with this race, after a tactical leg up to the Rock, the run back down to Douarnenez will be a lot more fun, broad reaching in 15-25 knots.
Britain's Luke Berry is sailed on the Proto Wild Side with Pierre Denjean: "We’re going to make sure we don’t fall asleep in the calm spots! There’s going to be a lot of strategic work. In calm zones, I think it’ll be best to choose the shortest options, and to be all-out on the adjustments to get ahead as fast as possible. For transitions, we’ll be watching the clouds to help us anticipate different weather systems. And of course, we’ll be keeping an eye on the others!"
Jean-Baptiste Daramy on the Proto Chocolat Paries with Pierre-François Dargnies said: "It’s going to be slow-going in the Irish Sea… I prefer it with a bit of wind: anything under 6 knots and our boat doesn’t perform well, she prefers the breeze. In any case, I’m very happy to be taking part in this Fastnet because in the last three Mini Fastnets that I’ve sailed, we had to take the southerly route. As for strategy, the main thing is to avoid getting stuck in the calm spots…
"I’ve managed to get on the podium three times in three races, so I’m hoping for a fourth! Still, the fleet seems pretty consistent, especially in this double-handed situation, so it’s going to be more difficult and even more motivating!"
Arnaud Machado is sailing the Series boat Velasco II du Leman à l’océan.com with Tour de France a la Voile legend Jimmy Pahun: "These are fantastic conditions for a first race! On the strategy, we’ve prepared the route well, but we’re not going to attempt anything complicated. In the Prologue, it went well, Jimmy at the helm and me on the manoeuvres. We’ll quickly sort out our watches and we’ll be in the race from the first night. I think we can finish in the top ten, but if it’s the top five that’d be great.
"In fact, I haven’t really realised it yet, but heading off with Jimmy is going to be amazing! I used to listen to him, as a kid, commentating on the America Cup. I’m going to learn loads!"
Jean-Christophe Allo is sailing Peter Heppel's old Proto 196 Reality with Diane Dhome: "This is the first Fastnet for both of us. We’re just here for the fun of it, to enjoy ourselves and discover what it’s all about. We’re happy to be heading off to the Fastnet. There’s no sporting goal as such and no apprehension either. I’ve already done the Québec-St Malo in Multi 50, also just for the fun of it."