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minis away!

After a painfully obstacle-strewn road to the Mini Transat starting line for Jeffrey MacFarlane, the American Minista finally gets out of the jolly prison of Douarnenez and hits the open ocean.  Here’s his story from the wee hours of this morning, and here are some more photos of the start, and track ‘em here.
After a long and somewhat anxiety-ridden delay of 16 days, we finally get to sail away today! Although a bit of extra time is always nice, the extended and uncertain delay has made it extremely difficult to mentally prepare for the start.  I’ve spent hours and hours planning my nav strategy only to have the race postponed again and again for another day or two.   Unfortunately, the later-than-usual starting date combined with a couple of monster depressions made it impossible to get around Cape Finisterre without facing 10 meter swells and 40-50 SW’ly winds…all on the nose, and all in boat-destroying conditions.
After the start, the trick will be to get past the Cape before Friday, when the winds are forecast to pick up once again to 30-35 knots from the SW. Once past there, it’s strong SW winds along the Portuguese coast before getting into the downwind conditions that should take us south to the Canaries.
To say I am excited for this race would be an understatement!  I have spent the last 18 months training, qualifying, and overcoming some tough unforeseen obstacles along the way. I think one of the biggest challenges has been the financial one… I am impressed and grateful for the support that I have received so far from so many of you, and it is not to late to help out with a financial donation. The financial toll is certainly not over, but at least the waiting is.
-Jeffrey
USA 759

October 29th, 2013

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Gunboat 60 sailing in Annapolis, MD.