The competitors are still racing full steam. Who would have thought that a solo sailor could keep up speeds of 11 knots on average (speed on the water)? And yet this is what the leaders of the Mini Transat Guadeloupe Islands are achieving. If the fleet maintains this pace, the first solo racer could reach Pointe-à-Pitre in the daytime on November 12th – if the trade wind holds out until the finish.
Who to trust? According to European models, the trade wind is expected to continue over the Atlantic and routings give an arrival in Guadeloupe in the daytime on November 12th. The American model expects the winds to drop and expect arrivals on the 13th. Whatever happens, the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe 2015 will be remembered and should break all the records. It may even serve as a reference point for future editions.
In the sixteenth century, in the age of large merchant convoys, squadrons sailed grouped for protection from raids and incursions of enemy ships, privateers and freebooters. Today, the solo racers have to protect themselves from themselves and from a certain tendency to forget the brake pedal. Knowing you have a competitor close on your heels causes two conflicting sensations; on the one hand, it is reassuring if you get into trouble, on the other it spices up the race and pushes you to improve your performance. But in both cases, the end result is the same: you push your boat a little harder.
Behind the furious leaders of the fleet, are those who want to get across no matter what. They recognised each other at the stopover in Lanzarote. For them, the daily ranking confirms they are keeping up the pace they set themselves. Vincent Madern (Un Express pour Pointe-à-Pitre) and Henri Lemenicier (LPO Agir pour la Biodiversité) gently teased each other in Arrecife, about which of the two would finish first. Two miles separate them on a very close course. They can probably even chat to each other via VHF.
Although the focus of the attention is on the head of the fleet, some are in a more anonymous race, far from the flash news and the limelight. With discretion, they are clinging on and remain in contact with the pretenders to the podium. This is the case of Rudolph Victorri (Saint-Pierre et Miquelon), Edwin Thibon (Coeur Fiedèle) or the two Swiss skippers Patrick Girod (Nescens) and Simon Bruniholz (www.defiatlantique.ch – Minilab). All of them have hopes for a place in the top 10, or even better like Edward Golbery (Les Enfants du Canal) who, not content with having traced a clear course, continues to defy the newer boats on board his Pogo 2.
The same can be said for the prototypes, where competitors like Michele Zambelli (Illumia) or Nicolas d’Estais (Librairie Cheminant), despite racing on less powerful machines than those in the top five, are holding their rank most honourably and can still come and disturb the game at the finish.
The Cape Verdean trap
Two new sailors have stopped in Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands. Dominik Lenk (dominiklenk.com) and François Jambou (Concevoir et Construire) did not intend on a lengthy stopover to carry out their repairs and are on their way again. However, Alberto Bona (onlinesim.it), Pierre-Marie Bazin (Voiles des Anges) and Benoît Hantzperg (YCA Dhumeaux Secours Populaire) have given up. Hantzperg failed to find the necessary parts to repair on site. The difficulty in carrying out repairs on time, interrupting the pace, taking a break from the nervous tension, growing signs of fatigue and the prospect of seeing his friends back in the race… Stopping in a port for repairs is not the hardest part. Setting sail again is sometimes a different story.
Ranking 7th November at 6pm (TU+1)
Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec Ranking)
1 Frédéric Denis – 800 – Nautipark at 1250,6 milles from the finish
2 Axel Tréhin – 716 – Aleph Racing at 19,8 milles
3 Clément Bouyssou – 802 – Le Bon Agent – Bougeons l’Immobilier at 20,8 milles
4 Ludovic Méchin – 667 – Microvitae at 29,1 milles
5 Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia at 60,9 milles
Series (Ocean Bio-Actif Ranking)
1 Ian Lipinski – 866 – Entreprises Innovantes at 1420,0 milles from the finish
2 Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss at 2,6 milles
3 Edouard Golbery – 514 – Les Enfants du Canal at 62,1 milles
4 Tanguy Le Turquais – 835 – Terréal at 72,7 milles
5 Edwin Thibon – 721 – Cœur Fidèle at 81,1 milles
– Race Media