Ah well it was long!

18 JUNE 2022

The first words from the skippers as they step ashore after these six days of sailing are “Ah well, it was long” and they all agree on this point. After six days in a light variable wind, with no precise weather forecast, this is understandable. But it’s with a big smile that Victor Mathieu and François Jambou disembarked the 967 Univers 650, having crossed the finish line first at 03:42, this Saturday 18th June.

François Jambou et Victor Matthieu on the 967

Happy to have arrived and above all to have finished first in the Mini Fastnet, François exclaims “It was a real mess with the weather, fortunately  I  got on well with Victor, otherwise one of us would have gone overboard!” before lying down on the pontoon and saying that it is more comfortable to sleep inside the Mini.

The 3 crews from the prototype podium : the 1026 on the left, the 967 in the middle and the 802 on the right.

Half an hour later, the second Proto arrives: the 1026 Uoum with Robinson Pozzoli and Arno Biston on board. Also with a smile, they try to eat the delicious hot food provided by the Winches Club “We’re hungry! The race lasted longer than expected, we were missing some rations on board…” but it’s not  easy to leave the pontoon, between the journalists,  friends and the  boats which come to moor next to it…

Victoire Martinet and Nicolas D’estais from the 1031 Minion

At 04:52, the first of the Series crosses the line – that is to say 01hr10 after the first in the scratch race – and the happy winners are Victoire Martinet and Nicolas D’estais on the 1031 Minion. “It was crazy, there were like 15 starts throughout the race,” says Victoire, “when the wind was blowing, the whole fleet would settle down and start again with the next light breeze, the counters almost back to zero. “We were lucky to finish first, clearly,” adds Nicolas, bottle of champagne in hand. The skipper of the Grand Ocean 624, Thibault Chomard, who came 7th among the Protos, explains that he dropped anchor in the bay of Douarnenez, to avoid going backwards with the current. Laure Galley and Alexandre Demange on the  1048 DMG Mori, are quite disappointed to have led for most of the race and to have finished 5th. “It’s the boat’s first defeat” exclaims Laure.

The 3 crew from the serie podium : the 886, the 1031 and the 1038

3 hours and 58 minutes separate the first from the last on the finish line, which is not much for a week-long race. In the early hours of the morning, with beer on the pontoon and couscous at the Sailing Club, the skippers exchanged impressions and tactics of the race in a good mood and general tiredness.

Warm plates at the maison du nautisme
Cheers on the early morning!


Series :

1- 1031 Minion – Victoire Martinet-Nicolas D’Estais –04:52
2 – 886 Stinkfoot – Lucas de Courreges-Valentin Lemarchand-05:02
3 – 1038 Faun – Adrien Simon-Benoit Hantzperg-05:06

Prototye :

1 – 967 Univers 650 – Victor Mathieu-François Jambou-03:42
2 – 1026 Uoum – Robinson Pozzoli-Arno Biston-04:08
3 – 802 Leon – Basile Gautier-Antoine Even-04:15


The last miles are long

17 JUNE 2022

The return leg to  Douarnenez is long and laborious. At the end of the afternoon, the fleet, which has dispersed slightly, is south of Ushant and is making difficult progress in a very light variable wind. At 17:30, the first Proto, 630 James Caird, is 24 miles from the finish line. The first boats are expected to arrive at around 22:00, but this may be delayed until later. The prize-giving ceremony has been brought forward by one hour and will therefore take place on Saturday 18th June at 16:00.

Expected to finish Friday lunchtime

16 JUNE 2022

At the end of this sunny day, the whole fleet, still well grouped, is about 135 miles from Douarnenez and is facing a south-east wind of about 12 knots, which is easing off during the night. The 1067 Bill is in first place among the Prototypes while the 963 DynaMIPS is first in the Series and 5th in the scratch race, closely followed by the 1038 Faun. The 744 did not finish the race and arrived in the port of Douarnenez during the night, while the 482 did not receive the information about the change of course and continued towards the Fastnet. After being informed and following the decision of the Race Directors, they stopped in Baltimore in the early afternoon to avoid being caught in the gale that is  forecast for Saturday. According to the latest routing, the first Minis should arrive in Douarnenez by midday on Friday 17 June. The prize-giving ceremony will take place on Saturday 18th June at 17:00.

