By Course – Atlantic

November 4, 2019

      By Course – Atlantic
      Last Saturday, November 2, at 16:30 Moscow time, the second stage of the transatlantic race Mini-Transat La Boulangère was launched. The fleet of participants – 82 boats in total, divided into two divisions – left Las Palmas and headed for Martinique. Says Andrei Petrov:

By Course - Atlantic

The race started in excellent wind conditions with a fair trade wind of about fifteen knots, which, according to the forecast, grows stronger as riders leave the shadows of the Canary Islands.

At the second (main) stage, yachtsmen have to go 2700 miles in the open ocean. On the eve of the start, the participant of the regatta Irina Gracheva (Serie 579) shared her idea about the conditions in which the riders will be at this crossing.

“Pretty stable trade winds await us almost all the way,” said the Russian yachtsman. – We are considering two models that, with the same direction, predict different wind strengths. According to one of them, the winds will be strong: on average 20 knots, on gusts up to 30 and even up to 35 knots – at least in the first half of the race. Another model predicts a lighter wind of 15-18 knots with gusts of up to 25 knots. Given this forecast, a fairly understandable and simple strategy can be proposed: first you will need to deal with wind shadows and acceleration zones in the Canary Islands, and then follow the general course and make turns, adhering to the best CMG (course made good. – Note Ed.) , that is, to go tack, which brings you closer to the finish point. Of course, we will adjust our plans in accordance with the forecasts that we receive from the organizers during the race, but so far the strategy looks like this, unpretentious. "We need to climb a little north, and then go on the local oscillations and approaches."

Such a forecast is not too optimistic for old boats, since the full course with significant winds is the native element for yachts of new projects, such as Pogo3, Maxi, Vector. In a very strong wind, they have a great advantage over previously built boats, they go on average 2-3 knots faster. It is likely that already in the first days of the race it is the yachts of these projects that will go ahead and continue to constantly increase their advantage.

However, other participants also have their trump cards, and it is not at all necessary that all of them will fight only among themselves, inside the conditional group of “old” boats. Moreover, at such a long distance anything can happen.

How unpredictable the race can turn out, one can judge at least by how many technical problems athletes faced at the start. So, having barely left the harbor of Las Palmas, the Frenchman Rafael Lutar (Proto 900) was forced to return to the pier, having noticed in time a problem of mounting the antenna on the mast. Troubleshooting didn’t take much time, and Rafael was only 15 minutes late for the start. But his compatriot David Kremer (Proto 260), who discovered problems with the autopilot and also returned to the shore for quick repairs, lost an hour and a half on this operation.

The Frenchwoman Amelie Grassi (Serie 944) and Marie Gendron (Proto 930) were also unable to advance beyond the coastal zone on the first attempt and caught up with the fleet after the regatta started. The bowsprit was damaged on Amelie’s boat, and Marie ran into a whole bunch of technical problems.

The Russians were not spared: Fedor Druzhinin (Proto 759) reported damage to the technical elements of the mast and for a long time walked away from the rest of the fleet, trying to cope independently with the damage under the cover of the islands. How successful this attempt was will be clear in the near future, but for now, judging by the tracking, the current course of his boat, fortunately, is close to the general one. This cannot be said of the French rider Jean Laura (Serie 520), whose trace clearly indicates that the yachtsman is perpendicular to the main direction, moving north, towards the island of Hierro, probably – for repair.

As of 15:00 (MSK) on Monday, Irina Gracheva was in 52nd position in the production division, preferring a significant distance from the general course to the south, and Fedor Druzhinin remained in 20th place in the Proto division. However, it’s premature to assess the position of the riders now – the fleet is significantly stretched in height, and at the same time, the projections of the positions of the participants on the general line still give a very insignificant difference in the scale of the distance.

Andrey Petrov

The participation of Irina Gracheva in Mini-Transat is supported by NORD consulting, Griffon, Ullman Sails, Fordewind-Regatta, Gill, A.P.I. Marine, Sail Ropes, NAVTEAM, WISTA Russia, Alfa Insurance, Aquapac, Mobile Age, Nautix, MX6, Lyophilise & Co.

Sponsorship of Irina Gracheva is provided by the Path Yachting Foundation.

You can follow the race on the official Mini Transat website –

Additional Information –

217 November 4, 2019 # 9650

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