Griffon.fr: Unstoppable!

Wednesday 21 June at 23hours, 52minutes, 19 seconds

A clear winner, Griffon.fr triumphantly crossed the finishing line of the 32nd Mini-Fastnet. For the blue Mini, which led the race from start to finish, it was simply a matter of unleashing its power and let the combined skills of Ian Lipinski and David Raison do the rest. And by the way, Griffon.fr has set a new record finish time for the race of 3 days, 08 hours, 52 minutes, and 19 seconds.

Djibi

photo Simon Jourdan.

ETA of Griffon.fr: 11pm

Wednesday 21 June at 7.30 pm:

The expected westerly sea breeze has risen and the whole fleet have increased their speed. Ian Lipinksi and David Raison are 25,6 M from the finishing line and making 9.7 knots. Besides a clear victory, a new record finish time seems also likely. Yet nothing is definite until the finishing line is crossed…

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan

Three days into the regatta.

Wednesday 21 June at 3pm:

Ian Lipinski and David Raison are dashing back at 8.4 knots and are 65.9 M from the finishing line. They are 20.7 M ahead of the leading chaser and it is now unlikely that victory should slip out of their grasp. This would be the third Mini-Fastnet victory in a row for the ground-breaking Griffon.fr, and a second victory for each skipper (David Raison won with Davy Beaudart in 2015, Ian Lipinski won with Sébastien Picault in 2016). To beat the race’s record finish time, which is also held by Griffon.fr, 865 needs to cross the finishing line before 04h, 03 minutes, and 08 seconds. Considering the mileage Griffon.fr still needs to cover, it seems totally doable.

3 days into the regatta, the rankings speak for themselves.

In the Prototype category:

1. Griffon.fr (865) 65,9 M from the finishing line.
2. Spicee.com (716) 20,7 min from the front-runner
3. Eight Cube – Acryline (888) 22,6min from the front-runner.
4. Lillienthal (934) 28,9min from the front-runner.
5. Sideral (931) 28,9min from the front-runner.
6. Roll my chicken (679) 46,7min from the front-runner.
7. Mille et un sourires (667) 48,7min from the front-runner.
8. Région Guadeloupe (788) 50,8min from the front-runner.
9. Ropeye (787) 51,2 min from the front-runner.
10. Destination île de Ré (759) 55,4 from the front-runner.

In the Production category:

1. Emile Henry (895) 102,2 M from the finishing line.
2. Cellestab.com (910) 1,7 min from the front-runner.
3. Océan-Dentiste.com (887) 3,8 min from the front-runner.
4. Technique Voile (913) 4,0 min from the front-runner.
5. Kerhis-Cerfrance (909) 4,2 min from the front-runner.
6. Mahi-Mahi (869) 4,3 min from the front-runner.
7. Construction du Belon (868) 5,5 min from the front-runner.
8. Shaman – Banque du Léman (903) 6, 0min from the front-runner.
9. Cachaca II (915) 7,5min from the front-runner.
10. Olivertessloff.com (893) 8,7min from the front-runner.

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan

Hit-and-miss ETA

Wednesday 21 June at 11 am

Meteorology is not always an exact science, especially when it’s dealing with forecasting the weather in a small and specific area. Around mid-morning today, for example, Ian Lipinski and David Raison were making 9-10 knots, while 50 M to the east, the Figaro fleet was crawling along at 2-3 knots. As it is, during a wind transition phase, expected arrival times are as hit-and-miss as knowing the precise spot where the wind is blowing. Bearing this in mind, we may expect an arrival tonight between 8 pm and 2 am. In either case, this means beating the record finish time set last year by the same Griffon.fr.

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan

Trapped in a spell of no wind

Wednesday 21 June at 8 am:

We could already picture the front-runners crossing the finishing line in the afternoon, or arriving later with a bright pink sunset sky…then no-wind! This spell of dead calm is tactlessly overstaying its welcome and keeps pushing back ETAs. It will be dark when they arrive, hopefully this will be today, or else not long after midnight… On the water, dead calm is like hell, nothing can be much worse for a sailor, especially in a regatta. It makes them feel completely powerless over their impressive machines, which are suddenly turned into nothing more than bottle corks drifting with the current. The truth of the matter is: their feeling of powerlessness is not so much subjective as experienced for real.

