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Posts Tagged ‘Mini Transat’

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minitransitBob Salmon ignored the hundreds of people who told him he was crazy. He ignored rules, convention, and tradition. He knew it was possible, and along with the folks at the Penzance Sailing Club, he drug the Mini Class and Mini-Transat Race into existence.  It remains today one of the most respected and extreme races in the world, and without Bob, it wouldn’t exist.  Rest in peace, Anarchist.

Lots of background at the PZSC over here, where we got the pic, too.  For a 2012 interview with Salmon and some ancient footage, click here.  Here’s a little more from our friends at Adonnante.


November 26th, 2014 by admin

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With David Raison’s groundbreaking Mini Teamwork experiencing mad speed and great results since her launch three years ago,  it’s not a surprise that the new Minis for this next cycle have embraced the concept.  You’re looking at an evolution of the original Raison boat, called the Magnum Max – this one will be skippered by Davy Beaudart for the next two seasons under the Cultisol brand with the main goal being the 2015 Mini Transat.  Thanks to aesthetics and fear, the hull form is outlawed in other major design classes – the Open 60, TP52, Class 40 – so this is the only place to find ocean racing scows – at least until someone has the balls to go break Sydney-Hobart records in a 100 foot version…

We dig it; not only do we love scows, but we also like disruptive designs and the guys who put their finger up to the establishment.  Speaking of scows, did you know the A-Scow Nationals are expecting up to 30 boats this June?  And we’ll be covering it…live.

Say thanks to Sir Charles for the title, Davy’s Facebook Page for the photo, and Chris Tutmark for the heads up.  More info and discussion here.


May 13th, 2014 by admin

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This evening – nearly seven weeks after the scheduled start of the Mini Transat in Dournenez, Benoit Marie crossed the finish line in Guadeloupe at the head of the fleet, and the reputation of the most grueling trans-oceanic race just keeps getting bigger and meaner.  Marie also does his part for yachting aesthetics, proving that the “Scow Bow” of Giancarlo Pedote isn’t necessarily the end-all/be-all of Mini design (though until yesterday when light air VMG conditions rolled in, it looked like Pedote had the win in hand). Pedote did finish second. The skipper of Prysmian crossed the finish line at Pointe-à-Pitre at 20h 41mn 30s local time is (00h 41mn 30s, GMT). He finished 2h 55mn after the leader.

 Marie, the French engineer earned the hell out of this one, and our biggest congratulations to him!  Get in on the Mini Transat thread in Ocean Racing Anarchy to talk about it.

Senior Editor Mr. Clean caught up with the young Frenchman 20 minutes after he hit the dock in Pont-A-Pitre for this excellent (if slightly muffled) Sailing Anarchy Innerview.  Check it, and have a peek at Benoit’s excellent blog, Facebook page, and Twitter to share your congrats.


December 1st, 2013 by admin

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Today we give you the best Video Friday we’ve had in quite a while! We’ve got launching Optis, dancing Minis, crashing SB20s, a massive storm, and the final Little AC wrap.  Enjoy them all, and enjoy your weekend from everyone here at Sailing Anarchy.  Got an awesome video for next week?  Send it in.

The Mothosphere

More foiling.  More crashes.  More interviews with some of the world’s fastest men and women.  And of course, more Gretta.

You’ve been waiting for it patiently, so here’s the full, 20 minute long, 2013 McDougall + McConaghy International Moth World Championship final highlight reel from Penalty Box Productions.  Enjoy!


Opti Crush

We don’t know who he is, but this Seattle grommet has bigger balls than we do!  Check this Opti-crusher out on a 30-knot day in Shilshole Bay last week, and note his smile.  Also note the distinct lack of helmets, lawyers, and nanny-state, helicopter-parent sensibility.  And someone, please let us know who this grom is; he needs some SA gear and we’re gonna get him some.


Hey Jude

The same St. Jude storms that threw the Mini Transat and TJV into such disarray also did a number on Scandinavia.   The storms were the most powerful to hit Northern Europe in more than a decade, and billions in property damage, hundreds of boats destroyed, and 16 deaths are the weather’s legacy.  Here’s a look at what 120 knot winds look like on the Svenburg Sund in Denmark, and there’s more video here.


Target Rich Environment

Sometimes, hitting those puffy inflatable tubes is just too tempting.  This from last month’s SB20 Worlds in Hyeres, where someone must have painted targets all over the RIB at the pin end of the line.  Chat here and thanks to Presuming Ed for this one.


Nothing To Do But Dance

With about 6 weeks of delays, postponements, and other misadventures, the Minis are indeed restless – none more so than the handful of prototype skippers who made it to Sada while the rest of the fleet ended up…elsewhere.  They put together this little tribute to the Mini Transat Race Committee; it’s sort-of called “Where’s The Race Committee” and it should crack you up even if you don’t speak French.  Latest on the Mini fleet (including another boat lost on the delivery) here.  Thanks to the Moody Frog for this one.


