5th/30th, upwind sailing, calms, 80m of anchorage ⚓️
I’m lucky enough to have done the Mini Fastnet as co-skipper with Laure Galley on her boat 1048 DMG Mori. One of the favorites for the Mini Transat 2023.
After Alexia Barrier, I’m definitely surrounding myself very well on the water. I’m still taking my cue from bateau🛠️’s preparation, onboard management and navigation🧭 I can see what I need to put in place to make podium finishes too!
We had a good first day of racing in the top 3, with good tactical moves and good speed. Upwind in the calm. The wind is right on course. Probably the longest edition of the Mini Fastnet. A 7-day Bol D’Or.
Arriving in the Irish Sea, we had a big squall and were being overtaken everywhere. A slight lack of success in the calms and two small errors in positioning cost us places.
We pass the famous Fastnet lighthouse just before dark – magnificent! Orange sunset over the rock, just a little too dark for the video.
1 hour downwind, then upwind again! The wind is right on course again… 😫
🐬The dolphins were with us throughout the regatta! Dozens of them morning, noon and night. We had them all the time, we didn’t even look at them at the end, too used to them, but it made us smile in the monotonous phases of petoles🐬
On board the atmosphere is very good with laure! 7jours dans la pétole au près, dans un petit bateau, vous avez le temps de faire connaissance. We only met a few minutes before the race, which was a bit of a gamble, but it was clear from the day before the start that we were going to get on well together. We manage the calm, the length, the life on board very well, and what’s more, we have a lot of laughs! But never without slowing the boat down 😉 We immediately managed to divide up the tasks according to each person’s strengths, knowledge of the boat, night watches and tactical decisions and adjustments.
After several days, the wind forecasts are less reliable, and when there’s little wind, the current becomes the most important factor.
On the return route, we pass to the south of Ushant. The timing is right with the current. We know that if the wind doesn’t drop, we’ll get through, but if it does, we’ll get sucked in by the current north of Ushant and lose a lot.
And then, the calm again!
We’re just behind the 4th boat, which will pass with the wind, and we’re starting to get sucked in. There’s about 2-3 knots of current in the wind, so we’re clearly no longer in control of our trajectory. We’re thinking of grabbing a trap if we see one not too far away, so as not to drift any further. We’re also thinking of anchoring, but it’s 80m deep.
In a Mini 6.50, we’re planning for around 30m of anchorage ⚓ which is made for anchoring when there’s about 20m of water. 80m is clearly not recommended, even on large habitables…
But we’re in the worst place at the worst time: we’re going to end up north of Ushant! A few minutes’ thought and we decide to join our sheets, tacks and spare ropes to create a longer anchorage than originally planned. About 100m of rope in all. We give it a try and it works! The anchor hooks and we stop drifting. The pressure in the anchor is very strong, the boat has a wake behind it and we can’t hold the line by hand. We limit the damage and now we have to be careful to pull up the anchor when there’s the least current before we tip over, otherwise we’ll never be able to recover our sheets and tack, which is a bit silly hehe.
At slack water, I pull ahead and, thanks to a return system with the jib halyard on the forestay and the winch behind, with Laure picking up the slack pulled: we organize ourselves so that, fathom by fathom, we bring the whole thing up. And it works! After about 20m of reeled-in rope, the anchor unhooks and it’s much easier. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I’ve barely finished hauling everything up before Laure is already putting the sheets back on the sails to get going again as quickly as possible. We limit the damage and don’t leave the anchor at the bottom.
The end of the race is tight, Laure will be royal with tactics all the last night until the entrance of the bay of Douarnenez and will go up all the places lost in the current 💪
I’m on for the finish, given Laure’s performance I’ve got to do well too. I have to overtake one and resist the others just behind. Which will happen as planned. It’s always like that, you do 7 days of racing and there’s only a few meters gap at the finish. We finished 5th in a race where we deserved 1st place just as much as 10th.
Thank you so much Laure for inviting me on your boat for this magnificent race. Domo arigato DMG Mori for your trust.
Last Mini regatta of the year for me, remember to follow Laure on this year’s Transat.
I’m continuing my search for sponsors to get back on track next year with my Lili.
Next event: the GP YCG in M2 on Lake Geneva and the Tour Voile with the Swiss CER crew in early July.
See you soon.