"The Race Director of the Mini Transat has decided to implement plan B, which had been mentioned before the start at the last competitor briefing. The fleet will now stop at the port of Sada, near La Coruna, to wait for the strong winds from the south-west that will sweep Cape Finisterre, on 1 and 2 November to moderate and go northwest. The fleet is expected to arrive in the area on the night of October 31 to November 1."
La pause espagnole | Mini Transat 2013 - Douarnenez / Lanzarote / Pointe-à-Pitre
This is crazy
They are killing the mini transat. I cannot see anything seriously enough on the weather that leads to this decision. The Mini Transat is a race but also an adventure with controlled risks. They are followed by support boats and the racers have plenty of safety measures in case of a big accident.
I remember some years ago Lobato (a Portuguese
) beating all protos with a series boat in high winds and big seas at the middle of the Ocean. It seems we will not see anything like this again. It seems that the Mini-Transat now it is a race like any other with a special emphasis on security. Goodbye adventure
By the way, an Italian is leading, but it seems to me that sadly that is not the main news right now
I have to agree, to some extent, that I'm also not seeing the weather issues south of Finisterre that motivated the RC to route the fleet through Sada. While it's true the breeze is on the nose, it's only blowing around 16 knots, and the further west you go the lighter it gets. And once you get about half way down the coast of Portugal, the trades start to kick in all the way to the Canary Islands (where it's actually blowing quite hard - 18-29 knots - but from a good direction (NNE))
The only thing I can imagine is that the RC has access to more detailed forecasts which provide a different local picture in close proximity to Finisterre. A point of comparison might be the local conditions off Point Conception, on the California coast, where you effectively transition from the cooler Northern California weather to the warmer Southern California conditions. That's a place that can get very nasty, very quickly, in terms of both wind strength and sea state. One year we transited the area and ended up going downwind at 6 knots under no sails at all, for several hours. This was on a J/105 - that same evening another J/105 near us was dismasted.
On the other hand, as one French commenter pointed out, while the top Mini sailors are either professionals or aspiring professionals, there have always been a significant number of amateurs who are pursuing their own personal goals, often at considerable expense and sacrifice. So the Race Committee is choosing not to place them in a situation that could conceivably lead to unnecessary carnage - i.e., that point at which you're not racing anymore, just surviving. I tend to agree. And, besides, whether the race is 2 legs or 3 legs, it is still a true test of skill and endurance. But perhaps in future they might consider starting the race in Cascais.
Meanwhile, Pedote is demonstrating that 747's victory in the 2011 MT was no fluke. Though he trailed Gahinet initially, he took the lead and has extended to about 6 miles and should hold that into Sada, barring unforeseen circumstances. Conditions really favored the scow design - solid breeze just aft of the beam, and disturbed sea state. I bet it has been a wet ride for everyone involved. Go Jumbo!