Gran Premio d’Italia

This Saturday the mini and I will set sail once again into the Med, for a 540-mile course. This time in full race mode we are joined by Ollie Bond, a previous owner of my boat, 2009 Mini Transat competitor and Artemis graduate.

It’s great to be sailing with Ollie, he knows the boat so well and with Transat experience his advice is invaluable. We haven’t even left the dock yet and I’ve already learnt tonnes.

Ollie has now been officially nicknamed the weight police, the boat is completely stripped and any unnecessary weight has been removed. As we are racing double handed we can afford to take a few more risks and carry less spares and repairs. The van is now filled to the brim and the boat practically empty. I definitely completed my qualifier passage in full on cruising mode taking no risks of not finishing. Perhaps I could have broken the 20-knot barrier if I shed a bit of


The race is looking like a light wind drift at the moment, with no more than 5 knots for the first couple days. With 28 entries, and 15 series it looks to be a great race with lots of competition.

The course starts in Genova and heads down to La Calcetta in Sardinia, navigating around some of the local islands then back again. The exact course will be decided on the morning of the start.

With the forecasted light winds it is going to very important to stay awake and focused. Making sure to get plenty of sleep and keep topping up on calories and staying hydrated. The bonus of sailing two up means we can get a good watch system going and make sure we’re both well rested for the most important sections of the course and really push the boat.

After the race it’s back to home turf for the two UK Mini events, the Solent 6.50 starting in Lymington on 5th May then the UK Fastnet starting in Plymouth on 12th May.