This Saturday, while the leaders of the 24th edition of La Boulangère Mini Transat have fallen below the 1,500 miles mark remaining on the course and the vast majority of the fleet has now passed the famous obligatory waypoint located at 25° North and 27 ° West, it continues to move forward at full speed on the road to the Antilles. And for good reason, the trade winds are perfectly well established and blow at around twenty knots on seas which are tending to flatten out. In this context, the challenge for the solo sailors is to manage to place the cursor in the right place in order to go quickly while preserving the equipment as best as possible, especially as a few squalls are starting to appear.
“ The trade winds are generally in place and are blowing at around twenty knots with possibly a few squalls. There is a bit of sea (2.5 meters of waves), but the state of the sea is improving, ” announces Christian Dumard, the weather consultant for the event. To summarize, the conditions that the sailors of La Boulangère Mini Transat are currently dealing with are almost perfect. Not only is the weather nice, but these famous northeast winds, languid at first, are now downright vigorous for everyone. Both in the south and in the north. The proof, this Saturday, all the solo sailors showed similar speeds even if some pushed the pedal a little harder than others, by choice or because they were no longer completely at 100% of their boat's potential.
For example, the average of the last few hours concerning Victor Mathieu (967 – Celeris Informatique), second in the first stage, may raise questions. He is, in fact, currently almost half as fast as his opponents around him. Off track? Loss of its large spinnaker? As it stands, it's difficult to say anything. “ This second stage is an endurance stage. The goal will be to find the right balance between going quickly and not breaking anything,” indicated the Suresnois shortly before leaving Santa Cruz de La Palma. And this is indeed the challenge of the moment for the Minists who still have 1,500 miles to go to reach Guadeloupe, or a little more than half of the route of this stage 2 – Air Caraibes in terms of miles , but significantly less in terms of time. “ The ETAs (estimates of arrival times) seem to be confirmed for the 9th at the end of the day ,” underlines Denis Hugues, the Race Director.
Try to stay 100%
Broadly speaking, what will these last five-six days of racing look like? A speed race, certainly. With a few small subtleties nonetheless. “ In the next 72 hours, the wind will gradually turn to the east for the first ones. The latter will therefore continue to sail on starboard tack to seek the wind shift. This will be less marked for latecomers ,” explains Christian Dumard. What about the ranking? Among the Protos, Federico Waksman (1019 – Repremar – Shipping Agency Uruguay) remains, as yesterday, the fastest in the fleet and now has a lead of almost 70 miles over his closest pursuer despite a small counter-tap towards the unproductive south, yesterday afternoon. In the Series, Hugues de Prémare (1033 – Technip Energies – International Coatings) and Félix Oberlé (1028 – Mingulay) ended up, as expected, by blowing away the spotlight from Luca Rosetti (998 – Race = Care), positioned 100 miles to their north. These two race side to side and undoubtedly set a great pace, but for them as for the others, it is a matter of avoiding uncontrolled slippages as well as small technical glitches, like Peter Gibbons Neff (837 Terminal Leave).
Following a collision with an UFO (unidentified floating object), the American broke eight rudder bolts. It arrived in Mindelo, on the Cape Verdean island of São Vicente, this morning around 11:30 a.m., and should quickly repair before resuming its course. In this same port, we should, in a few days, see the arrival of Alexis Rochet (962 – Espérances Banlieues) who hopes to restore the axis of his connecting bar as well as his main pilot.
Text & Image: La Boulangère Mini Transat