Mini Transat mods

Full entry list, an earlier start and a long long stopover in Lanzarote

Saturday March 21st 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

On 19 September, 84 competitors will be heading out to do battle with the Atlantic in the 20th running of the Mini Transat. As was the case in 2013, the race will set sail from Douarnenez in northwest Brittany, bound for the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe with a stopover in Lanzarote.

For this year's anniversary race, the aim of the organisers is to improve the event, building on lessons learned in 2013. This will entail:

- Support and reinforcement of the on-site teams in terms of logistics, race management and communication.
- A return to Douarnenez’ Port Rhu, to showcase the Mini fleet as proved so successful in 2013.
- Rallying more local volunteers, whose ethos is in keeping with the values of the Mini Transat.
- Moving the start date forward to 19 September with a longer stopover in Lanzarote.
- Retaining the original early-November start date for the second leg so as to avoid encountering hurricanes in the area
- Strengthening of the partnerships with Guadeloupe and the hosting of competitors.

With 78 competitors already pre-registered, the Mini Transat is once again guaranteed to have a maximum-sized line-up. Among the entries we find some of last race’s front runners in the Proto class, including Michele Zambelli, Ludovic Méchin and Romain Mouchel, who are back once more to try their luck. They’ll be joined by some other familiar figures in the class, who have traded in their Series boats for Protos, such as Clément Bouyssou and Davy Beaudart with his Maximum, the sistership to David Raison's famous Magnum, the scow which Ramous famously sailed to victory in the Mini Transat 2011 and then secured second in the hands of Giancarlo Pedote in 2013.

Another competitor making the switch from Series to a Proto with a scow bow is Swiss sailor Simon Koster. In a month and half's time, his new Proto will be complete.

“The Mini design is by Mer Forte," Koster explains. "In addition to her scow bow, my Mini will boast a number of other innovations, but I don’t want to reveal all before the launch! Construction began in early September in Lorient and the boat is currently in Switzerland for her fitting-out. My goal is to launch her in late April so as to take the start of the Mini en Mai on 4 May.”

In the Series fleet, all eyes will be on the battle between the Nacira designs. Sailed by Damien Cloarec, Jonas Gerckens and Patrick Girod these dominated the Series class race in 2013. Also worth following are the Argos, including Tanguy Le Turquais and Spanish America's Cup navigator Nacho Postigo. Then there are the two newest Series designs - provided they are granted this status - the Pogo 3 and the Ofcet, to skippered by Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulvé respectively.

Beyond the competitive aspects, it’s the cosmopolitan nature of the fleet which is always impressive with 13 different nationalities from Europe to China, Russia and Estonia. Just three women are currently pre-registered, surprisingly all of them from the UK, including Britain's Nikki Curwen, Lizzy Foreman and Becki Scott (more on them in due course...)




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