Approaching the Chenal du Four

Approaching the Chenal du Four, the prototypes are the head of the fleet. The first ones are sailing at more than 14 knots.
We find in order:
945 – Axel Tréhin and Thomas Coville 865 – François Jambou and Pascal Fievet
969 – Tanguy Bouroullec and Rémi Aubrun
950 – François Champion and Ludovic Séméchal
800 – Ian Lipinski and Benoit Hantzperg
In the series, we find in order:
969 – Hugo Dhalenne and Benoit Champanhac
943 – Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Riva
947 – Matthieu Vincent and Alessandro Torresani
951 – Paul Cloarec and Jean-Marie Jézéquel

902 – Benjamin Ferre and Kevin Bloch

Abandonment: Guillaume L’Hostis and Jules Bonnier’s 868 turned around and has returned to Douarnenez, electronic problem.

On the way to Fastnet

After a good start slightly after 9:30 am, Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Riva, on the 943, were the first to round the mark followed by the 902, Benjamin Ferre and Kevin Bloch and the 944, Amélie Grassi and Davy Beaudart. Not far away, the 945, Tartine with Axel Tréhin and Thomas Coville tacked the mark in the lead of prototypes. At 10:30 am, Tartine took the lead in the race in front of François Jambou and Pascal Fievet on the 865 and 850 of Antoine Perrin and Yannick Le Clech.

Abandonment: the 930, Marie Gendron and Paul Gauchet did not start this morning due to a rudder problem.

Abandonment of the 716 and daggerboard traffic

Fabio Muzzolini and Jean-Pierre Oudot (716) broke the luff groove of the mainsail during the prologue. So the Mini-Fastnet adventure is unfortunately over for them. The misfortune of some is the happiness of others; upon arrival at the pontoon, a traffic of daggerboard took place. Indeed, as Axel Tréhin and Thomas Coville had broken the port daggerboard on Tartine (945), and for a matter of compatibility, Axel took the daggerboard of the 850, Hydroprocess, of Antoine Perrin and Yannick Le Clech, who took the daggerboard of the 716 of Fabio Muzzolini and Jean-Pierre Oudot.


Prologue Michèle Marchais

Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Riva, on the 943, crossed the finish line of the Prologue Michèle Marchais at the head of the fleet. They are followed by Chaffoil, the 969, skippered by Tanguy Bouroullec. In a 15-20 knot wind, the crews had to make a lap and a half of the course in the Douarnenez Bay. During this warm-up race, there were many abandonments and many damages among the competitors. Axel Tréhin and Thomas Coville broke the port daggerboard of Tartine, the 945, while they were well in the lead at mark 1.

Mini Fastnet D-1

While the start will be given tomorrow morning at 9:30 am after an 8-minute procedure, we can already say that this Mini-Fastnet 2019 is a very popular topic of discussion.

Chaffoil to fly

The arrival of Chaffoil in Douarnenez, the brand new foiling Mini is a hot topic in the press and is the subject of much talk on the docks. Just out of the Pogo-Structures shipyards of Combrit last week, the skipper Tanguy Bouroullec and a preparation team worked all week on the boat at the Tréboul pontoon. Even if the goal is to “fly” with this boat, the Verdier plan, the idea on the Mini-Fastnet is first to finish the race and learn to how to control the machine.

Thomas Coville with Axel Tréhin

Apart from the 969 and its impressive foils, there are several contenders for victory. Thus, Axel Tréhin, the 945, winner of the Trophy Marie-Agnès Péron on Tartine last week, does not hide his ambitions for success and, to do so, has found a strong team member: Thomas Coville, who also competed in the Mini circuit. Ian Linpinski and Benoit Hantzperg are joining forces on the 800 and are also very serious competitors. Finally, Pascal Fievet will team up with François Jambou on 865.

Tight race in the series

On the series side, Ambrogio Beccaria (943), with Alberto Riva, is ready to defend his title. Also on Pogo 3, Amélie Grassi, on the 944, is lining up at the start with Davy Beaudart, a real figure on the Mini circuit. Arnaud Machado, first in the French championship, starts with Loïc Blin on the 910. Not to mention the “Nez Ronds ” of Hugo Dhallenne, with Benoit Champanhac as co-skipper on the 979 and Paul Cloarec with Jean-Marie Jezequel on the 951.