Julie Simon et Hugo Picard sur le 963


18 nautical miles separate the first from the last

15 JUNE 2022

Still in light winds, the skippers must be thinking that Aeolus  is playing with their nerves… They all went around the waypoint that replaces the Fastnet lighthouse, about 50 NM south-east of it, during the day on Wednesday 15th June and headed for Douarnenez Bay. Same configuration as yesterday: a nice group of Prototypes in the lead and a fairly compact fleet not far behind. Indeed there is 18 NM between the first and the last sailor in the race… anything can still happen on the remaining 200 NM!  The new recently launched Minis are leading the group: the 1067 Bill, followed by the 1048 DMG Mori Sailing Academy 1 and the 1050 Léa Nature. These are good boats in light winds  it seems! A few NM further north, the leader of the series is the 903 Cancer@work skippered by  Anne Liardet in her 60’s and Lucas Valenz-Troubat, followed closely by the 963 DynaMIPS skippered by the well-known  Julie Simon, who has already made two podiums this year, and Hugo Picard. The 1065 Irvin moved up to 8th position, while Marco Varray, the youngest of the race at 16 years of age, accompanied by David Genest, owner of the 511 Bingo, moved up the fleet to 7th position after having been 40th in the afternoon.


14JUNE 2022

photo taken from an accompanying boat, 13.06 (also the cover photo)

Still not much wind on this edition of the Mini Fastnet… and yet it is to avoid a sudden and short gale, announced for Saturday 18th June that the course has been reduced by about a hundred miles. The skippers will have to wind  round  a waypoint located at 51° N and 008° W before returning to the Bay of Douarnenez, the first ones are expected to arrive on Thursday 16th June in the evening and the bulk of the fleet should arrive on Friday. At the end of the day, the Minis are in the middle of the Celtic Sea and it seems  that the calm has grouped the boats together, except for a group of unyielding Prototypes, further apart from each other and a few miles ahead. The 1050 Léa Nature is still in the lead among the Prototypes, followed by the 621 Dephemerid  Trois with Arnaud Machado and Maël Cochet on board. The 1065 Irvin, a Series boat, tussles gently with the Prototypes, followed by the Swiss on the 1064 Nath Yachting Squaw. The ridge of high pressure looks comfortable in the Celtic Sea and leaves the Minis with baggy  sails. The NW’ly  flow doesn’t  exceed  Beaufort 2  until maybe Thursday  evening, according to the Arome model.

On the 606 a message from a father for his daughter Clémence : Happy birthday !

A female crew lead the race

13 JUNE  2022

In the early afternoon of 13 June, the first Prototype, the brand new 1050 Léa Nature, skippered by Marie Gendron and Marine Legendre, passed the Isles of Scilly in a light north-westerly wind. During the night, the race was sailed upwind and the fleet spread out over about 40 miles, 30 hours after the start.

The 1050 with Marie Gendron and Marine Legendre

After tacking for about 50 miles in a north-easterly direction, the small boats set a course for the Isles of Scilly.  Laure Galley’s 1048 DMG Mori is  overtaken  by Victor Mathieu’s 1050 and 967, co-skippered by François Jambou. Among the Series, two Pogo 3’s  lead  the race: Team Asi 1007 with Nicolas Dupard and Damien Fleury on board, two newcomers in the Mini class who are holding on to  first place, closely followed by the 1065 Irvin skippered by Thimotée de Carpentier and Matthieu Vincent.

Nicolas Dupard and Damien Fleury on the 1007

At the end of this afternoon, caps and sunglasses are the order of the day for the Minis in the race: in a light wind and under a blue sky, the average speed is around three knots. Passage through English waters is likely to be long and laborious!

A beautiful start in the early morning


The tows for the race start scheduled for 08:00  begin under a bright, cool dawn. The last ones to leave the harbour struggle to reach the start line in a very light wind, so the start is delayed by a quarter of an hour… but miraculously, all the boats leave the start, so there are 170 skippers taking on  the Fastnet adventure! Newly arrived for  the Mini race and former winners of the Mini-Transat, it could be a hard fight on the course!

The start is due west, crosswind, speed is the key and the Protos are very quickly at the head of the fleet. We find Laure Galley and Alexandre Demange on the 1048 in first position. For the Series, the ranking overlaps a lot more, in the first ones we count amongst  others the 910, with Jean Cruse and Tanguy Bourroulec, who already has a great record in the Mini class, the 1009 with Titouan Quiviger and Maxime Abgrall and the 1007 Team Asi with Nicolas Dupard and Damien Fleury, who remain quite steady in  first place at the end of the day. There’s about a 5 hour gap between the first and the last of the fleet at about 21:00, so about 13 hours after the start. The 747 Proto dropped out due to a problem in the rigging. A good 15 knot NNW breeze is forecast for the night, easing off at the end of the night.


