Halfway to Martinique
Exactly half the way to the finish of the single-player transatlantic race Mini-Transat its participants went in a week, writes Andrei Petrov. If, having laid out a map on the table, draw a circle with a radius of 300 miles with a center in the middle of the general course, then inside the resulting circle we will find almost 90% of riders walking today across the ocean.
And objectively speaking, it is still not clear how sustainable can be called the advantage that boats from the conventional south-western quadrant have for this weekend.
After the fleet of race participants sufficiently removed from the Canary Islands at the beginning of the week, its division into three conditional groups began: “northern”, “southern” and those in the middle. The northerners for some time adhered to the line leading to the final point of the route, but in the end decided to rise above the general course. Only about ten yachts from the production division and five heels proto preferred the “climb higher” strategy, which, recall, the Russian Irina Gracheva (579, serie) spoke about in her interview before the start.
It is interesting that she herself was not in this group: having remained at a disadvantage shortly after the start, Irina made an attempt to correct the situation unfavorable for herself and joined those who chose the southern direction at the initial stage of the race. In the south, at that moment a stronger wind was supposed, and it could be expected that losing in the distance could more than be compensated by speed. Looking ahead, we note that this assumption turned out to be correct.
For another Russian participant, Fyodor Druzhinin (759, proto), the choice was, presumably, much simpler: having lost time on repairs, by the end of which he found himself in the very tail of the division, Fyodor chose not to lose time on maneuvering and remained among those who went above the general course. He headed the movement north Mathieu Vincent (947, serie) – a bronze medalist of the first stage of Mini-Transat.
In general, it is interesting that the three participants in the race, who, following the results of the first stage, entered the prize podium in the division of serial yachts, have now chosen completely different tracks. And if Mathieu Vincent, as we noted, at some point found himself in the extreme northern point of the fleet, then his “silver” pedestal comrade Felix de Navasel (916, serie) was in the southernmost one. The range of boats in height was up to 450 miles. The followers of Navasel with certain confidence could be attributed to 8 series-class yachts and 3-4 proto.
Ambrogio Beccaria (943), the leader of the first stage in the “series,” led the conditional middle group of participants who tried to stay below the general course, but still not moving much south. Characteristically, the leaders of the proto division adhered to the same direction – Axel Tren (945), Tonga Burulek (969) and Francois Jambo (865) held together.
When the three “interest groups” were finally formed, it was interesting to observe which one would be in a better position over the next few days. Recall that the "south" was promised a good tail wind: up to 20 knots versus 14-15 at the "north". In general, the forecast came true, and already in the middle of the week their advantage in speed became obvious. True, not all of those who went deep south were able to tactically choose the moment when they should turn west, and as a result lost too much in the distance. In this sense, the optimal path can be called the trajectory of the leaders of the race in both divisions, which today are Ambrogio Beccaria and Francois Jambo.
But the "northern", we can say, no luck. Already on Wednesday, a rather extensive high-pressure zone was formed on the way of their movement, in which the wind speed dropped to 10 knots. Slowed and the progress of yachts in distance. Already on Thursday, this spot began to be demolished to the south-west, and those who did not have time to get bogged down in it tried to stay on the very edge, keeping themselves in the main wind stream.
As of Saturday, he leads the race, going almost to the general course, Francois Jambo. The second is Ambrogio Beccaria – the best in the Serie division. Irina Gracheva spent a brilliant segment of the race and improved her position, rising from 53rd to 26th place in her group. Fedor Druzhinin also successfully got out of a difficult situation, today he is in 17th place, and about 100 miles are separated from the first ten. Closes the race Italian Matteo Sericano (888, proto), who had just left one of the islands of Cape Verde, where he went for emergency repairs.
The leaders of the divisions as of 11/09/2019:
Proto Yacht Division:
1. Francois Jumbo (1150 miles to the finish)
2. Axel Tren (1230 miles)
3. Erwan Le Men (1310 miles)
Division of serial yachts:
1. Ambrogio Beccaria (1,190 miles)
2. Benjamin Ferre (1240 miles)
3. Nicolas Destois (1250 miles)
The participation of the Russian yachtswoman 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 progress of the race online on the Mini-Transat website –
126 Yesterday # 9667