Minis, tris and the Chicago Mac—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

Mini Transat 1 - Mini Transat 2013
This year’s Mini Transat has been a hugely frustrating affair for sailors and fans alike as a series of low-pressure systems continue to bombard Western Europe, making it unsafe for the Race Committee to safely start the fleet of 21-foot speedsters. Now, despite several aborted attempts to launch the fleet, the race organizers (in consolation with the racers) have announced a radical new plan to try and get the fleet across the Pond in (roughly) the same time window.

For the first time in its storied history, the Mini Transat will involve 3,600 miles of nonstop sailing from Sada, Spain to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. This single leg approach removes the traditional stopover in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, and it could potentially prove to be a quicker course than the traditional route, as it avoids crossing the Doldrums.

According to reports, skippers who wish to stop in Lanzarote to make repairs before the big push to Pointe-a-Pitre are allowed to do so. Also, all competitors must honor a gate off of Lanzarote, which will help the RC to establish 'an intermediate classification' before the serious offshore endeavor. Get the full Mini Transat report, inside this issue.

Spindrift 2 in action.
Chris Schmid/Spindrift Racing


While the Mini sailors prepare for their big leg, co-skippers Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, along with 12 other crewmembers, continue on their attempt to beat the speed record from Cadiz, Spain to San Salvador in the Bahamas aboard Bertarelli’s 'Spindrift 2', which is the world’s biggest and fastest offshore trimaran. According to the latest reports, the team has faced funky winds and seas in the past two days that have not exactly been conducive to fast sailing.

'Spindrift 2 seemed more like an old banger that had run out of fuel than a Formula 1 of the seas,' reported Bertarelli. 'We remained becalmed in the storms, with the wind going from two to 25 knots, with no way of getting out of them.'

Despite the frustrating conditions, the team is still several hundred miles ahead of their reference time. 'The team spirit and the support we all give each other on board is just fantastic and gives you an idea of just a very strong human dimension to our adventure,' said Bertarelli.

Spindrift 2.
Chris Schmid/Spindrift Racing


'Spindrift 2' is expected ashore soon, so stay tuned to the website for more information, as it unfurls, and be sure to check out this issue for the latest news on this transoceanic record attempt.

Also in distance-racing news, the World Sailing Speed Record Council recently announced the establishment of a new world-record passage time from Sydney to Auckland, which was set by the ORMA 60 'Team Australia'. According to reports, inside, 'Team Austalia' sailed the 1,265 nautical miles in just 2 days 19 hours 2 minutes and 45 seconds in mid-October for a record pace of 18.87 knots. Get the full story, inside this issue.

Lou Sandoval and Matt Gallagher


Meanwhile, closer to home, the Chicago Yacht Club has appointed Matt Gallagher as chairman of the 106th and 107th Chicago Yacht Club Races to Mackinac. Gallagher will replace Lou Sandoval in this position. 'I have a big pair of shoes to fill,' said Gallagher. 'Lou did a tremendous job leading our signature event, and I hope to continue in that tradition. The Mac is the high point of the summer for my family and me, and I look forward to the opportunity I’ve been given to share this with my friends and fellow competitors.'

Great Britain Crew working hard - Clipper Round the World Yacht Race


Also inside, check in with the IRC Technical Committee regarding their latest updates, don’t miss the download from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and get the latest news from the 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year awards, which will be announced on Thursday at an awards ceremony in Muscat, in the Sultanate of Oman.

May the four winds blow you safely home,