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ARRIVAL OF THE 37TH MINI-FASTNET

“All we did was eat and sleep, I even had time to read 3/4 of a book, yes, that’s fine!” says a smiling Djemila Tassin as she attaches the 903 CANCER@WORK, which finished 5th in the series with Anne Liardet.

The foilers didn’t foil, the spinnakers stayed in the bags and yet everyone was happy with this slow, strategic race.

“5 hours in the calm at Fastnet, we’ve had plenty of time to see the lighthouse, we’ve been waiting 5 years for this!” joked Aymeric Le Renard.

Despite their little turn at Ushant, the crew of 1056 fulfilled their podium objective by finishing third, but they were the second Pogo 3 behind the 921 Barillec Marine-Actemium, skippered by Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché, who took victory after overtaking the 520 Gintonic, skippered by Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu, who put in a fantastic early morning race.

Series podium (before jury)

1st – 921 Barillec Marine-Actemium, Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché finish at 7h45m11s
2nd – 520 Gintonic, Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu at 6m16s
3rd – 1056 Da Gousket led by Justin Baradat and Thomas André at 7m31s

The battle was also intense for the Prototypes. And as they rounded Ushant, the 1081, leader since the Fastnet, wasn’t dragged down too much by the current, unlike her pursuers. They finely managed their position right to the end and won the race with a 36 minute lead.

Prototype podium (before jury)

1st – 1081 XUCLA, Carlos Manera Pascual and Federico Norman finish at 6h04m28s
2nd – 1019 REPREMAR LOGISTICS, Frederico Waksman and Léo Bothorel at 36m49s
3rd – 1046 DMG MORI, Federico Sampei and Lucas Rosetti at 45m39s

Last hours of the race

“Patience and length of time are more important than strength or rage”. (Jean De la Fontaine)

The last few hours of racing are going to be long. And we’re going to have to be patient to find out who will negotiate this final night phase best. The weather models are not clear. Well, in a way they are: not much wind. And we’ll also have to deal with the currents. All the ingredients for a slow race to the finish. Which will annoy  some?

In the Prototypes, 1081 XUCLA’s lead has shrunk to 8 miles. Frederico Waksman and Léo Bothorel’s 1019 Repremar Logistics is leading the chase, followed by Thaïs Le Cam and Arno Biston’s 1068 Frérots TPM and Federico Sampei and Lucas Rosetti’s 1046 DMG MORI.

In the Series, the 921 Barillec Marine-Actemium, sailed by Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché, and the 1056 Da Gousket, sailed by Justin Baradat and Thomas André, are in close contact and appear to be rounding Ushant to the north. Is this a strategy to take advantage of the currents or has the current carried them off course? Behind them, many are hoping for a comeback from the ‘pointed nose’ 520 Gintonic, who has led an exemplary race and is currently around 6 miles behind the third-placed 1034 GPnot.fr sailed by Peter Cools and Damien Fleury.

Meanwhile, 1037, sailed by Louis Wessels and Kilian Cabanes, has announced that it has dismasted. The support boat Diego is heading towards her.

100 miles from the finish

The 410 is experiencing a technical problem with her mainsail and has notified race management that she is retiring. It is heading for Baltimore to do repairs.

The 956 and the 392 have obviously decided not to go as far as the Fastnet. Alice’s 392, after sailing along the Irish coast from Waterford, passed the lighthouse in last place in the fleet, more than 200 miles behind the leader.

Carlos Manera Pascual and Federico Norman’s 1081 XUCLA still has a comfortable lead of more than 20 miles over the 967, 1019, 1046, 1068 and 1050. 20 miles currently represents 5 to 7 hours of sailing.  The leader is now 100 miles from the finish, but it’s not over yet, as the weather forecast for the Iroise Sea is hardly any more encouraging than it has been over the past few days, as you can see on the map:

Very little wind is forecast this weekend over the tip of Brittany.

In the Series, Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu’s 520 Gintonic is now in third place, 9 miles behind the two Pogo 3s: Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché’s 921 Barillec Marine-Actemium and the 1056 Da Gousket sailed by Justin Baradat and Thomas André, who are neck and neck. We note the presence of 1034 GPnot.fr, well to the south of the pack, currently in 5th place. The duo on 1092 with Douarnenez-based Marco VARRAY and Pierre SIROT are in 34th position in the middle of the fleet and should cross the finish line on Sunday.

Probably the longest Mini-Fastnet in history

This morning more than half of the competitors passed the mythical Fastnet lighthouse, which looked like it was sitting in the middle of a lake.

Among the prototypes, Carlos Manera Pascual and Federico Norman on the 1081 have a lead of around twenty miles over the 1048, DMG MORY, sailed by Laure Galley and Mathis Bourgnon and the 967, Celeris Informatique, owned by Victor Mathieu and Maxime Dagorne. The latter opted to stay south of the direct route, unlike the others.

In the Series, we find the same trio: the 921, Barillec Marine-Actemium, sailed by Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché, the 1056, Da Gousket, sailed by Justin Baradat and Thomas André, and the 520 Gintonic sailed by Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu, separated by less than 2 miles and with a lead of around fifteen miles over the chasing pack.

The wind continues to veer south, against the direct route. The latest routings, computer simulations, suggest that the frontrunners will arrive late in the day or evening on Saturday.

