Despite the delayed start of the 22nd edition of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère, there was a festival atmosphere this Sunday in La Rochelle. Indeed, this morning, a big crowd came along to cheer on the sailors as they docked out of the Bassin des Chalutiers. Out at sea, the competitors set sail on a 34-mile prologue across the bay of La Rochelle, putting on a fine show in what proved to be bracing conditions. With regards to the start of the first leg to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, race management is closely monitoring the evolution of the weather forecast, though it is not envisaging a start before Wednesday or even Thursday. We should know more tomorrow…
The skippers competing in the Mini-Transat La Boulangère had the chance to have a foretaste of what’s to come this Sunday in La Rochelle. They may not have been able to take the planned start of the first leg and set a course for the Canaries and 1,350 miles of adventure. However, they did have an enjoyable session out on the water with their friends and family, and the spectators came out in force to cheer them on as they docked out of the Bassin des Chalutiers to take the start of the prologue (initially scheduled for last Wednesday).
A choice appetiser and some useful revisions
At 14:15 hours, an impressive fleet of Mini 6.50s took the start of a 34-mile sprint in glorious sunshine and a solid SW’ly breeze. Non-point-scoring, this prologue was nonetheless spectacular and the sailors welcomed the opportunity to get back out sailing, check that everything was working properly aboard and, in some cases, invite one or two guests aboard. It was the ideal way to go through the manœuvres they’ve done a thousand times before and it’s always useful to have a last rehearsal just a few days now until the much awaited race start, hopefully later this week. Some sailors may well return to the pontoons of the Bassin des Chalutiers this evening with a jobs list of minor adjustments to complete before they finally take the plunge and set a course for the Canaries…
A possible weather window from Thursday for the start of the first leg?
Today, it is still too early to answer the question on everyone’s lips: when will the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019 set sail? It’s worth noting that the kick-off was postponed due to the complicated weather conditions (in terms of wind and sea state) sweeping the Bay of Biscay and offshore of Cape Finisterre. “We’re going to have to sit it out for a bit to see if there’s a possible weather window from Thursday onwards”, explains Christian Dumard, a meteorologist currently working for Mini-Transat La Boulangère. “Before we consider sending the competitors off onto the racetrack on Thursday, we need to get a better handle on the likely conditions for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’ll probably know more tomorrow.”