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Transat 650

70 minis at the beginning of the La Rochelle on next 7 September

Fort Boyard - Puerto Calero - El Salvador de Bahia - solo race

mardi 4 février 2003Christophe Guigueno, Leo Voorneveld

Christophe Vieux, commissaire général of the Grand Pavois (organiser Transat 650), presented to the press the fourteenth edition Mini Transat, now called Transat 650 Charente Maritime - Bahia. For the second time, the race will leave the port of La Rochelle (Fort Boyard) and will arrive at Brazil (El Salvador de Bahia). 70 competitors will be the maximum number of sailors authorized to start...

Vainqueur de l’édition 2002 (ici au départ de La Rochelle), Yannick Bestaven sera le parrain de l’édition 2003
Photo : Ch.Guigueno /

"The course is not modified since the last edition" affirms Christophe Vieux immediately. "The departure will be given at Fort Boyard ( La Rochelle) with a stopover at Puerto Calero, in the Canaries, and an arrival in El Salvador de Bahia. The start will be on 7 September, one week before the Grand Pavois. The departure of the second stage is programmed for September 27 with an arrival estimated in Brazil in mid-October. There will be thus a shift with the Transatlantic Jacques Vabre race and one will have the assurance that the Transat The Transat #thetransat #ostar 650 will have arrived before the departure of the transatlantic race in double."

Some innovations however for this edition, a prologue with crew between La Rochelle and Royan will be organized the previous weekend. Saturdays August 30, the minis will race to Royan to spend there a night before returning to the port of the La Rochelle, Sunday, in convoy, no race. Moreover, the racing yachts will not be moored in an marina outside the town as in 2001 but in the centre of the town.

The number of competitors should also be more important than in 2001and the organizers think of accomodating 70 solo sailors. This figure still depends on the authorization of the local government but it should correspond to reality. The fleet is well divided into two between the prototypes and the production class In accordance with the inscriptions fees registered in both divisions to the Mini Class, 35 places are reserved for the skippers prototypes and 35 others with the skippers of Production class.

This 50/50 imposed by the class is justified by the quasi equivalent number of members in these categories confirms Pierre-Yves Lautrou, administrator of the class. Himself he has taken part in the Transat The Transat #thetransat #ostar 650 2001 in the production class. The number of preregistered skippers since the Transat650 meeting gives, on the other hand, a larger number of skippers of Prototypes. According to Laurence Frémenteau, person in charge logistic for the Grand Pavois Organization, 34 skippers are preregistered in Production class for 57 in Prototypes.

But in fact, the numbers of skippers prequalified in these categories are 15 in Production class and 24 in Prototypes. The ’ prequalifieds’, are the skippers who have validated their course of 1000 miles solo sailed and 1000 miles in races (Classe Mini approved races) and paid their fee for registration. The Mini Class had the happy idea to force the navigators to take part in a race in 2003, they will be officially qualified only at the end of this participation.

There are thus skippers who did not validate their registration yet. But for a Prototype sailor who arrives only in 2003, it will be difficult to find a place, there are only 11 places left. Many skippers made already their obligatory courses but are not yet confirmed. On the other hand in the Production class the chances to take part in the Transat 650 2003, for the late comers, are the largest...

And then there are the new owners of the new Pogo 2 of Finot. Four skippers of this new boat of the Production class are preregistered right now. The first boat is sailing. It is that of Michel Mirabel who will take part in the Transat 650 2003. But to be able to start in the Production class, it will be necessary that ten identical boats are built by the Structures yard. With already nine months of waiting for deliveries of the new boat, the number of 10 should be easily reached which will validate the boat for the production class category... If less then ten are built then the skippers of these machines would be regarded as skippers production class, but they would be classified in proto...

Lastly, the edition 2003 of Transatlantic race 650 will be more than ever an international edition. The Transatlantic race solo sailed on some 6.50 meters long racing yachts is the greatest open class of the world and the most international. If the Production class is not taken in account, where there are a Swiss competitor, a Scot and Spanish, the division Prototypes includes already Italians, Spaniards (in a great number), English, Irishman, Switzerland, Belgian and Israeli as well as Swedes and a Norwegian.

GPO will organize also the Mini-Pavois from 18 to May 29 to respect the schedule of conditions fixed by the Mini Class. This race towards Portsmouth arriving at Douarnenez Douarnenez #Douarnenez should it-also accomodate 70 boats maximum (you must register quickly !).

On the Media side GPO, assisted by gopublic, will work together with RFI, as in the past, and another large radio station. A television channel might also cover the race.

Lastly, its passion towards the Minis and the success of the last edition, GPO will deposit a candidates’ file for the next editions in 2005. The Class Will decide.

Translated by Leo Voorneveld

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