12 prototypes in the lead !

The 1019 – TeamWork took the lead  last night, passing  Yeu island at around 10pm. This morning Pierre Le Roy and Cedric Faron were still ahead  and rounded the BXA at around 9am. They’re now starting the climb back up towards the Chaussée de Sein, leaving the Rochebonne plateau on their starboard side. Behind them, there are no less than 11 Prototypes before we find  the first Series  boat 993-EdiliziAcrobatica 12 nautical miles from 1019 – TeamWork.

Following behind are  886-HALTOFLAME / ilots.site and the 914-Velotrade, respectively 2nd and 3rd in Series.

By 11am, the following boats had rounded  the BXA: 969-POGO FOILER, 850-Pays d’Iroise, 800-Irina Gracheva Racing, 787-DECOSAIL, 624-NOVAM and 865-Guenifey.

The first boats are expected to arrive overnight Wednesday to Thursday.

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A Day of Gybing

It’s not very exciting looking at the map today. The Minis are slowly moving forward at about 140 degrees to the wind in a subtle game of gybes to keep the best compromise between course and speed (a straight line not being the case here). Irina Gracheva on the 800 is back in the game after a not so great start. All the Prototypes are within 20 nautical miles  of each other this evening, still led by Nolwen PEBELIER and Frederic MOREAU on the 787 DECOSAIL. In the Series, we notice the coastal option of Loïc and Aymeric Blin on the 871, probably in search of wind. No, Belle Ile is not one of the marks on the course. In the lead, offshore, 4 boats are one nautical mile away from the pack: 914-Velotrade, 886-HALTOFLAME / ilots.site, 947-Race For Pure Ocean and 893-Groupe Adre. They should pass Yeu in the middle of the night.

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First morning of the race

After the first night, two prototypes, both pointy ones, are in the lead: the 787 – DECOSAIL, Nolwen PEBELIER/Co-Skipper: Frederic MOREAU and the 712 – RAS INTERIM Paul GAUCHET/Co-Skipper:Pierre MOIZAN. To the south of Penmarc’h, they headed south-west towards  Yeu island, they’re sailing at 8 knots with the 969-POGO FOILER, 850-Pays d’Iroise and 1019-TeamWork on their starboard side.

In the Series, the 1007-Association MJ pour l’Enfance skippered by Chloe LE BARS and Lina RIXGENS has been leading since yesterday evening. The two skippers are followed by Jean-Marie Jézéquel and Paul Cloarec on the 951- Branchet/KPL, who are themselves followed by the main fleet 3-4 nautical miles behind.

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Yesterday evening on Téa :

Passage through the  Raz

At 20:30 the first ones passed through  the Raz de Sein.

In the Series  class, the 993-EdiliziAcrobatica, the 886-HALTOFLAME / ilots.site, the 1007-Association MJ pour l’Enfance were in the lead. Amongst the prototypes, the “pointy” ones seemed to be in command: the 491-Port of Galway (the Irishman of the race) side by side with the 551-Bahia express and  the 709-RAS INTERIM sailed ahead of the fleet.

They had to go and pick up some wind near the  Cap de la Chèvre coast  at the mouth of the  Bay to avoid slowing up  before crossing  the Raz. A quarter of the competitors passed through without incident  at 21:00. The wind was only 2 knots north of the Pointe du Raz.

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Start of the 35th Mini-Fastnet

The second start was the good one. After a general recall, the skippers set off westwards at 15:18 at a slow pace. Many of them chose to skim the southern coast of the Bay of Douarnenez by tacking. The fleet is dense with 82 boats and unfortunately there was  a collision which led to abandonment by  the 944 Guyot Environnement and the 976 Icarus. At the mouth of Douarnenez  Bay, after 2 hours of racing, the 966 – Les ALPHAS, led by Léo Debiesse and Thomas de Dinechin were  at the head of a  very compact pack.

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Sunny start

This Sunday, a large anticyclone is stretching from the Azores to the North Sea, and all of France is enjoying fabulous sunny weather. The start of the 35th Mini-Fastnet at 15:00 this afternoon will be under a light wind, 5 to 8 knots from the North West. From Wednesday onwards, thunderstorms and a West-North-West swell should make the race a little tougher.

All the weather information is available here : Briefing météo

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Jean-Jacques Quéré’s weather forecast

The weather pattern for the Mini-Fastnet over  the southern course seems to be in place: a relative  low pressure over the Iberian Peninsula and a high pressure axis from the Azores to the North Sea which will subside on Tuesday evening with the arrival of a high altitude trough, giving a good gust of wind and heavy seas south of Ireland. A thundery axis will rise from the bottom of the Bay of Biscay on Wednesday before the Atlantic high pressure system pushes back in from the west with north-northwest winds.

The prevailing east-north-easterly flow at the start of the race will disappear on Wednesday, giving way to north-north-westerly winds at the end of the race until Friday evening.


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Prologue Briefing & Course Briefing

The Prologue briefing by  Hervé Chastel, President of the Race Committee, can be viewed here : Briefing Prologue (french)

Prologue briefing :


Start of towing:  10:00

Start procedure: 12:00 [midday]

Course :

Banana dog leg

3 laps

Pennant  n°3

See the course in the Racing Instructions

The committee will communicate all its intentions and the starting procedure on  Channel  72

Safety :

VHF race channel 72

The outrigger is forbidden until the starting signal. It must be folded to starboard or taken down to respect the 3 metre width of the frame.

In case of retirement, report to the race channel.

Turn on the AIS during the whole race for AIS transponder test.

An unofficial ranking will be established.

Towing :

It is essential  to follow the tugboat route and go along the pontoons.

On the way back: waiting area between  Coulinec   and Tristan Island, watch out  for  the dinghy sailing and windsurfing school

Weather :

North wind veering to west 8 to 13 knots

Tides :

Low tide : 12:58

High tide : 19:02

Coefficient : 72


The security and weather briefing will take place on Sunday 13 June at 10:30 with Denis Hugues, Race Director, Jean-Jacques Quéré, meteorologist and  Hervé Chastel, President of the Race Committee.

It will take place as a videoconference. You must connect at 10:15 on the following link : Click here to join the meeting

You don’t have to install the Teams application, you can use any up to date browser.

To connect to wifi : Winchesclub-Guest / password : Map&FastNet21

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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

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