The weather has been on everyone’s mind for the past few days and the light winds have led the race committee to cancel the Prologue to the 37th Mini-Fastnet. While some skippers are delighted to be able to fine-tune their preparations, other skippers welcome the opportunity the Prologue gives to get to grips with a boat they don’t necessarily know and sometimes even to get to know their team-mates from a previous race. The sun is shining down on the pontoons of Tréboul on 10th June, the eve of the start, and the competitors are taking advantage of the opportunity to study the current and isobar charts in order to anticipate the next few days, which are likely to be played out in light winds. Others are busy with seamanship or fine-tuning their rigs. Everyone will be able to take advantage of a day of relative calm to rest up before tomorrow’s start, dreaming of the legendary Fastnet Rock, which hasn’t been reached in this race since 2019.
With just 2 days to go to the start of the Mini-Fastnet, the skippers are all contemplating the weather. Before the general race briefing, Series competitor Justin Baradat and Prototype competitor Laure Galley give us their thoughts on what promises to be a very open race.
Justin Baradat is from Brest. A sports student in his home town, he has spent his entire career at the top level of the 420 class, and is setting off with his previous helmsman Thomas André, for this 37th Mini-Fastnet on the 1056 Da Gousket. To kick off his Mini adventure, he trained at La Grande Motte in 2022.
“I started the Mini’s with this boat in April 2022 when it came out of the yard.
I find it a bit frustrating that the Mini isn’t a one-design like the Figaro can be, there are big differences depending on the points of sail and the weather, so not everyone is on an equal footing. I have a Pogo 3, the Maxi’s, our big rivals, are more powerful and will hold more canvas and go faster when reaching and in strong winds, but what’s pretty cool is that there doesn’t seem to be too much wind to go to the Fastnet and my boat drags a lot less water than the round noses. It’s a very reliable boat which will take me to the other side of the Atlantic.
My goal is a podium finish in this race, at least first in Pogo 3.”
Laure Galley has done a bit of everything: dinghies, J70s, SB20s and a bit of IRC for offshore sailing. She finished 2nd in the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy this year, 20 seconds behind the winner.
“On the Mini-Fastnet, the conditions are going to be very different from those of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy, and it’s going to be rather light like last year, which belies the myth of the Rocher in June. We’re going to try to do well, the match seems very open to me, the idea is to be ahead and not to pick up the buoys. I don’t have a boat made for light airs, but I’m taking on board a Swiss sailor (Mathis Bourgnon) who’s used to racing on lakes in light winds, so I’m counting on him. My objective is the Mini-Transat and the level of Prototypes has improved this year, which makes things very interesting.”
As for the weather, we can count on Jean-Jacques Quéré, who will be addressing the subject this evening and especially tomorrow evening at 18:00 during the skippers’ briefings.
There are 85 boats registered for this latest edition of the Mini-Fastnet, the 37th! 27 Prototypes, 3 Proto-series and 55 Series of Minis are preparing to cross the start line this Sunday at 14:00. As was the case last year, the weather conditions are relatively mild and stormy for the start this weekend and early next week.
The list of entrants includes the pairing of Paul Cousin and Julien Hantin on the 981 GROUPE BIOCOMBUSTIBLES, Adrien Hardy, who will be skippering the 871 VAINCRE LE MELANOME with Martin Oudet, and François Jambou, who will be co-skippering the 1055 GUSTA with the Canadian Sylvain Karpinski. For the Prototypes, the trio from the finish of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy : Julien Letissier with Jeanne Courtois on 1069 FREROTS BRANCHET, the Laure Galley – Mathis Bourgnon pair on 1048 DMG MORI-ACADEMY 1 and Marie Gendron – Mathilde Da La Giclais on 1050 LEA NATURE.
On the pontoons, the safety checks follow the established programme until Friday at 18:00, time for the general briefing for the Prologue.
On Saturday at 12:00, the Prologue kicks off, followed by the general race briefing and the final weather briefing. The start is currently scheduled for 14:00 on Sunday 11 June.