Less than six months before the departure of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère
To remember :
- Departure from the Mini-Transat La Boulangère on September 22nd
- 54 solo sailors qualified to date
- Focus on the qualification process for the Mini-Transat La Boulangère
"It was with the Mini that I realized my greatest navigator dreams. The first races of the season before the next edition is both the start of the school year and the beginning of many discoveries. Enjoy being in a legendary class." Thomas Coville launched last weekend to the 136 skippers competing in the Plastimo Lorient Mini 6.50, a qualifying race for the Mini-Transat. Like many of his peers, the skipper from La Trinité does not forget that he started his wide-waist adventures in 1997 on a 6.50 m monohull and never misses an opportunity to remind us how important racing has been in his very successful career. His career has probably inspired many of the sailors who will set off from La Rochelle on September 22nd for their Mini-Transat La Boulangère. On the menu of this new biennial ocean race, which ranks among the highest peaks of the solo competition: a 2,050 nautical mile (3,800 km) Atlantic crossing towards Martinique (Le Marin), via a stopover in the Canaries (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria).
101 contenders, 54 qualified pour 84 starters
With less than six months to go, the 2019 edition already has 101 declared contenders, including 27 in the prototypes against 74 on the production side. On both sides, the battle is already raging, knowing that only 84 solo sailors, representing 16 nationalities and including eight women, will make up the ranks of the heterogeneous and still very compact fleet expected at the start line. Among these candidates for the race - which is only "mini" by the name - 54 have already fulfilled all the required regulatory obligations. They validated their qualification with complex and draconian selection criteria; and obtained their entry ticket. For the others, the remaining places promise a good fight. For them, time is accelerating in order to write their name on the game sheet for this Mini 2019.
In the South too…
Completing a 1,000 nautical mile imposed solo race at the helm of your future companion, or competing 1,500 nautical mile in a race aboard your boat, including at least 500 nautical mile alone, are among the almost unavoidable obligations that must be fulfilled as soon as possible. No wonder that at the beginning of this odd-year season, the spring races are filling up with competitors in the starting blocks, as on the Plastimo Lorient Mini 6.50 which played to a full house with 68 boats last weekend. In the Mediterranean too, business has picked up again, for nearly two months now, with races of 200 or 500 nautical mile, organized in particular by the always very dynamic Italian Mini class.
The solo races, Pornichet Select 6.50 (start on April 27th), the Mini in May (Trinité-sur-Mer, start on May 27th), as well as the Mini Med (Marseille, start on June 1st) will also be among the next and imminent events to be honored and completed to qualify, or simply to train. All these are opportunities to collect precious nautical mile to continue to make progress on the roads leading to the starting block of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère 2019, which remains a great lady from the open sea and is still the subject of much interest.
Qualified candidates list, available here.
They said :
Jean Saucet, directeur technique du Collectif Rochelais Mini-Transat :
"These first races of the season are very important as we approach the start of the transatlantic race. They represent major challenges. Beyond the qualification objective, they consist of first sports confrontations. Many have been working all winter and sharpening their machines, others are still learning. For all of them, these first race dates mark the beginning of the last phase of preparation... It's the caterpillar that starts again!"
Jonathan Chodkiewiez (N° 958 / proto) :
"Here in Mediterranean, the season started earlier and things are going well. My objective is not to miss a race to validate the 1500 mandatory miles with the boat (a Verdier plan) whose construction I have finished. Last week, I finished 2nd in the Gran Premio d'Italia, which was fought in all conditions, from calm to fighting... A good exercise, a good race with whales, dolphins, it was perfect! The rhythm is dense. I now spend a lot of time on the water to take the boat in hand, make it reliable and complete it. This is fundamental when it comes to a new proto. If all goes well, I will qualify at the end of May."
Marie Amélie LENAERTS (N°833 / série) :
"This race was hard for a first. I competed in solo rather than in doubles, since I had chosen to take a cameraman rather than a team member. In terms of performance, I'm not at all happy, and I've made mistakes. But I still learned a lot about this great training race. I'm still a long way from that before the Mini, but I really want to continue to improve by working on the weather and strategy. I go back to work for ten days in Belgium before coming back for the Mini in May. I have already qualified since last year, but this race will offer me a new good learning opportunity.”
Jean Bachelerie (N° 428 / série) :
"This time, it's okay, I'm qualified, just one year after my first Mini rides. It's quite satisfying, and at the same time, it's also a little scary. The boat is in great shape, but it's not fast enough. For me now, it's a question of restarting the machine alone. I had a margin of manoeuvre in front of me since only the breakage of a small part in the last race of the 2018 season prevented me from validating my qualification. It is now done and in a few days I will surely measure better that this Mini becomes a true reality.”
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