Initially scheduled for September 26, the start of the 23rd edition of the Mini Transat has been postponed by 24 hours due to a front off the Côte de Lumière, with delays to improve the safety of the 90 competitors.
Organized every two years for the Mini 6.50, the smallest class of offshore racing at 21 feet, the 4,050 nm course is divided into two parts: Les Sables d’Olonne (France) to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries (Spain), leaving on October 29 for the second stage in Saint-François in Guadeloupe.
But with a very active front scheduled to ride off the Vendée coast from Sunday evening until Monday (September 26-27), the race director Denis Hugues did not want the difficult conditions of the first day to prevent having so many competitors as possible. possible across the Atlantic.
“The latter will generate average wind speeds of 30 to 35 knots, with gusts of over 40 knots, as well as difficult, cross seas with fairly short intervals between waves,” said Hugues. “Immersing the riders in such conditions on their first night clearly didn’t seem like a reasonable proposition. “
A notable proving ground for sailors with reduced aspirations, it is also a testing platform for new types of boats, with 65 competitors entering the production division for manufactured boats while the prototype division counts 25 participants with personalized designs.
The only American in the predominantly European fleet, Jay Thompson (above) is making a dream come true by taking the start of the 2021 Mini Transat.
Since 2006, he has crisscrossed the waters of the globe by boat with his family and the Californian is currently on a “stopover” in France. He started his career in Laser, before securing a solid 7th place in the 2014 F16 World Championship, then participating in major crewed races on demanding boats such as the Marström 32 or the TP52.
“For a very long time, I have dreamed of racing solo in Europe,” explains the skipper who, since his arrival in Brittany, has not only managed to sail regularly in Figaro, Class40 and IMOCA, but has also made a name for himself as one of the most sought after shore crews.
Thompson will pilot a very innovative foil design by Guillaume Verdier that he built himself. “In my eyes, the Mini Transat, and more precisely the prototype class, is a platform for experimentation. The boat has proven to be fast in transatlantic conditions, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Race details: https://www.minitransat.fr/fr/