There are 53 series boats and 26 prototypes to start this exciting Mini-Fastnet. We will be able to see them today in the Bay of Douarnenez during the Prologue Michèle Marchais which takes place at 3pm.

The Father, the Son, and the Mini-Fastnet

Three times, the names of the father and the son appear in the list of the competitors this year. While two of these three pairs team up, the third pair race on different boats.

The youngest competitor, Matthieu Gamot, 16 years old, will start the race with his father Olivier on a Pogo 2, the 720, Yala. Matthieu is more used to sail on his Laser, in Paris between the Pont de Sèvre and the Pont de Saint Cloud, the nautical zone of the sailing club ”Voiles de Seine”. He has already experimented with offshore sailing by participating to conveying. His dream is to take part to the Vendée Globe. Olivier, for his part, wanted to join the adventure again, having already participated to two Mini-Fastnet in 1999 and 2018. Valentine, Matthieu’s mother, is enthusiastic about the idea of a father-son duo, despite the fears it may cause. Without having to take school exams this year, it was the chance for Matthieu for a first Mini-Fastnet experience !

Pep Costa will leave for the Fastnet lighthouse with his father Josep on the prototype number 431. This 20-year-old competitor from Barcelona has been sailing since he was born and has been sailing on Mini since a year. Pep and Josep are happy to finally be able to sail together on this boat. Indeed, Pep would like to participate to the Mini-Transat this year, and his father, who gives his full support to this project, now joins him for the final preparation. The Mini-Fastnet will be their first race in Brittany.

Louison Moreau teams up with Violette Dorange on a Pogo 3, the 955, forming the youngest team in cumulative ages (20 and 18 years old). Frederic, Louison’s father, is the co-skipper of Charles Boschetto on the 973, and the former skipper of the 455 with which he finished the Transat in 2017. Louison, after many years in dinghy and one participation to the BSM in 2016 with his father, would like to finish this race in the top 10-15.

Mini-Fastnet Express

Weekend schedule

Saturday, June 15th

11am: Safety briefing

3pm: Kickoff of the Prologue Michèle Marchais.

The entire fleet will compete on a “super banana” course, north of the Tristan island. A good spot to enjoy the show is the Plage des Sables Blancs.

Sunday, June 16th

7am: Weather briefing

9:30am: Start of the race towards the Fastnet Lighthouse.

The race management, in consultation with the Winches Club, decided on this early start based on the tide in the Chenal du Four and the weather forecast for next week. According to the first routing, it seems that we will be attending a Mini-Fastnet Express with a lot of downwind sailing.

October in June?

It was winter yesterday, it’s spring today! … what about this week-end?

As indicated by Jean-Jacques Quéré, our weather specialist, a rough will cross Douarnenez area on the day of the Prologue, which is scheduled on Saturday, June 15th. Showers and West-Southwest winds at 17/20 knots are forecast.

The weather of the day of the start of the Mini-Fastnet, scheduled on Sunday, June 16th, will be similar as the day before with showers and Southwest winds at 17/20 knots.

The wind will weaken over the night from Monday to Tuesday. On Tuesday, June 18th, it will finally be a nice sunny day for the Minis, with Southeast winds at 5/8 knots on the Celtic Sea.

From Wednesday on, there is no reliable trend forecast at the moment, as weather models diverge largely.

Safety inspection

One of the main goals of the Class Mini is to move towards more safety while maintaining the very sporty and innovative aspect of the Mini. This mindset, accentuated by stubborn memories of accidents, results in boat-competitor pairs among the safest of offshore racing.

Safety first

While the measurement defines the boat-specific safety systems, the safety inspection allows checking and validating the mandatory safety equipment that the skipper will take during the race. This equipment varies according to the category of the race.
Race are thus classified by the Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) according to the number of miles and the difficulty:
The Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy : OSR 3
The Mini-Fastnet : OSR 2
The Mini-Transat : OSR 1
The Vendée Globe : OSR 0

Volunteers are taking care of the inspection

One category separates the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy from the Mini-Fastnet, so more safety equipment is required for the skippers.
In addition to the life raft, the survival container, the EPIRB beacon, the VHF, nautical documents and many other things, the equipment must notably include 2 TPS suits, an AIS transponder and a personal AIS beacon, a SSB radio, an extended pharmacy and additional survival food rations.

A team of volunteers is performing the safety inspection, open until the day before departure. Starting today (Tuesday), they will inspect more than 80 boats.