Category Archives: News

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.

the Prologue canceled

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.

The pressure is rising, but the wind is not.

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.

The Winches Club has filled up with entries

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.

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!