November 8th, 2013 by admin

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Tasmania’s Richard Hewson was leading the fleet when the Mini-Transat was abandoned last week, and coincidentally, he spent a few days with our man (and woman) on the ground, Ryan and Nicola Breymaier when the start was first postponed.  The Breymaiers learned some interesting stuff about an interesting Ozzie; he skippered the winning Clipper RTW boat in the last race, is a licensed Merchant Mariner, and an all around good guy with his head firmly screwed on and a mature outlook.  Along with being good fun at the bar, of course.

With the Mini-Transat just announced as a single-leg event (from Sada to Guadaloupe) beginning next Thursday, this year’s race becomes the longest single leg ever sailed in a Mini race, and Ryan had a chat with Hewson to get his take on it, and the race itself, yesterday.  If you want more information on Rich’s series boat, go here.  And like him on Facebook here, please.

Rich Reports:

We were upwind out of Douarnenez, then reaching through Raz de Seine. It was rough but good, and a lot better than I expected. There were no big standing waves, and it was only blowing about 18 knots, gusting 22. The whole race average wind was only about 16, gusting 20 – 24. Warm surface air and cold frontal air were mixing and giving us very gusty conditions. I went through with a reef and the jib, Jeff put up his zero but I waited until leaving the Raz before I put it up.

When we got out of Raz de Seine and offshore there was a 2m swell and chop of 1m on top so big holes for a little boat. I was reaching with code 0 and two reefs; the rig loves it like that. Not rough enough to worry about the baby stay. I am impressed with how solid the rigs are. It was lots of reef in, reef out all that time, looking out for fronts/squalls and trying to reef in time. It only takes 2 mins to reef so that’s no problem.

Heading offshore and south towards Sada we were reaching for a while and then breeze turned more west.  Original plan was to head high, to try to keep gauge on the finish, but I was doing so well that I was in the lead pack and decided to do the same as the others and put up the Code 0.  I sailed for a while like that then the downhaul on the pole slipped, and I had to drop the zero and the sail went over the side; spent 10 min. getting it on the boat and by then I had lost the front pack so I reverted to my strategy from the beginning, head high and get into the next shift.  This worked out well, as the next one was more NW, which allowed me to put up the A5 and the RG650 was doing 14 – 15 knots, lots of fun.

Then the breeze started dying and went back forwards, so I rehoisted the zero and as it shifted worked my way to windward.  It only died for an hour or so then picked back u,  and I played the shifts to windward under jib. My strategy worked out, only hiccup was that big pattern changes were 1 or 2 hours out compared to the weather bulletins. I figured that out and worked my way up through the fleet.

I was in the lead when they cancelled, by that stage I had gotten enough weather gauge to lay Sada on starboard, the wind was up and I was doing 10 knots with code 0 close reaching direct towards the finish with many of the others becalmed.

I was 55 miles from the finish, then they cancelled race at 1800 sched.   Problem was that we were on the VHF but the support boats interpreted the message differently and then in English it was even worse. Some people were told to go to closest port, some told go to Gijon, for me would have been easier to go to Sada as I was laying it under code 0, but they told me I had to go back to Gijon, which was like 100 miles downwind.

It was a bit of a mess due to poor communications, competitors everywhere, and the support boats all interpreting things differently.  At this point the problem is that the boats are split up in two different ports, with 5 prototypes in Sada, and the rest of the fleet in Gijon. Even though it would be easier for the bulk of the fleet, the RC think its unfair to make the 5 boats go backwards, and in any case it is better to start the fleet closer to Cap Finistere.   All in all I am extremely happy with the first leg, even if it had to be abandoned.

I look at it as a show race; everyone is impressed with the boat’s speed and at one point I was keeping up with protos, which is really cool. I can’t wait to get going and hopefully I can do it again. This boat is super quick reaching and downwind, but everyone noticed it is fast upwind as well, which is not the point of sail it is designed or moded for.  There is lots of rake in the rig for the Mini Transat; we should kick some ass downwind.

I take as little shit aboard as possible, as weight is super important.  I learned a valuable lesson at the start; I loaded the boat up with the max amount of water allowed in the rules, and the rough weather made my water jugs break and I found I was much quicker with an extra reef and no water weight, even though it was stacked. The less ballast you have to use, the better.

The boat has no real damage, just a bit of chafe and one of the nuts fell off one of the spreaders’ inboard ends. I have a few leaks to fix up, and to reseal the mast, which moved a bit in the partners.

So you’re not pissed off they cancelled the race?

