The AIR Valencia was supposed to be the first qualifier for the race next year. But after two days and three hours I finished in second place against newer boats and much more experiences skippers.
Around 300 nautical miles would lead us from Valencia around Columbretes Islands, Ibiza and Formentera and back to Valencia. The weather forecast was obscure at best—an area of thunderstorms was on its way but should hit to the north of our course area.
One last fix here and another tweak there. It is getting late when I move the mast back another tiny bit to prevent the bow digging into the waves.
Whether that will happen is however, still wide open to debate. Last week it started blowing around midday every day, but the next couple of days look rather bleak. Or to say it another way, very tactical. Nevertheless, according to the routing we are set to complete the course in little more than two days.
A total of 15 boats will at the start line: 8 series and 7 protos of which I am one. Most of the other protos are much newer than my own 348. Together with plenty of experience, this is a fleet that could turn this race into a baptism by fire for me.
After 36 hours and 54 minutes we sailed back into Malmø as the first boat having rounded Bornholm the night before.
The Pia L’Obry Trophy is being organised by Malmo Segel Sallskap since last year. It was named after the first and only sailor from the nordic countries, who sailed the Mini Transat. The course leads sailors from Malmø around Bornholm and back in a clockwise fashion—about 240 nautical miles. John Körtner was my coskipper, sailing his first ever mini race!