The wind should change from Easterly to Westerly, which entails sailing in an ‘in-between’ or buffer zone while the wind is changing direction. We had reckoned that it would be a narrow zone, but in the same manner of the increasing volume of sun seekers lying on the beach in this beautiful first day of summer, it looks like this buffer zone will stretch out in the sunshine and encompass the fleet. At noon today, pressure should rise again and the wind should veer to WSW then to WNW and remain constant until most of the fleet arrive in Douarnenez. It’s all hypothetical, of course, we can only make an educated guess!

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan

The home stretch

Wednesday 21 June at 00h00

In Proto: seeking second place

Finding a satisfactory range of superlatives to characterize this boat is a real problem with Griffon.fr (865), such is the extent to which it crushingly dominates the Mini 650 class. Implacably, Ian Lipinski and David Raison keep the other competitors far behind. They are a completely ruthless team. In case the gap between them and their chasers narrows to under 10 nautical miles, the race supervisors gather round the screen for an update…only to observe that the aperitif is over, the leading team have put the bottles, salted peanuts, and crisps away, and they are now focused on the race again. After sailing past the Fastnet lighthouse, Griffon.fr has been increasing his lead by nearly one nautical mile every hour. So the only option left to the prodigious ‘big nose’ is to compete against itself, and attempt to beat its own record finish time.

Over a dozen nautical miles behind, 4 Protos are battling it out to win the second place. Spicee.com (716), the only sharp nose still fighting, is doing more than blocking blows: with a 0.1M lead, 716’s skippers Romain Bolzinger and Julien Bourgeois temporarily hold the second place. Spicee.com is surrounded by a trio of big noses: the Swiss skipper Simon Koster partnered with Axel Trehin on Eight Cube – Acryline (888); the German team made of Joerg Riechers and Robert Spanjek on Lillienthal (934); and the Italo-Spanish team made of Andrea Fornaro and Oliver Bravo de Laguna on Sideral (931).

In the Production category: anything (fair play) goes

Emile Henri (895), the frontrunner since Land’s End, has been relentlessly pursued by nine chasers. They have succeeded in slightly reducing his small advantage, but have not managed to bring Emile Henri’s lead down to under 1M. On the opposite, after rounding the Fastnet Rock, Emile Henri managed to gradually increase its lead, then doubled its efforts in the night time and eventually brought its lead up to over 2 M. In spite of their young age, Erwan Le Draoulec et Clarisse Cremer are managing their boat like old pros in this race. They now have 183 M left until the finishing line.

In Emile Henri’s wake, we find 8 chasers, all Pogo3s, that spread over just under 2 M, each individually certain that they are going to make the difference in the final sprint. They are on each other’s heels and will fight ruthlessly till the end. In the stretch along the Irish coast, they got rid of Olivertessloff.com (893), whose manoeuvres became a bit erratic after reaching the ‘Stags’ south cardinal mark, as they approached the Irish coast. There’s no way of foretelling the final results or of foretelling who shall be the next victim of this pack’s constant pressure. We can only show patience, regularly check the online tracking chart, and for some of us resort to prayers or to reading the future on cards, in coffee dregs or a chicken’s innards in order to predict the outcome.

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan

Bye bye Ireland

Tuesday 20 June at 12.00 noon

Over half the fleet have now rounded the Fastnet Rock and competitors still on the Celtic Sea are benefiting from a steady easterly wind. They are making good progress, and most boats are even managing to reduce the gap between them and the front-runners. The 4 Minis that got trapped at Land’s End are also making up for lost time, which must be cheering them up. This second pack is on the way back to Douarnenez, and is lead by Challenge Espoir Mini Transat (917), skippered by Valentin Massu and Melchior Treillet.

Djibi

Photo: Simon Jourdan