I would have been more than happy to just keep going to Lanzarote. I have had heaps of rest because I was sleeping that day so I could be awake when the storm hit.  I’m so happy with boat performance that the stop just doesn’t matter.

I don’t want to shitcan the RC, who have enough on their plate, and don’t need to be killed by everyone. The RC is doing what they have to do. The biggest problem is the fleet is so widely spread. If we’d kept going to Sada there would have been 3 days difference between the front boats, i.e. I am going twice as fast as the slow series boats, so the RC have a big job on their hands looking after everyone.


Besides, we found a great reef-and-beef steakhouse that’s super cheap with house wine for 4 euros so we’re off there for dinner, as we have been for a couple days, getting fueled up :)

November 5th, 2013 by admin

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Not every minista gets Roland Jourdain aboard for last minute prep, but not every minista is a long-time trusted Veolia staffer.  Here’s a hauntingly pretty look at Pifou Dargnies’ final hours before the (now aborted) first leg of the Mini Transat.  If you’re looking for news, go here, and if you’re looking to see what huge waves look like on a little mini in Biscay, here’s another vid.

UPDATE:  Winning the ‘ultimate masochist’ award is Jeff MacFarlane, who is now trying to recover his abandoned and dismasted Mini while sourcing a new mast and sails.  This guy doesn’t even know how to spell ‘give up.’


November 4th, 2013 by admin

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With conditions deteriorating quickly in the Bay of Biscay, the organizers of the Mini Transat have abandoned the first leg of the race, recommending nearest shelter for the already quite spread out fleet.  Disaster magnet Jefferey MacFarlane’s story ends badly; the American skipper dismasted while near the front of the fleet and is on a ship, shadowing the fleet.  625 lost his keel and is on a cargo ship.  Two others collided near the start.  And the list of damage and injury throughout the fleet from the first two days must be long and nasty.

Half the fleet is headed for Gijon while most of the front runner protos will get to Sada and some may scatter for whatever port they can make, considering the awe-inspiringly bad sea state that still awaits those stuck at sea. Once Poseidon settles down, there will be a lot of running around trying to figure out how to salvage one of the world’s best races; keep abreast in the thread.

We’d have photos for you, but we’re tired of the low-res shit that the Mini-Transat organizers pass off as ‘photo galleries’ for the public.  Apparently the French only have 800 x 600 monitors on their computers; go here if those kind of pics get you horny.

October 31st, 2013 by admin

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The Race Director of the Mini Transat has decided to implement plan B, which had been mentioned before the start at the last competitor briefing. The fleet will now stop at the port of Sada, near La Coruna, to wait for the strong winds from the south-west that will sweep Cape Finisterre, on 1 and 2 November to moderate and go northwest. The fleet is expected to arrive in the area on the night of October 31 to November 1.

This is the charm and complexity of the organisation of a race like the Mini Transat. Between those competing at a high level and those for whom this race is the adventure of a lifetime, there is a difference on how to run the boat. While the former are constantly looking for performance, others do not have any other objective than to run their business at their own pace. At the same time, crossing the Bay of Biscay reqires a weather window of about four days to clear the entire fleet.

The window seemed to have finally opened yesterday morning, but conditions are deteriorating in Finisterre again, hence the decision of the Race Director who does not want to take any risk with the tail end of the fleet. The Race Director has chosen to anticipate the decision to warn the front runners before the point where the strategic options open up for the fleet, this to ensure sporting fairness. A finish line will be set up in Sada. The ranking of the first leg will the accumulated times for Douarnenez – Sada and Sada – Lanzarote. Competitors were warned by VHF through the intermediary of the support boats and by BLU of the weather break. A confirmation of receipt was requested for each competitor. More here.

And look out for a big pile of Maersk containers!  Chat here.


October 30th, 2013 by admin

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After what seems like a month waiting around for a weather window, that slightly-later-than-usual start for the Mini-Transat is definitely looking like a bad idea that will never happen again.  The 90-odd minis are still stuck in port thanks to the latest in a long line of insanely nasty low pressure systems (see above), with out-of-budget sailors relying on the hospitality of the kind folks of Douarnenez to keep them housed and fed.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, and it looks like Tuesday morning will finally be the Minis’ day.  Keep informed on the Ocean Racing Anarchy thread.

October 27th, 2013 by admin

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Veteran ocean racers will  tell you the race to get to the line is often far more grueling than a major race across a major ocean, and no one epitomizes this more than Mini racer Jeff MacFarlane.  He catches us up with a summer of not-so-fun on his way to the October start of the most anarchic of ocean races.  There’s a video of some high speed mini training here.

Back in April, my Mini Transat campaign was almost destroyed after my boat, Mini 716, basically disintegrated around me while I was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea during my 1,000 mile singlehanded qualification sail for the 2013 Mini Transat. The incident left me with a crushed hand and without a boat.

