The Fastnet BXA 2021

After a summery Prologue last Saturday, 82 crews, 137 men and 27 women, set off from Douarnenez on the afternoon of Sunday 13th June, heading south, towards the BXA, still under the great anticyclone that dominated the whole of France. The tension on the line and the desire to fight it out were palpable, so much so that a general reminder  preceded the start to this 35th Mini-Fastnet without the Fastnet.

The passage of the Raz was already a test for some. The lack of wind left some of them stuck just before  the Bay of Audierne. We even wondered if all of them would pass with the tide.

27 women were at the start, and it was they who took the first places on this first night of the race. Chloé Le Bars and Lina Rixgens on the 1007-Association MJ pour l’Enfance in the Series and Nolwen Pébelier with Frédéric Moreau on the prototype 787 – DECOSAIL were leading the race on the morning of June 14th. This was followed by a long and hot day in light downwind conditions to sail down to Yeu. Irina Gracheva and Mickael Ryking moved up to the front of the fleet, while Pierre Le Roy and Cedric Faron took a good option that put them at the head of the race, and 914-Velotrade, 886-HALTOFLAME / and 893-Groupe Adre found themselves in the leaders of the Series category for the descent towards the BXA. It was on this descent to the south that Tanguy Bouroullec and Guillaume L’Hostis on the POGOFOILER made up the deficit on the frontrunners, and it was also at this point that the prototypes numbered 12 at  the head of the race, which delighted many.

From Tuesday morning, after the passage of the BXA, the race became a giant speed test over 200 nautical miles to the tip of Brittany. After 17 hours of close-hauled racing, the Chaussée de Sein was a merciless judge and on a bad tack, the 1019 TeamWork prototype, which had resisted its pursuer up to that point, let the POGOFOILER escape and went straight to victory. In the Series, the match was very tight and everyone was watching each other closely  during the ascent to Sein. “We didn’t sleep as much as in a solo race,” said race winners Gaël Ledoux and Julien Pulvé on the 886-HALTOFLAME /

There may not have been a Fastnet, even if some said that the weather at the finish reminded them of it, but even so it was  a really good  race full of adventure and suspense.

Have a great summer and good luck to the chosen  ones in the Mini-Transat 2021.

See you next year!

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At the finish

In the Prototypes, the battle for first and fourth place was close, even very close, between the 787 and the 800 (4th and 5th) skippered by Nolwen Pébelier-Frederic MOREAU and Irina Gracheva-Mickael Ryking, who were only 7 seconds apart. For the leaders, it all came down to the negotiation  of the West  Sein buoy. When POGO FOILER negotiated the approach to the mark much better they managed to open up a gap of more than 4 nautical miles over 1019 TeamWork, which had been leading for most of the race. At the finish, they were separated by an hour. Victor Turpin and Antoine Perrin’s 850-Pays d’Iroise completed the trio after a great race at the front after Yeu.

In the Series, they didn’t give up either, especially on the long 200-nautical mile leg from the BXA, which looked like a speed test. They also had to stay on the ball when they reached the Chaussée de Sein, when the wind and sea became stronger. The conditions were not ideal for the Maxi’s and the podium was taken by the Pogo 3. Exhausted and happy to have arrived after a suspenseful race, Gaël Ledoux, accompanied by Julien Pulvé, took his first victory (in Series) on his boat 886-HALTOFLAME / The 893-Groupe Adre – of Cecile Andrieu and Remi Aubrun and the 914-Velotrade of Brieuc Lebec and Charles D’Orange made 2nd and 3rd respectively, 33 and 36 minutes behind the leaders after 3 days and 4 hours of racing.

The race continues! And the final boats are expected at best tomorrow afternoon.

(photo of the first 3 crews)

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969 POGO FOILER first

After a hard fight with the 1019 TeamWork, the 969 POGO FOILER made the difference at the end of the course by leaving their opponent more than an hour behind. It all came down to the passage of the Chaussée de Sein. The beginning of the race up to the BXA seemed quite calm to Tanguy and Guillaume although they had to make up for the time lost when they passed Yeu. It was on the way upwind that things got tense: “There was a lot of suspense, we didn’t want to let go of anything“. At Basse Vieille, they broke their bowsprit. They arrived a little burnt out but happy in the warm rain after 3 days 15 hours 25′ 05s of racing.

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The Chaussée de Sein

It was yesterday at around 22:30 that the 1019 – TeamWork and the 969-POGOFOILER crossed paths, 20 nautical  miles below the Occidentale de Sein. It was at this point that Tanguy Bouroullec and Guillaume L’Hostis took the lead. They then passed  the western buoy  of the Chaussée de Sein just before 03:00  this morning with a 45 minute lead. At 04:30, 22 nautical miles from the finish, they were doing  almost 10 knots with a lead of almost 10 nautical miles. Pierre Le Roy and Cedric Faron are only doing  7.5 knots… a mechanical problem?

Behind them, the 850-Pays d’Iroise is well placed to keep its third position, followed by the 800-Irina Gracheva Racing, the 787-DECOSAIL and the 930-Cassiopee.

With 50 nautical miles to go, the 886-HALTOFLAME / remains the leader of the series with a lead of less than 2 nautical miles over its pursuers, the 914-Velotrade, the 920-SIGNFORCOM and the 966-LES ALPHAS and 993-EdiliziAcrobatica one mile further down. Negotiation  of the Occidentale de Sein will be crucial for this group as well.

