The small business that is the Mini Transat does not recognise the crisis. Once more the race for these boats of just 6.50 meters was refuelled, on 30 August, with 84 competitors admitted who had met the full requirements of the organiser and the Mini class. From the semi-professional racer to the businessman on leave and with competitors from nearly every continent, the entry list presents an incredible diversity. The Mini Transat is a race like no other.
30 August, the official list of candidates for the adventure fell. All being well there will be 84 boats at the start and at the moment a dozen navigators still remain on the waiting list eager to find out if they will have the chance to race. Among the final list of entries, there are several who not to have yet confirmed their full funding and on the deadline of September 13, all registration fees (2000 €) must be paid to the organiser. It is therefore likely that the list is still evolving over the next two weeks, after a few withdrawals of candidates who do not have the means to start in good condition. To be continued .
Note also that they are 32 foreigners, from Estonia to Australia, who will come to the start so Douarnenez will resonate with a multitude of accents at the beginning of October.
As always, there are those for whom the Mini Transat is a springboard for a career in professional sailing. Latest to have qualified as a result of their participation in the Transgascogne is Nicolas Boidevezi, the brilliant winner of the Les Sables - Azores - Les Sables in 2012, and Julien Pulvé who, despite a late entry, intends to shake up the hierarchy of favourites.
But others swap their civilian clothes for foul weather gear. Louis Mauffret, Sales Manager of Chantiers du Guip, steps over with some ease from the world of traditional boats, while in the prototypes Yann Le Pautremat abandons his work as a dentist to cross the ocean. David Genest, meanwhile, works as a steeplejack in Paris. He spends his time climbing the facades of buildings for maintenance, or for any mission that requires specialists climbing and rope access skills.
While the competitors are putting the final touches to their preparation, the town of Douarnenez is being mobilized for a wonderful celebration. The 84 boats will be moored from 3-13 October 2013 in Port Rhu at the foot of the Place de l’Enfer so that the public can benefit from this arena to open sea where they can admire the fleet.
The Port Musée also participates in its own way by opening a new exhibition on the history of the Mini Transat and what it has brought to the world of racing: fostering some of the greatest offshore racers such as Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Loick Peyron, Marc Guillemot and Michel Desjoyeaux, the Mini Transat was a true indication of talent. But the Mini is also the starting point for a number of technological innovations, many of which have been later used in the Vendee Globe. Finally, it is a real mix of cultures and backgrounds. The exhibition will open on October 5 and will continue until 17 March 2014.
Douarnenez will strive to share with the public the unique flavour of the Mini Transat, as during the ten days before departure, from 3 October, the fleet will be in full force in the Port Rhu. The prologue of the race will take place on 6 October, in the Bay of Douarnenez, with the contours of the Menez Hom in its glorious fall colours as a spectacular backdrop. For a week, until the great departure, the Mini Transat Village will host partner booths, themed exhibitions and numerous street entertainments. On 5 and 6 October the Port Musée will host a concert of classical music and on 9 October there will be jazz.
In a nutshell, Douarnenez is the place to be in early October if you don’t want to miss one of the most beautiful moments in offshore racing.