HomeMini TransatLa Boulangère Mini Transat and an edition that will go down in...

La Boulangère Mini Transat and an edition that will go down in history.

The 24th edition of La Boulangère Mini Transat, undoubtedly one of all the superlatives, fulfilled all its promises, writing one of the most unforgettable chapters in the history of the event and, in general, of ocean racing. From Sables d’Olonne to Saint-François, passing through Santa Cruz de La Palma, the 90 solitary sailors in the regatta faced each other fiercely. They all took on an immense challenge. The majority have completed the adventure, closing, not without emotions, several years of project. Some have also fulfilled a dream. On land, the results are equally exciting and synonymous with great popular success. The test at eight.

A plateau of remarkable diversity

As in 2021, to meet increasing demand, the number of participants has been increased for this 2023 vintage, from 84 to 90 (31 Proto and 59 Series). No less than 17 nationalities were represented within this fleet (Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Spain, United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay, Venezuela) with one In total, 27 international sailors, or almost 30% of the troops. Also in number, women (14) and “repeat offenders” (13). Middle age ? Thirty-three years, the extremes being 21 and 66 years.

Less than 5% dropouts

In large ocean racing events, such as the Vendée Globe or the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, the abandonment rate is usually around 20%. In the Mini Transat, it oscillates between 10 and 15% depending on the editions, but sometimes reaches peaks, as in 1981. In mourning even before departure for the shipwreck of Christian Massicot during its delivery in Penzance (port of departure) , the latter suffered the tail of Cyclone Irene. In the end, the number of skippers forced to throw in the towel (16) was greater than those who finished the race (13). On the contrary, this 24th Mini Transat from La Boulangère only generated four abandonments: three in Proto and one in Series. Those of Federico Sampei (1046 – DMG MORI Sailing Academy 1) after a dismasting, of Matthieu Sapin (958 – Assurinco – Urban Corail) due to energy problems, of Alpha Eon Diakite (254 – 30 days at sea for our heroes) after the loss of its keel, then Alexis Rochet (962 – Espérances Banlieues) due to problems with the rudder and the pilot. If it’s not a record, it’s still an excellent score!

Romain Van Enis, the 1,000th solo sailor to complete the Mini Transat

Since 1977, no less than 1,362 sailors (1,160 solo) have lined up at the start of the event, including 107 women. Belgian Romain Van Enis (630 – James Caird), who arrived last in Guadeloupe after suffering a broken spacebar very quickly after leaving the Canary Islands, is, incredibly coincidentally, the 1,000th sailor to have completed the loop in lonely . One more fact: no less than 38 countries were represented, with France leading the way in number, followed by Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Switzerland and Belgium. Note: Venezuela was the first time this year.

Foreign winners, both in Proto and Series.

Until then, six foreigners had achieved the feat of inscribing their names in the race’s honors list: the American Norton Smith in 1979, the Belgian Laurent Vancutsem in 1993, the Swiss Yvan Bourgnon in 1995, the Belgian Peter Laureyssens in 2005, the Portuguese Francesco Lobato in 2009 and Italian Ambrogio Beccaria in 2019. This year, Uruguayan Federico Waksman (1019 – Repremar – Agencia Naviera Urugay) and Italian Luca Rosetti (998 – Race = Care) tied. However, this is the first time in the history of the regatta that international skippers have managed to win at the same time in Proto and Series!

Speed records

Taking advantage of the trade winds perfectly established in the second stage, some solo sailors maintained supersonic averages aboard their Mini 6.50s. Hugues de Prémare (1033 – Technip Energies – International Coatings) literally made his boat smoke, thus breaking both the record for the greatest distance traveled in 24 hours in a production boat (291.47 miles set by Florian Quenot in 2019) and that of all categories combined. (308 miles completed by Pierre Le Roy in July 2022) with 317.25 miles traveled between November 1 and 2, at an average speed of 13.22 knots! To remember: Félix Oberlé (1028 – Mingulay), Adrien Simon (1038 – Faun) have also surpassed the symbolic mark of 300 miles in a Series boat. Their respective performances: 311 and 304 miles!

Suspense until the end

If the first stage (1,350 miles between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma) left its mark, the second (2,700 miles between Santa Cruz de La Palma and Saint-François) did so even more. One of them turned out to be extremely complex, due to a very changeable and very uncertain climate.

The result: a big change of course in the last third of the course in favor of the Western supporters, and then another at the end of the course due to a formidable buffer effect on the Canary Island. As a result of the races, monstrous gaps were created and a large number of favorites immediately fell behind, ruining, for some, their chances of a good overall result.

The other was very open with the possibility, once past El Hierro, of choosing between two different options. North or south? This was the dilemma, although in the end there was little or no difference between them thanks to the trade winds well established for everyone from the fourth day of racing.

In this context, speed clearly prevailed, and those who managed to endure physically and mentally until the end took the lead. What else will we remember? On the one hand, the 29 short minutes that Marie Gendron (1050 – Léa Nature) finally lost to become the fourth woman in the history of the race, after Isabelle Autissier in 1987, Justine Mettraux in 2013 and Clarisse Crémer in 2017, to finish the podium in the general classification. On the other hand, the endless fifteen hours that Luca Rosetti (998 – Race = Care) had to wait to secure victory among the boats in the Series.

 

There was a change of course in the last third of the course in favor of the Western supporters, and then another at the end of the course due to a formidable buffer effect on the Canary Island. As a result of the races, monstrous gaps were created and a large number of favorites immediately fell behind, ruining, for some, their chances of a good overall result.

The other was very open with the possibility, once past El Hierro, of choosing between two different options. North or south? This was the dilemma, although in the end there was little or no difference between them thanks to the trade winds well established for everyone from the fourth day of racing. In this context, speed clearly prevailed, and those who managed to endure physically and mentally until the end took the lead.

What else will we remember? On the one hand, the 29 short minutes that Marie Gendron (1050 – Léa Nature) finally lost to become the fourth woman in the history of the race, after Isabelle Autissier in 1987, Justine Mettraux in 2013 and Clarisse Crémer in 2017, to finish the podium in the general classification. On the other hand, the endless fifteen hours that Luca Rosetti (998 – Race = Care) had to wait to secure victory among the boats in the Series.

Emotions like nowhere else

An event like La Boulangère Mini Transat generates emotions such as excitement, enthusiasm, pride, disappointment, frustration, fear, nervousness, joy, euphoria, satisfaction, gratitude, admiration, solidarity, empathy, rivalry and many others. The 90 sailors of this 24th edition did not escape. Choosing the boat, physical preparation, planning, logistics, budget, search for partners… Each person dedicates an average of two years to their project (up to eleven for some, like Marie Gendron). Upon arrival, although, of course, they did not experience the adventure in the same way, they all ended with the same feeling of accomplishment. In fact, it is nothing to overcome the challenge of crossing the Atlantic alone in a small 6.50 meter boat. “When you build a Mini Transat, there is a before and after,” summarizes Aurélien Dhervilly (429 – XFLR6 Cherche Propergol).

A unique atmosphere

Since its inception by Bob Salmon 46 years ago, the race has enjoyed its own magic. It is rightly associated with moments of celebration, encounter, exchange and joy. It perfectly combines elements such as atmosphere, emotions, memories, encounters, surprises and unique experiences. Music, lights, colors and smells too. In Sables d’Olonne, Santa Cruz de La Palma or Saint-François the party was wonderful. Proof that if it is an exceptional human adventure, La Boulangère Mini Transat is actually much more than that!

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular