It’s been a great opportunity to see what we need to work on. An amazing overall experience with a great taste of the circuitAlex Laline about the Mini en Mai
Well what an amazing experience!! Skeiron 911 and I have just finished our first single-handed race, a 500nm loop around the difficult coast of Brittany where big tides and unpredictable weather were the highlights of this infamous race.
The month before the race wasn’t as expected with a few problems onboard that didn’t allow us to go out training. So after 4 weeks getting everything we could possibly get ready onboard and getting Skeiron 911 some new toys like a Solar Panel, it wasn’t until the very last minute that we managed to sort out the problem with the rudder that kept us from sailing for so long.
So, together with some other minis from the Pole of La Rochelle, we pointed the bow to Trinitee, from where the race would start in a few days. After a long upwind delivery, we managed to tie alongside and immediately after started doing all the mandatory safety checks required by the FFVoile (French Sailing Federation).
After we got the thumbs up and debriefed about the race by the race committee, we were ready to head out to sea. With a light wind start and some difficult passages on the course, it was looking like a very technical race. I’ve sailed a few times in the Brittany coast with other boats but I’m not even close to have the experience some of the other mini sailors have in this coast. So with that in mind, I knew that it would be a tough challenge to do well, but the motivation and spirits never dropped.
The day arrived and the tactics were clear in my mind: stay close to shore for the big tides in little winds. With big nerves, we sailed off the dock and started to visualise all the course.
We didn’t have the best start and after the first night we were more towards the back of the fleet than the front. It was at that moment were I decided to have a change in attitude and really start enjoying the race and having fun.
The first tactical decision came with one of the most famous passages in the world, the Ras du Sein. Having the tide against I made the decision to stay as close to the shore as possible to try and avoid getting swiped out by the incredible strong current, specially with the little winds we had and having to tack through the Ras. It made the crossing extremely difficult but the decision seemed to work and we made our first big gain of the race, overtaking over 15 minis just at that point.
It was by the end of that second day that we finally started having the conditions which this boats were built for: big downwind surfing. We had up to a F6 with the big spinnakers, having a few broaches at night that made you feel very small in occasions. We changed to our smaller kite, being cautious and trying not to break anything onboard. Which seemed to work when you hear the problems in some of the other boats!!
After that big downwind night, we started having more reaching conditions, which Skeiron seemed to love, making again big gains on the leaderboard.
We could have had an amazing result if it wasn’t for the last day which, after not rationing properly my sleeps and breaks, I was very tired. We kept losing position by position and by the end of that day we had dropped again in the rankings.
Being the first race and the first time we were able to match other minis (64 total) we were quite cautious in some occasions and mainly focused on finishing our first race. At the end we finished 28th out of 47 boats in series so I am really really happy as there’s still huge amounts to learn and improve!!
Now the racing season has finished for me and Skeiron, but we have very clear in mind what are the points we need to work on for next year and we will try to be fighting more at the top of the leaderboard and trying to be as competitive as we can.
Thank you so much to all of you have have been following our progress and have contributed in any possible way, without all of you non of this could have even started.
If you want to help me and Skeiron 911 to qualify for the next Mini Transat, follow this link. Any small contribution helps!
If you want to know more about the project and about this whole adventure, follow this other link
Keep following us cause this adventure has just started!!