Further carnage

Race favourites Ian Lipinski and Gwenole Gahinet out of the Mini Transat

Friday November 15th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian was determined that his position, as leader of the fleet when the Douarnenez to Sada leg was cancelled, would not be usurped. In conditions that are not particularly favourable to the hull shape of his scow Proto, the Italian sailor is keeping the competition at bay. In the Series class, Aymeric Belloir on Tout le Monde Chante contre le Cancer, is out in front.

As expected, the Portuguese trade winds continue to blow hard. The wind consistently exceeds 30 knots as the boats move away from the coast and the combination of a beam wind plus a residual northwesterly cross sea gives the sensation of being in a pinball machine on board the boats. Several competitors have had bitter experiences and for some, the punishment has resulted in retirement, either because the vessel has suffered too much damage, or simply because, there comes a point when enough is enough and you simply want it to stop.

Breakages and lessons

The Portuguese trade winds have already pulled the rug from under a number of competitors, include two podium contenders in both the Series and Proto classes. Ian Lipinski (Pas de Futur sans Numérique) paid the price for coming off a big wave. Bad luck struck when he, just out of a nap, was about to go on deck. He was caught by a wave that filled the interior of his Pogo in no time. At the same time, the boat turned turtle sitting with its keel in the air for a long time before coming upright, dismasted.

Ian was rescued by a cargo ship en route to Sfax in Tunisia. Later that night, it was Gwénolé Gahinet (Watever / Logways) that requested assistance from the race organisation, when one of the bearings for his canting keel broke. The sailor, who could have lost his keel at any point, was finally able to board a Portuguese fishing boat.

Other sailors who have thrown in the towel are: Joel Garcia Miro (Argo 650) who will not leave Camarillas where he had taken refuge. Yann Le Pautremat and Sébastien Picault have confirmed their retirement, alongside Bert Bossyns (Netwerk) who took refuge in the port of Peniche. Finally, Gilles Avril (Evolution Marine) hit a log while sailing down a wave. The bow of hisboat did not survive the crash. He is now safe aboard one of the support boats.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Pedote, Benoît Marie (benoitmarie.com), Nicolas Boidevezi (Nature Addicts) and Bertrand Delesne (TeamWork) are leading the race, showing their extensive offshore experience. Other competitors have chosen to temper their approach, for example Stan Maslard (Sefico Group) has clearly opted to stay closer to the Portuguese coast to take advantage of the calmer sea and a less strong wind. Renaud Mary (www.runo.fr) is taking the same strategy. It's a choice that may pay off, since Renaud is credited with the biggest gain over the last 24 hours from noon to noon. And the fight between Aymeric Belloir, Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) and Simon Koster (Go4It) remains spectacular.

Pit stop

For others, the race has been on hold as they make technical pitstops. In Porto, Clement Bouyssou (No War) and François Guiffant (Scidiam) are due to leave tomorrow morning. This is also the case for Pip Hare (The Potting Shade), François Lamy (Guadeloupe Espace Océan) and Diane Reid (One's Girl Ocean Challenge) who have all called in near Lisbon. Others, like Carlos Lizancos (Reyno de Navarra) or Pilar Pasanau (Peter Punk) have not yet confirmed their intention to continue the race.

Protos at 15.00 UTC
1. Giancarlo Pedote (747) with 3099.7 nm to finish
2. Nicolas Boidevezi (719) + 43.4 nm
3. Benoit Marie (667) + 53.8 nm
4. Bertrand Delesne (754) + 60.7 nm
5. Julien Pulve (802) + 65.4 nm

Series at 15.00 UTC
1. Aymeric Belloir (810) with 3171.4 nm to finish
2. Justine Mettraux (824) + 7.8 nm
3. Simon Koster (819) + 11.5 nm
4. Renaud Mary (535) + 18.3 nm
5. Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (607) +39.1 nm

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