Mini Transat: Last chance for pit-stop before Atlantic expressway

Ian Lipinski (Griffon.fr) is set to enter the channel between the islands of Santo Antao and Sao Vicente in the early hours of tomorrow if he manages to keep up the current pace in the Mini Transat Race

 In his wake, 20 or so competitors may well follow suit over the course of the day. The solo sailors who’ve declared their intention to make a pit-stop in Mindelo aren’t likely to make landfall before Monday.

 After three days of racing, Ian Lipinski already boasts a lead of 45 miles over Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) and 67 over Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal). The minute conditions toughen up a bit; the Raison design and her skipper are proving to be untouchable.

 Racers often say that speed makes you intelligent and Ian Lipinski’s trajectory seems to back this up.

 Featuring a clear-cut choice of options without being overly radical and a sound sequence of trajectories, there isn’t much to be faulted. Another lesson learned from this race start is that the future seems to belong to the ‘scow bows’ as the first pointy-nosed boat, that of Romain Bolzinger (Spicee.com) is a way off the race for the podium, despite adopting an easterly trajectory along the coast of Africa.

 A stellar female contingent

In the production boat category, the Pogo 3s hold the lion’s share. Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis – Cerfrance) is continuing to lead the way ahead of Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) and Clarisse Cremer (TBS).

 In fact, the latter sailor from Lorient isn’t the only female sailor to be pulling her way up through the ranks. In the prototype category, Charlotte Mery (Optigestion – Femmes de Bretagne) has moved up into fifth place, notably thanks to a series of well negotiated tacks along the coast of Africa, coupled with excellent speed. Evidence then that the Mini-Transat La Boulangere is a competition where men and women can battle it out on an equal footing.

 The solid performance by Camille Taque (Foxsea Lady), 11th in the prototypes, as well as the combined attack from Nolwen Caze (Fee Revee), Estelle Greck (Starfish) and Elodie Pedron (Manu Poki et les Biotechs), all in the top third of the race, comes as further proof.

 All that’s missing is a female victory in the Mini-Transat, though in their time Isabelle Joschke (winner of the first leg in 2007) and Justine Mettraux (second production boat in 2013) came achingly close.

 The temptation of Mindelo

It has already been noted that a number of solo sailors have made the decision to make a pit-stop in Mindelo to effect repairs. Arthur Léopold-Léger (Antal XPO) and Thibault Michelin (Eva Luna) have no other solution given the state of their transoms.

 For others, the victims of less serious damage, the decision is less of a duty: should you risk making a transatlantic crossing with a boat you know isn’t running at her full capacity, or make a pit-stop in the knowledge that the minimum 12 hours imposed by the rule will inevitably take longer, between the time necessary for repairs and the detour as far as Mindelo.

Among the second half of the fleet, it’s hard to know if the speeds observed are due to lighter winds or a technical issue kept under wraps.

 This is the thinking behind the performances by Remi Aubrun (Alternative Sailing – Constructions du Belon), Antoine Cornic (Destination ile de Re) and also Thomas Bechaux (Poralu Marine). The passage via the Cape Verde islands makes the lure of a pit-stop all the more tempting of course and it may well prove to be the biggest trap of this second leg.

 Position report on 4 November at 15:00 UTC

 Prototypes

1 Ian Lipinski (Griffon.fr) 2,207.9 miles from the finish

2 Simon Koster (Eight Cube Sersa) 45.3 miles behind the leader

3 Jorg Riechers (Lilienthal) 67.7 miles behind the leader

4 Romain Bolzinger (Spicee.com) 76.7 miles behind the leader

5 Charlotte Mery (Optigestion – Femmes de Bretagne) 77.6 miles behind the leader

 Production boats

1 Tanguy Bouroullec (Kerhis – Cerfrance) 2,275.3 miles from the finish

2 Erwan Le Draoulec (Emile Henry) 14.7 miles behind the leader

3 Clarisse Cremer (TBS) 21.8 miles behind the leader

4 Pierre Chedeville (Blue Orange Games – Faire Retails) 41.3 miles behind the leader

5 Benoit Sineau (Cachaça 2) 56.8 miles behind the leader

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