[FOCUS] The escort boats of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019
The Mini-Transat is a solo race, without assistance and without communication with the ground. However, our little sailors are not totally abandoned during the Atlantic crossing. Indeed, they will be accompanied by seven escort boats. Their mission is not only to follow the minis and watch over them, but also to be ready to intervene if the race director, Denis Hugues, asks them to. They will be the eyes and ears of the director throughout the crossing.
Every week, discover the different boats and their crews who will watch over our skippers.
TEA - Pogo 12.50 operated by Henri Gourmelon.
Henri Gourmelon has been sailing since he was a child, and it was in 1994 that he fell into the Minis' pot when he bought his first 6.50, a COCO. Even if he buys a Pogo 6.50 the following year, Henri has not finished sailing aboard a mini. Indeed, he participated in the Mini-Transat in 2003, from La Rochelle to Brazil. Brazil... A place to which he will return later: in 2007, he was part of the crew of a boat escorting the Minis, and he met his wife in Brazil, at the arrival of this transatlantic.
With the idea of going even further, Henri successively became the owner of a Pogo 8.50 to a Pogo 12.50. He received the latter in 2015, the year in which the Mini-Transat left from Douarnenez and took this opportunity to be an escort boat for this edition. As he greatly appreciated this experience as captain of his boat for the first time, he decided to join the Minis fleet again for the 2019 edition.
During the crossing, his crew will be composed of five sharp sailors: his wife, Rosana; Philippe Cozic, we may have known him as president of the Asso Pogo or the Transquadra race; Jean-Paul Le Breton, a sailor who has already crossed the Atlantic several times, notably with various participations in the Transquadra; and Olivier Desport, a sailor "Born in Mini", since he participated in the Mini-Transat in 2001 and even finished on the highest step of the podium in series. Olivier will be present on board Téa only on the first stage of the race (from La Rochelle to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). To avoid losing a pair of eyes and ears, he will be replaced by Christophe Coader for the second stage (from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Le Marin, Martinique).
Departure of the Mini-Fastnet, this Sunday
The departures follow one another on the decks of the Winches Club in Douarnenez. Sunday, June 16, it's the Mini-Fastnet's turn to start. This race, which is run in doubles, follows a very precise course. Sailors go to the southwestern tip of Ireland to bypass the Fastnet lighthouse, and then return to Douarnenez. Unlike last week's MAP Trophy, with no storm in sight, sailors should be able to sail quietly, while enjoying winds strong enough to enjoy beautiful surfing!
This race will allow sailors pre-registered for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère to add 600 miles to their qualifying course. Indeed, among the 79 duets registered, 53 have a skipper on the way to participate in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère. One last race, with a friend, before crossing the Atlantic alone. Bon vent !