Category Archives: News

Heading South

With two days to go before the start, the  alternative course option  has been chosen. So it’s a  race  south towards  the Gironde Estuary that will start on Sunday. A shorter circuit, 465 nautical miles, but still within the parameters  necessary for the sailors to  validate a race of 600 nautical miles. The race director, Denis Hugues, took the decision in consultation with the Mini Class and Winches Club, organizer of the event, and it wasn’t  easy to take. Apart from  the slightly unfavourable forecast for  the Celtic Sea next week, it’s  above all the public health context on the other side of the Channel and in Ireland that imposes a fortnight’s stay in a  hotel with multiple PCR tests (not reimbursed) on  any crew that should stop there. The  cost to the skippers could amount  to several thousand euros. From previous experience, it’s  not uncommon for damage to occur in the Channel or Celtic Sea during  this event. The last edition of the Mini-Fastnet saw a competitor dismasted and towed to Penzance in England. It’s  therefore a reasonable and safe choice for crews who often have a tight budget and no time to spend 15 days of forced holiday  locked in a hotel. The departure is therefore set for Sunday at 15:00 to be in phase with the passage of the Raz de Sein.

This morning 82 boats are registered for the race : Fastnet Fleet sheet 2021

Translated into English by

More than 80 boats at the start

There have been quite a few withdrawals this week, including Ambroggio Beccaria. Tanguy Bouroullec will leave with  Guillaume L’Hostis on the Pogo Foiler. A big disappointment for  Fabio Muzzolini (945) who won’t be on the start line because of a centreboard problem. These cancellations have made the skippers on the waiting list happy such as  Irina Gracheva who just won the  Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy. For the Series the field remains very much open. This evening we have a total of 83 crews registered. 20 prototypes and 63 series, 5 female crews and 11 nationalities make up the fleet. They’ll make a wonderful sight in Douarnenez Bay not only for the start on Sunday but also for the Prologue, with a great  ‘banana’ course planned for Saturday midday .

Translated into English by


Video briefing accessible on line on Mini-Fastnet web site from Friday 11th June (end of afternoon).

Saturday 12th June :

Start of towing – 10:00

Start of the race – 12:00

Prologue reserved to skipper and co-skipper.

Check of trackers during the prologue.

The captain’s age

« I’ve known 10 Presidents of the Republic, 19 -29 February- and I am  27029 days old. I often celebrate my birthday in Douarnenez »

Joël Gaté, a rugby referee, discovered sailing because his children raced optimists at les Sables d’Olonne. Wanting to watch them during regattas, he found that the committee boat had the best view. This was how he started learning the regulations of sailing races. One thing led to another and he’s now been a gauger for Class 8, Mum 30,  Class’40 and checker/gauger for the Vendée Globe from 1989 to 2012.

A regular on the pontoons of Tréboul (especially in June) Joël has been the gauger on the Mini Class since he retired from primary school teaching in 2002. He distinctly remembers the first boat which passed under his inquisitive eye, the first Pogo 2. Since then, he has assessed nearly  600 mini and the criteria of the Class which then amounted to  2 pages are now issued to skippers as a  120 page booklet. This booklet contains all the regulations which the  Mini and its skipper are subject  to as well as the unwritten but specific one which must never be forgotten: rule  J26. Although mysterious, it’s essential. Once each security check has been completed the gauger must quench his thirst!

« I saw the first  Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy  and lots of wonderful things, and great  people. »

Happy birthday Joël !

Great start for the Mini-Fastnet

We’re 4 days from the Prologue and 5 days from the start of the mythical Mini-Fastnet. Right now there are  84 boats registered. Due to Covid-19, the race could not be held last year and we have to go back to  2019 to remind ourselves of Axel Tréhin and his partner Thomas Coville’s great win on Tartine the 945. Tartine will be there with Fabio Muzzolini,  2020 winner of the  MAP Trophy. But this year it’s Tanguy Bouroullec who’s the big favourite. He risks annihilating the competition. But a race is never finished until the finish line has been crossed !

For the series, the field  is open and there’s no lack of challengers, including : Léo Debiesse, winner of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy, the Italian  Alberto Riva, already winner in 2019 alongside Ambroggio Beccaria, the  Cloarec-Jézéquel pair who may well spice  things up  and Hugo Dhallenne on the  979.

Rendez-vous Saturday afternoon on  12th  June for the  Prologue parade. The race departure is planned for Sunday  13th June at 10:00.

Nearly June !

We find ourselves a little more than a month from the departure of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy, the first of two Mini races leaving from Douarnenez. The Plastimo-Lorient, which raced during confinement, has just finished and saw Hugo Dhallenne and Thibault Vauchel Camus win in Series (979), plus  Pierre le Roy and Cédric Faron winning with  the  imperial prototype 1019, Réseau étincelle.

The Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy and the Mini-Fastnet have been placed on the list of priority competitions by the French Sailing Federation and should take place on the dates concerned under a protocol adapted to the health situation;  less convivial perhaps but the warmth and good spirits of the Winches Club volunteers will still be present!

Dozens of boats are on the waiting list. And the organisation has just allowed 4 extra places, carrying the number of registrations for each race to 84. The competitors can’t wait to get to Douarnenez in June. Which makes for a very promising season.


French Duo Racing of 600 nautical miles

Departure 13 June, 2021
Awards 19 June, 2021

International Double Race of 600 nautical miles
Douarnenez – Fastnet Lighthouse – Douarnenez

The Mini-Fastnet organised since 2002 by the Winches Club.

Mini-Fastnet… 600 nautical miles to enter in Mini Class history. Four unforgettable days and nights to approach the legendary light of the Fastnet. A race to be shared as a real proof.

So, absolute to integrate the Mini circuit threw this race.

The course (approximatively 600 nautcal miles) :
Douarnenez – Chenal du Four – Wolf Rock –  Racon, East of Scilly –  Stags – Fastnet Lighthouse – Douarnenez.

The registration is open here

An exceptional race.

An apocalyptic crossing of the English Channel with about a dozen teams who have abandoned, the charm of the Irish coasts, the legendary Fastnet Lighthouse followed by a calm and nerve-racking period, and finally a very exciting finish: this was the 34th Mini Fastnet. As Thomas Coville puts it: “It’s an exceptional race with diverse challenges”. On top of that, a new speed record was set, making this year a memorable 34th edition of the Mini-Fastnet. The looks and smiles of the sailors on arrival tell you about the intense and fantastic adventure that they just had.
Last Friday we celebrated in particular the two champions who, like last year, won the Mini-Fastnet: Axel Tréhin in proto and Ambrogio Beccaria in series. It was also the end of three busy weeks for the team of volunteers from the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy and the Mini-Fastnet, two races that add to the reputation of Douarnenez among the Mini races.
The adventure continues for the competitors of the Mini circuit, with the Transgascogne at the end of July and the Mini-Transat in September, for some of them.
Thank you all! See you next year!