Mini Transat - Îles de Guadeloupe 2015: The Open Sesame to Adventure - Xu JINGKUN (CHN) SERIE 529
• Mini Transat - Îles de Guadeloupe 2015: The 20th edition of the longest solo race in the smallest of boats
• 55 skippers have qualified so far
• Exceptional procedures
For the 20th edition and the second time, the Mini Transat -Îles de Guadeloupe returns to its origins with a start from Douarnenez (France). The Breton harbour will see the fleet of 84 solo sailors set off on the 19th of September to Lanzarote, where the Mini 6,50 will stop before the Atlantic stage starts on 31st of October. The Mini Transat - Îles de Guadeloupe 2015 solo sailors are expected to finish three weeks later in Pointe-à-Pitre to a warm Caribbean welcome. Created by Briton Bob Salmon in the late 1970s this 4,020 nautical mile race from France to the Caribbean is the longest solo race for the smallest of boats.
The start has been brought forward to the 19th of September to ensure that the crossing of the Bay of Biscay will take place in the safest possible circumstances. It is then that the sailors will see their first dream come true, their efforts rewarded after months of preparation, their qualification stages, and sails and final preparations.
From Douarnenez, the fleet will head to Lanzarote, the port of call until the 31st of October. The departure date in Lanzarote has been set allowing for time to cushion any delays that could be caused by tropical storms. The fleet will be challenged as they set off on an Atlantic crossing and prove their solo racing skills. Without computers, phones or chart plotters allowed, the solo sailors will be operating in a strictly “back to basics” way, using only paper charts and standard GPS for navigation. The Mini Class is about pure and basic sailing, as the skippers are not allowed to make any contact with land during the race.
For many of them, this will represent a form of “rite of passage” before starting a professional sailing career. For others, it will simply be a dream turning into reality.
Qualifying for the Mini Transat Îles de Guadeloupe: Obstacle Race
Before crossing the start line in Douarnenez, the skippers must accumulate a number of miles, combining 1000nm solo-raced and 1000nm of official Class Mini races. To ensure a place is very hard, as the inscriptions are made following the qualifications. The first to be qualified will be the first to guarantee their place on the start line. Haunted by the experience of 2013, when some of them remained on the waiting list and were unable to start, the sailors prepare for the qualifying process way in advance.
This was the case for British sailor Nikki Curwen, even if she did qualify last year, she remained second on the waiting list and in the end, didn’t get to compete. Learning from this, since 2014, she has secured her qualification miles: 1000 nm solo sailed on board of her proto bought from Rémi Fermin. She then participated in the Les Sables-Les Açores-Les Sables race that ensured her qualification. Others followed suit, like podium candidates such as Tanguy Le Turquais, Damien Cloarec or Patrick Girod for the series, and Michele Zambelli or Ludovic Méchin for the prototype.
The Mini Guide is clear: to qualify for the Mini Transat is about taking time, finding yourself within the loneliness and facing up to the idea of crossing the Atlantic without any assistance. The qualification conditions are strict but worth it.
However, some of the candidates may benefit from “exceptional” procedures: that is the case for sailors living in far away countries who will have some places specially reserved for them. This is not a special dispensation, but a procedure introduced to ensure that all the sailors have the same opportunities, regardless of their country of residence.
This is the case for two sailors this year: the Chinese Xu Jingkun, who has prepared to move to Brittany with his wife to carry out his preparation. Manager of a Chinese sailing school, he represents the growing popularity of sailing in his country. On the other side of the Atlantic, the French sailor Rodolphe Victorri will also benefit from this procedure as he lives in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, near Canada.
The same procedure will apply to sailors building new prototypes, to promote new and upcoming projects. The Swiss Simon Koster, third on the 2013 edition on the series, has revealed a radically new prototype with innovative forms that will first race on the Trophee Marie-Agnès Peron. For Simon, there are only few races to qualify: meaning that there is little margin for error.
79 solo sailors registered so far from 13 nations
The cosmopolitan fleet showcases 13 different countries: including France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, China, Hungary, Estonia, Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, Belgium and Switzerland.
Only two women have qualified so far, both of them from the United Kingdom. Lizzy Foreman, the British solo sailor, will be 25 years old when she sets off start line in Douarnenez for the biggest race of her life. “I choose to sail solo for the adventure, the challenge, the freedom…racing solo is very different, yes it can be lonely, but this makes the lead up and finish to races very special. The Mini Class is renowned for being a friendly and supportive class”. “I am really working hard for a top 10 finish, being the first Brit and first woman to do so” says Lizzy.
Friday 11th September: Opening of the Mini Transat-Îles de Guadeloupe Race Village on the quays of the Port Rhu.
Sunday 13th September: Prologue Everything Starts at Finistère
Saturday 19th September: Start of the first stage Douarnenez - Lanzarote (visible from the Rosmeur port)
16th of September: Start of the first stage.
Friday 9th October: Presentation of prizes for the first stage.