The race organization managed to contact the 346 via the coastguard, all is well on board. It’s just out of wind.

Halfway to the finish!

Seneca said: “There is no favourable wind for one who does not know where he is going“.

I’m sure that the competitors in the 37th Mini-Fastnet have had time to reflect on the very special atmospheric conditions they are encountering and to ask themselves where they could possibly be going in this hellish calm. Carlos Manera Pascual and Federico Norman on the Prototype 1081, on the other hand, seemed to know where they were going last night, as they moved well away from the fleet and the direct route south. An option which puts them in a good position to be the first to round the Fastnet with a certain lead.

In the Series, the Minis are also slowly making headway towards the halfway mark. The bulk of the fleet should cross the Rock tonight. Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu’s 520 Gintonic continues to lead the fleet. She is flanked by 1056 Da Gousket sailed by Justin Baradat and Thomas André to her south, and 921 Barillec Marine-Actemium sailed by Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché to the north.

In the Celtic Sea

Driven by the favourable current, the boats have accelerated considerably at the tip of English Cornwall. By midday, half the fleet had rounded the Scilly DST to the east and were beginning their crossing of the Celtic Sea on a long starboard tack with plenty of wind. A small group of 8 prototypes has broken away from the pack, which now stretches over 80 miles. At the head of this group is the 1019 Repremar Logistics sailed by Frederico Waksman and Léo Bothorel, with a lead of 2 miles over those chasing after her, i.e. almost no-one. Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu’s 520 Gintonic has been in first place since yesterday evening in the Series.. It now looks like being caught by the 921 of the Belgian-French duo Michaël Gendebien and Quentin Riché. The Italian pair are having a remarkable race, and one that has attracted a lot of attention, as their boat, although designed for light airs, is a ‘pointy one’ almost 20 years old. At the rear, the 335, sailed by Jean-Baptiste de Sansonetti and Jamie Townsend, overtook the 346, sailed by Franck Lauvray and Edouard Bourely. These two final prototypes should soon be leaving the English Channel.

In the Channel

It’s a very long Channel crossing for the Mini’s  today. Little or no wind, on the nose and still going nowhere ! The fleet headed for Lizard Point, around thirty miles to the east of the direct route, hoping perhaps to pick up a few thermals and sail along the coast with a little more wind. The average speed of the frontrunners is less than 5 knots over the first 24 hours of racing.

The 335 sailed by Jean-Baptiste de Sansonetti and Jamie Townsend came back to within 17 miles of the second last boat, having set off nearly 7 hours after everyone else. She is now around 70 miles from the frontrunners. Six Prototypes are currently in the lead. Including a quartet at the front: Frederico Waksman and Léo Bothorel’s 1019 Repremar Logistics, Laure Galley and Mathis Bourgnon’s 1048 DMG MORY, Marie Gendron and Mathilde De La Giclais’s 1050 LEA NATURE and Thais Lecam and Arno Biston’s 1068 Les Frérots. It shouldn’t be long before they see the English coast. 12 miles behind them are the first two Series boats: Hugo Mahieu and Renan Treussart’s 1002 EMB-I-PACK with the Italians Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu on their port side on 520 Gintonic, a 2004 boat.

The 679 retired following a collision with another competitor early yesterday evening. Only material damage. The crew decided to return to Tréboul by their own means, thus saving their boat from any further damage. Pauline Regnier and Juliette Bataille arrived safely in port in the middle of the night.

Le Four

At 21:00 the fleet was spread out over 8 miles between the pointe de Pen Hier at the end of the Crozon peninsula and the Chenal du Four. The 1056 Da Gousket sailed by Justin BARADAT and Thomas ANDRE was in the lead ahead of four Prototypes: the 1048 sailed by Laure Galley and Mathis Bourgnon DMG MORY, the 1019 Repremar Logistics sailed by Frederick Waksman and Léo Bothorel, the 1081 XUCLA sailed by Carlos Manera and Federico Norman and the 1050 LEA NATURE sailed by Marie Gendron and Mathilde De La Giclais.

In Series 3, Pogo 3 led the way, but the presence of the first pointed nose, the 520 Gintonic of Italians Fransceco Farci and Pietro Mureddu in 4th position, in their transoms, was also noteworthy.

Shortly after the start, a collision occurred between Jean-Baptiste de Sansonetti and Jamie Townsend’s 335 and the 198 skippered by Diego Hervella and Orana Larthomas. Significant damage was visible on the 335 at the stern of the boat, prompting the crew to return immediately to Tréboul for repairs, while a quick examination on board the 198 led the skippers to resume their route. At 21:00, the 335 was authorised to set off again and passed the 198 in the Bay, which had finally decided to turn back.

Pauline Regnier and Juliette Bataille’s 679 also returned to Douarnenez following a collision.

Heading for the Fastnet

After a general recall and a second start at 14:20, the fleet of 85 boats set off towards the Fastnet under heavy skies and a light westerly wind of around 8 knots. The crews are making headway at 3-4 knots, tacking towards the exit of the bay as an airshow begins to tear up the sky at the end of the bay. The Pogo 3s are out in front, as are the 1056s, 955s and 871s in the series, while the Raisons designs occupy 4 of the top 5 places in the fleet, which remains fairly compact.