The first to cross the finish line of the MAP Trophy, at 4.11am under the lightning of a thunderstorm, was Romain Legall (Les optimistes-secours populaire 987) and he was very proud to have beaten the whole fleet of protos on his Maxi production boat! Among the first to arrive, Arnaud Rambaud (Permis de construire Acieo 850) said “We had a squall at the beginning of the night when we passed the Chaussée de Sein, the 25 knots helped us to cross the Chaussée against the current, it was good” before adding in agreement with Romain “The short races – 195 NM – like this one are the most difficult in terms of fatigue management, the fleet is very tight and we don’t have time to find a sleep rhythm. Arnaud, second in the Proto class, crossed the line at 5:14, 16 minutes after Laure Galley (DMG Mori 1048). This is Laure’s second victory, after her double victory in the Plastimo Lorient in mid-April, when she took over the brand new Maxi Raison barely two months ago. A very promising start…! With Julie Simon (DynaMIPS 963) in 3rd place in the series ranking, that makes two female podiums among the 13 skippers present on the race.
At 12:30, 24 boats out of 73 have arrived in Douarnenez. While the skippers are discussing the race over a coffee at the Maison du Nautisme, those still at sea are in a very light wind of maximum 5 knots. Indeed the fleet broke up a lot during the night. A good part of the Minis are already in the bay of Douarnenez with an average speed of 3 knots while the rest of the fleet is following erratic trajectories in the bay of Audierne, without wind. The finish line closes at 10pm, 18 hours after the first one arrived. Some of them will not be able to cross the line because of the lack of wind. But it’s only a postponement because the Mini-Fastnet starts in 10 days from Douarnenez and many of the competitors present at the MAP will also race in this legendary double-handed regatta!
The MAP Trophy is going according to plan in light winds. Apart from a torn mainsail a few hours after the start of the race, there are no new retirements to report and the gap between the first and the last (Friday afternoon) has increased by about thirty nautical miles.
That said, the whole fleet remained relatively compact until Friday morning. At around 08:00, a group of about 10 boats is stuck to the north of Groix Island, probably without wind and victim of the current, while the others have already gone around the island and are starting the return journey. Romain Legall, who competed in the Mini-Transat 2021 is leading the race, ahead of the whole fleet. He is followed by Titouan Quiviger on the 1009 Biscuit, new in the Mini class. Among the prototypes, the lead is between Arnaud Rambaud on the 850- ACIERO, Uros Kraevac on the 759 and Laure Galley on the new 1048-DMG.
“The weather is good for a first solo race, as it is for many of the competitors, it allows us to see how the newcomers negotiate the light winds and for them, to avoid breakages” announces Didier Cozic, race referee. The first competitors are expected at midnight on Friday night, and will have to sail upwind in a wind which rises from the north to 15 knots in Audierne Bay in the late afternoon and drops off at the end of the night. The skippers will have the current against them as they pass through the Raz de Sein and some stormy squalls are still expected. The end of the race may hold some surprises!
cover photo: sunrise on Groix Island by Yves Chenot
The 76 skippers arrived at the start line at 15:00 and had a good start without any recalls. However, the start was not without mishap, with two collisions and three withdrawals. The weather is quite unstable in the bay of Douarnenez, the wind changes in strength and direction all the time and is not easy to anticipate for the skippers. Julie Simon on the 963, rigged her gennaker, thinking she was going abeam in a light wind, and finally found herself upwind in a strengthening wind, 15 minutes before the start! The sea breeze picked up shortly before 15:00 and the start was made in 10 knots of westerly wind. The group that had chosen to go south took advantage of the wind coming from the left and a little stronger due to the coast effect. Two and a half hours after the start, there’s about an hour’s gap between the first in the series, Romain Legall on 987-Secours Populaire and the last. Federico Sampei on the DMG 1046 prototype, returned to port with an autopilot problem after crossing the line, but quickly returned to the race and caught up with the rest of the fleet. Amongst the prototypes, Anne-Gaëlle Gourdin on the 679 is in front, followed by Uro Graevac on the 759. The average speed, 3 hours after the start, varies between 2.5 knots and 6 knots, the whole fleet being on starboard tack. The leaders passed the Raz de Sein at the time of the tide turning, 3hr30 after the start, and took advantage of the current.
At the pre-race briefing in the morning, Jean-Jacques Quéré, the weather expert who is following the race, summarised clearly: “Despite a variable light wind, watch out for stormy squalls which may occur from the end of Thursday night until the end of the race“. The first boats are expected to arrive on Friday evening at around 21:00 and the bulk of the fleet should arrive on Friday night. To be continued!
A live video of the start, made by offshore socialclub can be seen here : VIDEO
Scheduled on Thursday, June 2nd at 15:00, the start of the Marie-Agnès Péron Trophy is getting closer! While the volunteers of the Winches Club are busy with the last safety checks of the Mini 6.50 and the preparation of the welcome drink, the skippers have collected their beacons and the race instructions and are finalizing the last preparations. Alice Valiergue, sociologist, on the 589 Walaby series, finishes repairing her bowsprit and laughing, declares “I have a small budget but I like the adrenalin that Mini races bring“. Boat number to be glued back on, cracked waterproof container, faulty electrical wiring, everyone has their own little technical problem. The biggest problems, such as water ingress, mean that the skippers have to withdraw at the last minute. Course n°1 has been approved by the Race Committee, so it will be the complete course to Les Birvideaux that the 78 skippers will have to follow, ready now to present themselves on the start line.
The weather is looking rather calm and according to the afternoon forecast of the 1st June, the skippers will have to play with a variable light to moderate wind from the North. “In spite of the light weather, we shouldn’t be slack on the stowing, to maintain a good trim of the boat throughout the course” announces Hugo Zeitoun on his new Series scow, Raison maxi 650 n° 1043, who is planning the Mini-Transat in 4 years. The arrivals are estimated for Friday night, from around midnight for the first prototype until midday on Saturday and the results will be officially announced at 17:00 on Saturday at the Maison du Nautisme.