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Ready to Tack

The two leading boats have tacked after more than 30 hours on starboard tack. The 1019-TeamWork is still resisting the 969-POGO FOILER and they are now approaching the Breton coast. The 850-Pays d’Iroise is hanging on about 6 nautical miles behind. The 800-Irina Gracheva Racing and the 787 – DECOSAIL are 10 miles behind the leader.

In the Series, 886-HALTOFLAME / is leading the Pogo 3s – 947-Race For Pure Ocean, 920-SIGNFORCOM, 914-Velotrade and 966-LES ALPHAS – by a short margin, while the Italians on 993-EdiliziAcrobatica are still a little further out in the fleet. It’s difficult to say who will be first at the penultimate mark of the course, the West Sein buoy. Whether it’s the duelling prototypes, the fratricidal Pogo’s or the Italian outsiders, the bets are on!


The end of the race is approaching, the first boats are expected to arrive in Douarnenez at around 3am and the last boats, who are currently 70 nautical miles behind, should cross the line more than 24 hours after the winners.

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Side by side

This morning the 969-POGO FOILER  caught up with  1019-TeamWork. At 10:00 am the two boats are sailing side by side and have opened up a gap of about 8 nautical miles with  the other prototypes: the 850-Pays d’Iroise, the 800-Irina Gracheva Racing, the 787-DECOSAIL and the 930-Cassiopee are all challenging for  third place. Five miles further on, Vector 993-EdiliziAcrobatica has drifted a little south of the Pogo 3 pack led by 886-HALTOFLAME /

As for the rear of the fleet, they’re looking for some  wind. The thunderstorms rumbling over the Bay of Biscay are undoubtedly the first signs of the forthcoming weather change.

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Everyone’s coming back up!

9 hours after Pierre Le Roy and Cedric Faron, skippers of the  1019 – TeamWork, Nicolas Schmid and Christophe Benoit on the 978 have rounded the  BXA. By  18:00, the whole fleet have set their course  for the tip of Brittany. In  front, Tanguy Bouroullec and Guillaume L’Hostis on the 969-Pogo Foiler are less than 3 miles from the leader. Victor Turpin and Antoine Perrin are in third place, their boat, 850-Pays d’Iroise is just under 2 hours behind the leader. In the Series, it’s still very close. 7 boats make up the leading pack led by the Italians Alberto Riva and Tommaso Stella on the Vector 993-EdiliziAcrobatica: the 920-SIGNFORCOM, the 966-LES ALPHAS, the 947-Race For Pure Ocean, the 886-HALTOFLAME /, the 914-Velotrade and the 893-Groupe Adre.

The weather remains stable, it’s fine, the wind is to the north and our sailors have  a night of upwind sailing ahead of them.

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12 prototypes in the lead !

The 1019 – TeamWork took the lead  last night, passing  Yeu island at around 10pm. This morning Pierre Le Roy and Cedric Faron were still ahead  and rounded the BXA at around 9am. They’re now starting the climb back up towards the Chaussée de Sein, leaving the Rochebonne plateau on their starboard side. Behind them, there are no less than 11 Prototypes before we find  the first Series  boat 993-EdiliziAcrobatica 12 nautical miles from 1019 – TeamWork.

Following behind are  886-HALTOFLAME / and the 914-Velotrade, respectively 2nd and 3rd in Series.

By 11am, the following boats had rounded  the BXA: 969-POGO FOILER, 850-Pays d’Iroise, 800-Irina Gracheva Racing, 787-DECOSAIL, 624-NOVAM and 865-Guenifey.

The first boats are expected to arrive overnight Wednesday to Thursday.

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A Day of Gybing

It’s not very exciting looking at the map today. The Minis are slowly moving forward at about 140 degrees to the wind in a subtle game of gybes to keep the best compromise between course and speed (a straight line not being the case here). Irina Gracheva on the 800 is back in the game after a not so great start. All the Prototypes are within 20 nautical miles  of each other this evening, still led by Nolwen PEBELIER and Frederic MOREAU on the 787 DECOSAIL. In the Series, we notice the coastal option of Loïc and Aymeric Blin on the 871, probably in search of wind. No, Belle Ile is not one of the marks on the course. In the lead, offshore, 4 boats are one nautical mile away from the pack: 914-Velotrade, 886-HALTOFLAME /, 947-Race For Pure Ocean and 893-Groupe Adre. They should pass Yeu in the middle of the night.

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First morning of the race

After the first night, two prototypes, both pointy ones, are in the lead: the 787 – DECOSAIL, Nolwen PEBELIER/Co-Skipper: Frederic MOREAU and the 712 – RAS INTERIM Paul GAUCHET/Co-Skipper:Pierre MOIZAN. To the south of Penmarc’h, they headed south-west towards  Yeu island, they’re sailing at 8 knots with the 969-POGO FOILER, 850-Pays d’Iroise and 1019-TeamWork on their starboard side.

In the Series, the 1007-Association MJ pour l’Enfance skippered by Chloe LE BARS and Lina RIXGENS has been leading since yesterday evening. The two skippers are followed by Jean-Marie Jézéquel and Paul Cloarec on the 951- Branchet/KPL, who are themselves followed by the main fleet 3-4 nautical miles behind.

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Yesterday evening on Téa :