It’s been nearly two weeks since my last race, the UK Fastnet. Unfortunately due to a damaged tiller I decided to retire from the race during the first night just 10 miles off the Lizard. Although I could have made a bodge repair, due to the conditions and expected forecast, I decided the safer option was to return to Plymouth. This was to minimise the risk to the boat, as well as Lizzy and I, something of great importance when heading out into open water, in this case the Irish Sea. Having had time to reflect on my decision I stand by it and still think it was the best thing to do…although hearing the epic stories from the race I secretly wish I got live them myself – I’m a great fan of heavy weather survival sailing. Perhaps that’s what attracted me to the Mini!!
My next race the Marie-Agnes Peron Trophey (MAP) starts on 13th June in Douarnenez, France, the starting town of the Mini Transat 2013 this October. The race is 220 miles solo, and with over 80 boats entered it will great practise for the Transat itself. I’m really looking forward to racing in France, having spent the year racing in the Med and the UK. The Atlantic fleet is much more competitive and will be a real measure of where I stand in the fleet ahead of the Transat.
Having sailed over 2,000 miles in my Mini this year I know the boat really well. I’ve had some good races this year already, and I’m very keen to put my experience to practise and see where it gets me in such a big fleet. This will be my 2nd ever solo mini race, and having not sailed my Mini solo since my qualifier back in March I’m very excited to get back in and see what I can do!
After the MAP I will compete in the Mini Fastnet, also starting in Douarnenez. Unfortunately due to my budget I won’t be racing the Artemis Mini. Instead I will be taking the opportunity to sail on a fellow Mini’ists Proto. Next year I hope to get my own Proto so it makes sense to get some experience to see if it’s really for me. With canting keels, daggerboards lots of carbon and for some, water ballast and rotating rigs, life on-board can be somewhat more hectic than that on a series boat. Lets see if I’ve got what it takes!!!
Between my races I’ve had time to switch roles and get back into the “office,” Thinking about the future, both the 2013 and 2015 Mini Transat. The Artemis Offshore Academy have funded me getting qualified and my racing so far this year and have provided me with the Mini. I need to now find an additional sponsor in order to make the Transat start this October.
I’ve been busy the past week putting together proposals (watch out they’ll be on your doorstep soon!!). Coming up with ideas on how I can give something back and the benefits of supporting my campaign.
I’ve got a 3-year plan in place, which is currently half a year complete. I’m now qualified for the 2013 Transat, having completed my 2,000 qualification miles this year and currently 13th on the waiting list. The Transat starts on 13th October 2013 at 13:13! 13 is definitely my new lucky number. One extra can’t hurt right?! The qualification deadline closes at the beginning of July and by then I should have a better idea of whether I will gain a place on the 84-boat start line in October. There are currently a few Proto spots untaken which could move across, otherwise I’m playing the waiting game and hoping for people to drop out.
Beyond 2013 I am looking to get my own Mini, this time a Proto and start campaigning for the 2015 Mini Transat. Completing my qualification miles in 2014 and getting as much time on the water as possible in the new boat. By completing my miles a year early it means I can turn up to the Paris Boat show in December 2014, sign up and gain my place on the start line in 2015 instantly – avoiding being on the waiting list and the unknown.