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Pre-start impressions – v2

Melwin Fink (920 – SignForCom): “I’m super excited and super motivated about this second leg. I’ve managed to really get some good rest. The three-week stopover was long, a bit too long maybe. I’m really very happy to be heading back out to sea and setting a course for the Caribbean. It’s going to be a completely different race to the first leg. This leg is going to be longer as well as much more open on a strategic level. We’re starting out from scratch again pretty much, which is highly motivating. I hope to have some fun and obviously I want to finish and rank well. I’m focused on the race. I’ve tried to prepare my boat as best I can and I’ve had great support. It’s all down to me now, or almost!”

Hugo Dhallenne (979 – YC Saint Lunaire): “I’m really keen to get out there. I want to do my best and get to the finish as soon as possible. In the first leg, I must admit that I sailed with my foot to the floor without really sparing my steed. In this second leg, the plan is pretty much the same. I’m intending to sail flat out in the hope that the machine and the sailor can hold out to the end. The weather’s very squirrely, so we’ll have to make the best of what we get. The models are pretty much in agreement for the first few days, but then we’ll have to choose between a northerly or southerly course according to the weather reports we’ll receive via SSB and that decision will be key. I’m going to sail my own race without worrying what the others are up to. I’m not going to cover my playmates because we don’t have enough means at our disposal in Mini to find out where they’ve gone in any case. I’m eager to set sail and eager to finish!”

Pierre Le Roy (1019 – TeamWork): “I feel quite stressed as the weather is fairly complex with some really clear-cut options, which could cause some grief if we get it wrong. There are three of us who were virtually tied at the end of the first leg, so we know that the Mini Transat will be won in this second leg. It’s incredible. Added to that, I think we’ll lose contact with one another fairly quickly. After two or three days, we’ll lose sight of the others. It’ll be important to sail our own race, sail well and then we’ll see what happens at the finish. I know how I operate. I mull things over for a long time to be 200% sure of what I’m doing, even though there’s always an element of uncertainty. I know that I’m not going to go back on my decisions. At the finish, either I’ll be happy or I’ll have messed up, but I’ll accept it either way. I don’t think I’ll have anything to regret if I’ve followed through on my analysis. I’ll feel satisfied at the finish if I feel that I’ve sailed well, but I’m clearly gunning for victory.” 

Christian Kargl (980 – All Hands On Deck): “The match is wide open and I’m incredibly keen to get down to battle again. My third place in the first leg was a bit unexpected for me and I’m going to have to really work hard to stay at the front of the pack as I’m up against rivals who are both young and very motivated. I’m the ‘old hand’ of the group, but I fully intend to give my all to stay in contact with the others from start to finish. We’ll have to make some good decisions and have a long-term strategy. It won’t be easy to find the compromise between going fast and not extending our course too much, but it’s going to be interesting. There will doubtless be some very different options within the fleet, but we can only work out what’s what once we get to the other side. I have nothing to prove to myself, but I want to show others that, despite my age, I’m not as rusty as all that and that I’m capable of posting another Top 3 spot”.

Fabio Muzzolini (945 – Tartine sans Beurre): “The podium in the prototype category remains open, added to which the two most powerful boats are unlikely to be favoured, so I believe anything’s possible. We’ll see what happens in Guadeloupe. I think the fleet will be bunched together at the start. It’s going to be interesting to play around, even though there’s going to be some sizeable traps, with some notably areas with precious little breeze. The first five days are likely to be dangerous and I can’t even imagine the scenario if I’m pinned to the racetrack whilst the others escape. That could lead to a bad atmosphere aboard. We’re lined up for a fortnight at sea and I think I’ll only be able to get my head around that when the time comes. In the first leg, I quickly managed to get into my race and I’ll try to do the same here. In contrast to two years ago, this year it’s less about the adventure aspect for me. I’ve really dedicated all my preparation to this Mini Transat and all my strategic decisions will revolve around me giving my all. I’ll be happy if I’m still on the podium at the finish.”

Basile Bourgnon (975 – Edenred): “I’m hungry for it. The spirit of revenge after the first leg is uppermost in my mind so I hope this one will play out differently. They aren’t the usual weather conditions for a transatlantic, but there are lots of opportunities on the cards, making it possible to catch up if you’re behind. It’s going to be tiring and quite long. Being alone and at sea for a long time is no big deal for me. I hope I don’t run out of food and water. I also hope there will be a bit of breeze nonetheless so we can go fast as it’s a race after all. The conditions mean anything’s still possible. I don’t think I’ll pay too much attention to the rankings for the first few days, so I don’t feel destabilised or influenced in some way, but clearly we’re going to have to make the right choices.”

Arno Biston (551 – Bahia Express): “I feel good about setting sail on the second leg. This is what I came for. These aren’t the typical Atlantic conditions though, so that’s a bit of a shame. Maybe we’ll have to come and do this again for that! (laughs) We’ll see. I feel a bit more stressed than I did for the first leg, because I’ve seen that I can make good headway. As such, I want to do better and not let my mates get in front this time. We’ll need to go fast and hard to start with and then stay in front. That’s the watchword. Everyone’s really keen to get amongst it and I’ve felt like that since I arrived, even though it’s very pretty here.”

Brieuc Lebec (914 – Velotrade): “You wouldn’t think it, but a three-week stopover is a long time. We’ve been wanting to get going for quite a while. I wanted to get going again as soon as I finished the first leg so I could try and get my revenge. Needless to say, I’m very happy to be leaving and it’s a long leg so we’ll have longer to enjoy it. I want to have fun and sail a good race. From the start, we’ll need to  manage the rounding of the Canary Islands and their wind shadows as we hunt for pressure and try to time the gybes just right. After that, we’ll have to deal with the unknown, but it’ll be important to focus on the start of the leg without thinking too much about the rest.”

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