The first boats finishing Leg 1 of the Mini Transat La Boulangère began trickling into Las Palmas in the wee hours on Sunday. Light air dominated during the last day, allowing some of the solo sailors to catch up to the leaders and giving the Production class an unusual chance to beat some of the Prototype boats.
Frenchman Axel Tréhin crossed the finish line first after 8 days and 17 hours of racing. Only 6 minutes behind him was Frenchman François Jambou. Drifting into third place was (wait for it) another Frenchman, Tanguy Bouroullec. The amazing thing was that only 26 minutes separated first from third place after 1,350 miles of racing. The Production class saw Italian Ambrogio Beccaria finish first after 8 days, 19 hours of racing — only two hours behind the top Proto finishers. Andare Italia! Frenchman Félix De Navacelle secured second place, and Frenchman Matthieu Vincent rolled into third.
The top women skippers in both classes showed well. Frenchwoman Marie Gendron placed fourth in the Proto class and Amélie Grassi (yep, she’s French too) came in fifth for the Production boats.
It wasn’t an easy race for some of the 21-ft Minis, with a few abandonments and others heading to the nearest port for repairs to electrics, autopilots and mechanical stuff. Czech sailor Pavel Roubal even had to be airlifted off his boat when he hit something hard and cracked the transom. The boats are still finishing. The next big step is a true Mini Transat across the Atlantic from the sunny climes of the Canary Islands to the sunny climes of the Caribbean. See www.minitransat.fr/en to follow along.