Fortunately, I was able to charter another boat – #759, and with the help of my amazing doctors in New York and New Jersey, I was sailing again by the beginning of June. Because of all of the sailing I had done in early 2013, I had already completed the 1,000 miles of racing I needed to qualify for the Transat and was halfway done with my 1,000 mile nonstop passage, but unfortunately, the boat you qualify in must be the same boat you race the actual Transat in, so when I chartered 759, I had to start all of my qualifications over again. Luckily, there were just enough races and time left for me to complete the long list of necessary stuff.

I flew back to France at the very end of May to finalize the charter arrangements of 759 with the owner. At this point, my hand really was not healed. I still was experiencing a great deal of pain and was really concerned about making the injury worse. I spent a few days sailing with the boat designer, Sam Manuard, in hopes that he would help me become accustomed to the new boat quickly, but I knew I still had a long way to go.

Shortly after that, I competed in the 220 mile long Trophee MAP race starting on June 13 and the 600 mile long Mini Fastnet race starting on June 23. Both races started in Dournanez, France. These races were difficult in part because I had to be cautious – if I didn’t finish them, I didn’t qualify for the Mini Transat. I was also a bit nervous about injuring my hand further, and I simply needed more time with the boat to master all of the ins and outs of the vessel, as it is very different from 716. I was frustrated after these races and this feeling of frustration was heightened even further as I began my 1,000 mile nonstop single-handed qualification sail. Just a mile from the dock and in only 5 knots of wind, my sidestay broke, causing the mast to start to drop. Luckily, my spinnaker halyard was clipped to the lifeline and helped keep the mast from totally breaking. I was able to quickly flag down a boat to tow me back to the dock in Douranenez to start the necessary repairs. My fiancé Laura had missed her bus and was still around, so she helped me make the arrangements to haul the boat, remove the mast, and install the new rigging. I was back on the water just a few days later and used the 10-day-long, light-air sail to really get to know my new boat. By the time I arrived in Port Bourgenay for the start of the Transgascogne Race, I was more confident and finally felt ready to compete.

While I only finished 9th overall in the Trangascogne, I considered my performance to be a real success. I had great boat speed throughout the two leg 660 mile long race, but the tactical risk I made during the second leg to sail west of the course did not pan out the way I had anticipated. Regardless, my speed was pretty amazing and despite sailing over 60 miles further than the boats in front of me, I only finished 5 hours behind the winner. My performance at the Transgascogne Race really pleased me, but I knew I needed another race before the Transat.

I decided to register for the 500 mile long Le Grand Huit race in La Grande Motte. While it took a lot of logistical work to get my boat all of the way to the other side of France, I managed and sailed an amazing race, finishing first overall. My tactical decisions and boat speed helped me finish 11 hours before the next single handed competitor. After completing the Transgascogne Race I was finally qualified for the Mini Transat, but unfortunately, just before the start of the Le Grand Huit race I was told that I was on the wait list for the Transat. I was devastated. After years of backbreaking work and a pile of both money and hardship, I realized that there was a real possibility that I would not be able to compete in the Transat.

While there were plenty of spots available before the Transgascogne Race and the registration was supposed to be closed, several veteran Mini Transat sailors decided to register for the Transat before the Transgascogne finished. Of all of the sailors needing to complete the Transgascogne Race to qualify for the Transat, I was the last one to finish my 1,000 mile solo qualification sail (due to the problems occurring earlier in the season), so I was placed in the first slot on the wait list. Because of the Mini Class rules, sailors who have sailed in the Transat within the last 5 years only have to compete in one Mini race to be eligible for the Transat while new competitors have to sail over 2,000 miles. While I was certainly disappointed, I decided not to let the news get me down, and just had to wait and see what would happen next. Fortunately for me, another sailor in the prototype class dropped out and I was officially placed on the list within the week. Getting that news as I finished the Le Grand Huit race made my win even sweeter!

Days after finishing Le Grand Huit, I got more good news when the Class rankings were updated.  I moved up to the number 3 spot worldwide! Before losing 716 I was ranked 1st, but after missing several races and lower race results as I got to know 759, I dropped down to number 5. I am so proud that my hard work elevated me back to the #3 position. I flew back to the US shortly after finishing in La Grande Motte to visit with my family and friends, fundraise, and collect a few items necessary for the Transat. I will be home for another week before heading back to France. Once I get there, I will have to do a great deal of work to ensure that all of the final preparations are taken care of before the start of the Mini Transat on October 13. I am very excited for the race to begin. Thank you to Oakcliff Sailing and to all of you that have supported my campaign. My success is due to you! My budget is still extremely tight, and if you’d like to help put a little sorely-needed money in the bank account for last minute spends, I’d be grateful. You can donate or find out more about my program at


September 16th, 2013 by admin

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