Mini Transat 2015 · Dominik Lenk

Ready for the Second Leg

Just a few hours are left until the start of the second leg. It might look simple, after all it is just a straight line across the Atlantic, but it starts with plenty of local wind effects between the Canary Islands that could spell mayhem. And let’s not forget that it is almost twice as long as the first leg with potentially days on end without seeing another boat. The winners will be those that manage to keep sailing on the edge, something which is extremely difficult without having anyone to sail against.

The wind shadow caused by the Canary Islands

The routing (done before the start) currently sends us directly south, which is a cause for complains for some. The direct route to the west is blocked by a high pressure system. It seems like it will pay to sail a longer distance to avoid getting stuck in a large no wind area that is spread all out all over the Atlantic. The night before the start the race organisation decided that we have to pass Fuerteventura to the East. That simplifies the routing question.

Nevertheless, the way south will be interesting. Especially Gran Canaria and Teneriffa have a huge windshadow that expands south for more than a hunded miles. That means that the fleet will probably cling to the African coast. There is even a small acceleration zone that might just still be there on Sunday evening.

Compared to the first leg, the boats will be much heavier. I am taking a total of 80 liters of water—for drinking and to cook my freeze dried food with. Additionally, I will take some apples for the first few days. All of this makes the boats much more sluggish and each maneuver more difficult, as all of this weight needs to be stacked or moved from side to side.

Water and food before the start.

The first two days will be neve racking. The rich will get richer. Whoever drives their boat and themselves the most will keep the wind the longest …

The start is on Saturday the 31st of October at 13:00 UTC. You can find the tracker here: www.minitransat-ilesdeguadeloupe.fr/cartographie?lang=en