The excitement of the departure of the Mini Fastnet is  building!

Active day today on the pontoons, between the Prologue, the last repairs, the race briefing and the welcome drink, the skippers must take care not to get too tired because the tows start around 5 a.m. the next morning, for 4 to 6 days of sailing in the English Channel and the Celtic Sea.
 The prologue took place between 12 and 2 p.m. today on a banana course 1.5 nautical miles long between the two buoys, under a radiant sun and a north-westerly wind not exceeding 10 knots.  No damages  to report.  But some skippers returned before the end of the Prologue, pressed for time and the last finishing touches to be done on their boat.  This is the case, for example, of Marie Gendron and Marine Legendre on the brand new 1050 Léa Nature prototype, built by the skipper Marie in 9 months and launched recently, this will be this boat’s first race and “there’s still some work to do on the seamanship and fittings before the start of the race” exclaims Marie as she moors her Mini to the pontoon.
 The start of the regatta at 8 a.m. will be on a straight line, across a north wind of 5 to 10 knots scheduled for Sunday June 12.  Headwinds and ridges hover on the way, some skippers are afraid of getting stuck in the calm.  The passage du four already risks splitting the fleet: headwind and against the current, the passage will be challenging!  A little reminder, Offshore Socialclub will broadcast a live video of the start tomorrow morning, it’s HERE.

The route going to the Fastnet lighthouse is maintained

 A little drizzle and a grey sky overhang Douarnenez today, Friday June 10, 2022. This does not prevent the skippers from finishing their last odds and ends on the boats before going to the Maison de Nautisme to get the racing instructions, given out at  11:00 this morning.
Japanese TV in on the pontoon for de DMG Mori boats and skippers.
The departure is precise: June 12, 08:00 for the initial course.  It will not be a lazy Sunday morning for the skippers or for the volunteers of the Winches Club;  it takes about 3 hours to tow all the boats out of the harbour!  In the meantime, the skippers are taking advantage of still having a connection to do some routing on the computer.  The weather forecast announces a light to moderate north-westerly wind.  It will be, a priori, by tacking that the regatta will begin;  the passage du Four between the island of Ouessant and the coast then passage to the east of the Isles of Scilly before heading for the Fastnet lighthouse.  For the return, which passes to the west of any coast, a ridge, an area without wind, extends to the southwest from the Scilly  Islands and seems to move little.  “Crossing this wall is likely to be long,” says François Jambou.  That said, the weather is quite unstable and can change a lot in the meantime.  Stay tuned!
A dolphin surprised a skipper in the water. Sadly there is no photo…

The Mini Fastnet 2022 gets ready


The start of the 36th edition of the Mini Fastnet is scheduled for Sunday 12th June 2022, in Douarnenez. The pontoons are full of Minis 650, all the registered boats have answered the call and there are 85 boats or 170 skippers preparing for this mythical race. Mythical because they are seeking out  the Fastnet lighthouse in the south of Ireland, 300 nautical miles from Douarnenez and then returning  to the town with three ports. But doubt is hanging over the pontoons, will the course be maintained? In 2021, the Mini Fastnet went south because of the pandemic, this year the skippers hope that the weather will not have the same effect on the course! This 600 nautical mile race is raced in pairs: a skipper who usually owns the boat and a co-skipper.

Marin Le Nours and Matéo Raphalen on the 739.

The co-skipper can be either a former Mini racer, like Benoît Hantzperg, Tanguy Bouroullec and François Jambou, or a friend tempted by this race or a family member, as is the case for Martin Revol on the 835, who invited  his brother to race with him. This family man, after a year and a half of sailing with his kids, devotes his free time to Minis races. “I don’t have the ambition to win, I’m just looking to progress“, says the 40 year old windsurfer.

Marie Gendron on the 1050 wants to take some water off her boat for the stability test.

The regatta currently has about a quarter  prototypes, 12% female participation and several European and international nationalities such as Japan, the United States and Canada. The day before the race, on June 11th, a prologue will be run in the Bay of Douarnenez, to test the boat, the location beacons … and the crews! Indeed, many of the co-skippers have not yet sailed the boat on which they will  race. A light westerly breeze is expected for the Prologue which consists of a small triangle or banana course. “We’ll be on a short course, so we’ll  have to be careful not to damage  the boat before the real race starts” says Romain Gautreau on the 814 Solidarités Internationale. This year, a non-compulsory medical briefing,   and access to the on-board pharmacy is offered to the skippers  by Marine Roland, a sports doctor.

Medical briefing