In both the prototypes and series, the race leaders have opened up the lead. However, behind them, the gaps are closing. That applies to those at the leading edge, as well as most of the peloton. Each one still manages to find a particular adversary against whom it’s possible compete to close the gaps. And sometimes, there’s an opportunity to get a boost by choosing to sail in sight of others. For a few hours, you are no longer alone in the Atlantic.
Dotted along the Atlantic, the fleet of Minis, en route to the îles de Guadeloupe could look quite densely packed, even if sometimes there is barely a view of the others in the distance. But viewing the race from a 6.5m boat, is quite a different matter altogether. It’s enough to click on the visibility zone button (showing information for 5 miles in all directions) to understand to what extent the sailors feel so isolated and why meeting another competitor always feels like a big event.
The first kind of meeting
In the series, the duel between Ian Lipinski (Entreprises Innovantes) and Julien Pulvé (Novintiss) is hotting up. Ian took the lead of the fleet for 0.4 miles. The two of them sailed and constantly monitored each other on the AIS, as their routes were so close to each other. Behind them, Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal) opened up a small lead over a group of three sailors : Edouard Golbery (Les Enfants du Canal), Armand de Jacquelot (We Van) and Edwin Thibon (Cœur Fidèle). For these three, the immediate danger could still come from the south, with Charly Fernbach (Le Fauffiffon Hénaff) pushing forward in front of Rodolphe Victorri (Saint-Pierre et Miquelon) and Simon Bruniholz (www.defiatlantique.ch – Mini Lab). Other solo sailors seem to have adopted a strategy of social sailing, such as Olivier Taillard (Alternative Sailing – Kerhis) et Patrick Girod (Nescens).
They were both slightly slower yesterday than their immediate adversaries. Now that the wind has calmed slightly, they seem to be getting the most out of their boats. A torn mainsail could also be the cause of their loss of speed at some points. There are also moments where luck has made things go well : when Carl Chipotel’s Gwadloop crossed just behind Un Express pour Pointe-à-Pitre, it seems as if they both had the same desire to reach the end. Further up the field, we can imagine that Jesus Jimenez Martinez (Helly Hansen Tarifa) and Guillermo Canardo (Peor Para El Sol), as long as their VHF radios had enough power, had many things to talk about in the language of Cervantes when their routes crossed. We know from experience that the solo sailors often spontaneously decide to sail together, to pass the time, which can go so slowly, and to feel less alone in the Atlantic.
The discreet charm of courtesy
Discretely, without making a song and dance about it, he has moved up among the leaders of the prototype class. Luke Berry (Association Rêves) is not a big fan of sudden bursts of speed, but he is always well placed and his progression since the beginning shows that he is a devilishly effective sailor. It’s still Luke, with Ludovic Méchin (Microvitae) and Michele Zambelli (Illumia) in his wake, who has opened up the gap with the other contenders for podium positions, such as Clément Bouyssou (Le Bon Agent – Bougeons l’Immobilier), Simon Koster (Eight Cube) and Axel Tréhin (Aleph Racing). There are still 600 miles to go for the boats chasing Frédéric Denis (Nautipark) who is still in the lead, and anything can happen. But to show strength at the end of a marathon is one of the best signals that a competitor can send to his adversaries. At the back of the fleet, the accompanying boats that weave the thread of security all report that there is some light improvement in weather conditions and there are less conversations between competitiors on the radio. It’s a well known fact: happy people don’t talk as much !
Saint-François, the first contact with the destination
The territory of Saint-Francois in Guadeloupe is an important tourist destination, known for it’s warm welcome and the quality of its places to stay, containing a sea port on the Atlantic, and the sumptuous Pointe des Châteaux (recognized as a ‘’Grand Site” by France) on the Caribbean side. It is full of the colour and grandiose design of distant coastlines in Brittany. It is a protected coastline, rich in authentic landscapes and with all the marks of a beautifully protected cultural landscape in an exceptional land.
Nestled between an international golf course and a sailing hub, the Saint-François marina is strikingly like its picture postcard image, and is known for its variety and facilities. Busy all the year round, it offers a range of services to visiting sailors who appreciate the many restaurants, boutiques, night-time promenades, which promise an unforgettable stay. It is friendly and accessible, and full of life, where people are treated as humans, not numbers: it’s a port with a soul.
Looking enthusiastically towards sailing, Saint-François is very happy to join the Mini-Transat Îles de Guadeloupe story, and participate in this sailing event by setting up a mooring area very close to the port. This stage is a race within a race (one between Saint-François et Pointe-à-Pitre), and also is the opportunity to show the enthusiasm that the town has to rise its profile and to be associated in the future. Also, the town of Saint-François is ready and willing to announce its candidacy to be the arrival town for the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Mini-Transat.
Ranking 10th November at 6pm (TU+1)
Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec Ranking)
1 Frédéric Denis – 800 – Nautipark at 540.9,6 miles from the finish
2 Luke Berry – 753 – Association Rêves at 60.4 miles
3 Ludovic Méchin – 667 – Microvitae at 63.6 miles
4 Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia at 69.8 miles
5 Clément Bouyssou – 802 – Le Bon Agent – Bougeons l’Immobilier at 90.5 miles
Séries (Ocean Bio-Actif Ranking)
1 Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss at 724 miles from the finish
2 Ian Lipinski – 866 – Entreprises Innovantes at 0.7 miles
3 Tanguy Le Turquais – 835 – Terréal at 55.7 miles
4 Edouard Golbery – 514 – Les Enfants du Canal at 85.9 miles
5 Armand De Jacquelot– 721 – We van at 102.4 miles