I’ve just got back from a weekend in Lorient with Becky, Artemis Mini Graduate from last year. It was a great insight into the Mini world and gave me an idea of what I can expect this year. Thanks go out to Tanguy Le Glatin, as he allowed me join him on his rib during his training session – a top French coach who has helped the likes of Sam Davies as well as Artemis Graduates, Sam, Nick and Ollie. My French being somewhat rusty and amateur his ability to speak almost perfect English was greatly appreciated. Especially after we’d clarified the difference between huit and frites, and that we weren’t using VHF Channel Chips!
On day 2 I joined Katrina Ham for her first sail on her newly acquired 785 Nacira design of Mini. It was great to finally get on the water and sail a mini, something I haven’t done since 2001 when my dad competed. Taking in what I’d learnt on day 1 from Tanguy and watching the other Mini sailors has been hugely rewarding. Giving me time to process all the procedures and think about everything that needs to be done before I get out and do it myself.
The whole set up in Lorient is designed specifically for offshore racing, with a multitude of prestigious boats lined up on the pontoons. Banque Populaire, Groupama 3, MOD 70’s, Class 40’s, Figaro’s and Mini’s and days previously a number of the Vendee Globe boats had left for the start in Les Sables-d'Olonne. The expanse of sailing area and the resources and expertise available for sailors is phenomenal. I left eager to get out there myself and join the town that seems to be the pinnacle of all offshore sailing.