Saturday 31st October: Departure of the second stage Lanzarote - Pointe-à-Pitre
From the 14th of November: Arrival of the second stage
Saturday 28th November: Awarding prizes for the second stage Lanzarote - Pointe-à-Pitre
Liste des pré-inscrits qualifiés pour la Mini Transat - Îles de Guadeloupe 2015, au 19 mai
1. PROTO 304 ESP Fidel TURIENZO
2. PROTO 353 FRA Aymeric BLIN
3. PROTO 431 ESP Carlos LIZANCOS
4. SERIE 440 FRA Vincent MADERN
5. PROTO 491 FRA Robin MARAIS
6. PROTO 509 HUN Tamàs KOVACS
7 SERIE 512 FRA Thomas GUICHARD
8. PROTO 513 ITA Maurizio GALLO
9. SERIE 514 FRA Edouard GOLBERY
10. SERIE 523 ITA Rolland VENTURA
11. SERIE 549 FRA Henri LEMENICIER
12. PROTO 551 FRA Julien HEREU
13. SERIE 552 FRA François JAMBOU
14. SERIE 556 ITA Federico CUCIUC
15. SERIE 566 FRA Carl CHIPOTEL
16. SERIE 579 FRA Yann CLAVERIE
17. SERIE 599 FRA Victor TURPIN
18. SERIE 613 GER Jan HEINZE
19. PROTO 614 FRA Maxime EVEILLARD
20. PROTO 629 FRA Olivier JEHL
21. PROTO 630 FRA Nicolas D'ESTAIS
22. SERIE 633 GBR Lizzy FOREMAN
23. SERIE 641 FRA Sylvain MICHELE
24. SERIE 654 ESP Jesus JIMENEZ
25. SERIE 657 FRA Guillermo CAÑARDO
26. SERIE 660 FRA Sébastien PEBELIER
27. PROTO 667 FRA Ludovic MECHIN
28. PROTO 679 FRA Vincent GRISON
29. SERIE 721 FRA Edwin THIBON
30. SERIE 728 FRA Quentin VLAMYNCK
31. SERIE 737 FRA Henri MARCELET
32. PROTO 741 GBR Nikki CURWEN
33. SERIE 745 POR Antonio FONTES
34. PROTO 753 GBR Luke BERRY
35. SERIE 755 FRA Armand DE JACQUELOT
36. PROTO 756 ITA Alberto BONA
37. PROTO 759 FRA Romain MOUCHEL
38. PROTO 787 EST Jaanus TAMME
39. PROTO 788 ITA Michele ZAMBELLI
40. SERIE 796 SUI Simon BRUNISHOLZ
41. SERIE 821 BEL Jonas GERCKENS
42. SERIE 824 SUI Patrick GIROD
43. SERIE 832 FRA Arnaud MACHADO
44. SERIE 833 FRA Damien CLOAREC
45. SERIE 835 FRA Tanguy LE TURQUAIS
46. SERIE 836 FRA Hervé AUBRY
47. SERIE 838 RUS Yury FIRSOV
48. SERIE 843 GBR Toby ILES
49. SERIE 857 ITA Andrea FORNARO
50. SERIE 858 ESP Aitor OCERIN
51. SERIE 860 ESP Nacho POSTIGO
52. PROTO 865 FRA Davy BEAUDART
53. SERIE 866 FRA Ian LIPINSKI
54. SERIE 880 FRA Julien PULVE
55. SERIE 883 ITA Andrea PENDIBENE
En cours de qualification
1. FRA SERIE 219 Julien BOZZOLO
2. ESP PROTO 240 Pilar PASANAU
3. FRA PROTO 247 Murphy MICHAUT
4. FRA PROTO 303 Loic COUDRET
5. GER PROTO 348 Dominik LENK
6. FRA PROTO 391 Geoffrey MATACZYNSKI
7. FRA SERIE 435 Charles BOULENGER
8. EST SERIE 470 Martin RAAK
9. FRA SERIE 587 Andy ABEL
10. NED SERIE 602 Robert ROSEN JACOBSON
11. FRA PROTO 606 Augustin DOUMIC
12. BEL SERIE 623 Frédéric DE MESEL
13. FRA PROTO 624 Gilles AVRIL
14. ITA SERIE 659 Thomas PIRCHER
15. FRA PROTO 716 Axel TREHIN
16. GER SERIE 732 Chris LUEKERMANN
17. FRA SERIE 742 Stanislas THURET
18. FRA PROTO 802 Clément BOUYSSOU
19. NED PROTO 817 Sander VOGELENZANG
20. FRA P/S 868 Olivier TAILLARD
21. FRA P/S 869 Charly FERNBACH
22. FRA P/S 871 Benoit HANTZPERG
1. CHN SERIE 529 Xu JINGKUN
2. FRA SERIE 830 Rodolphe VICTORRI
3. SUI PROTO 888 Simon KOSTER
Photo : © Jacques Vapillon / Mini Transat 2015