Still no start date

Mini Transat organisers and competitors twiddle their thumbs awaiting the Bay of Biscay to calm itself

Wednesday October 16th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

In the absence of a break in the weather over the next 48 hours, the race committee of the Mini Transat has decided to bring the fleet back into Port Rhu where there are more comfortable facilities to endure the wait. The race was scheduled to set sail from Douarnanez on Sunday.

Yesterday’s proposal to gather in Gijon on the north coast of Spain before passing Cape Finisterre has been temporarily abandoned. Finally, a color-coded system for all those interested in the race has been set up to warn of the possibility of imminent departure. Explanations.

To understand the weather situation, imagine a dividing line from the Breton peninsular to Cape Finisterre. This highway at present is being swept by strong to very strong southwesterly headwinds. At the moment the winds are particularly strong between the Ortegal peninsula and Cape Finisterre, where gusts of over 50 knots are expected in the coming days.

This weather conditions have led the race committee not to go ahead with the option of a stopover in Gijon. Given current projections, the risk was too great that the fleet would find itself stuck in the Asturian port, unable to safely navigate the 180 miles separating Gijon and Cape Finisterre in strong westerlies. This option only works if the competitors spend two to three days in port there before rounding the northwestern tip of Spain.


Latest Comments

  • Chris Sayer 16/10/2013 - 20:27

    Common sense to not start an ocean race with a forecast of a potential 40 knots of wind and 3m to 4m sea state?! Would you sail across the atlantic or around the coast of Europe in a boat that you did not feel confident in being able to beat off lee shore in 40 to 50 knots of wind? In my limited experience winds of up to 60 knots can pop up and catch you out with very little warning anytime and anywhere. You have to be prepared and able to deal with it. The only message the race management is giving these sailors is to continue trying to maximize weight savings for light to medium air performance at the expense of sea-worthiness. True it is not fun sailing to windward in a gale but to keep on delaying races like this has very real and negative consequences. Two weeks after the 1999 race finished a hurricane passed and that does not bare thinking about for any boats still at sea.
  • David Bains 16/10/2013 - 11:00

    This is an outbreak of common-sense with 21ft boats setting off across the Bay off Biscay at this time of year. I can think of several sailors (of larger boats) who would still be alive if race management had made these decisions in the past, rather than copping out, under media pressure, with declarations that it's the skipper's sole responsibility etc. But I'm still amazed it's actually happening!

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