After a two-week delay due to severe weather, the 4000-mile Mini Transat is now underway, but with a few changes. Sailors launched from Douarnenez, France, in 12-knot winds yesterday. Originally, sailors were to sail 1,257nm straight and stop over in the Canary Islands, but they are now forced to stop at the port of Sada, near La Coruna, to wait out strong winds from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. From there, sailors will race to Pointe á Pitre, Guadeloupe.
After a blustery start and some minor collisions, several sailors returned to Douarnenez for a variety of reasons, including a sore arm for Bruno Simonnet, a ripped solent jib aboard Netwerk and autopilot malfunctions for skipper Carlos Lysancos. Arnaud Etchandy aboard Ipar Hego has retired, as well as Craig Horsfield aboard Naked Retreat, who suffered damage after colliding with Annabelle Boudinot, sailing Agro 650.
These early retirements show just how grueling the Mini Transat—long known as a test of seamanship for the top long-distance single-handed sailors—can be. Past sailors of the Mini Transat include Michel Desjoyeaux, two-time winner of the Vendée Globe, and Dame Ellen MacAurthur.
Among the fleet of men and women this year is U.S. sailor Jeffrey MacFarlane, who was previously dismasted late spring during a qualifier for the Mini Transat.
Photo courtesy of Mini Transat