Mini Transat, Fornaro and Iacopini’s bad luck black luck


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Tough luck, just a few miles from the finish, for the two of the three Italians still to cross the finish line at the Mini Transat, Federico Fornaro (Raw News) and Andrea Iacopini (Umpa Lumpa). The two Italian solo sailors, now within sight of the finish line at Point-a-Pitre and committed to defending a place in the Top 20 of the Series category of the 2013 Mini Transat, were forced to abandon their Mini 6.50s and reached Point-a-Pitre aboard the Imaginaire, one of the six support vessels that follows the progress of the race step by step.


What put Federico Fornaro on the ropes was the breaking of both rudders. The Raw News skipper contacted via VHF the crew of the Imaginaire, less than 10 miles away at the time, to ask for assistance. Immediate action was taken by the rescue unit, which evacuated the loner.

Relative to the accident, Fornaro recounted, “Last December 9, I was sailing to Guadeloupe under spi when, 350 miles from the finish line, I heard a jolt from the rudder and saw the port blade floating horizontally at the stern of the boat. I tried to repair the break but could not. At that point I reduced canvas to straighten the boat and be able to steer it with just the starboard blade. Unfortunately, during the course of the following night, I was hit by a depression with winds between 25 and 30 knots and a formed sea: harsh conditions, which resulted in the rudder still operational breaking.

I spent long hours attempting to make the boat steerable, but despite the use of the floating anchor and the deployment of other systems there was nothing to be done: the hull remained prey to the sea. When I saw the waves starting to break in the cockpit, I realized that safety was in jeopardy and decided to call for help. The crew of l’Imaginaire did an outstanding job in evacuating me safely since the sea was really big. Abandoning the boat was really heartbreaking, but I think this experience, as well as the others I went through during the Mini Transat, turned me into a sailor, and this is a reward for the efforts and sacrifices I went through during the last few weeks.”


Different problem, however, for Andrea Iacopini who, at night, collided with an unknown object, presumably a container, adrift. Oompa Loompa’s skipper immediately activated the tracker, which enabled Imaginaire to locate the boat and pull the lone man to safety.

From aboard the support vehicle Andrea Iacopini explained, “I was about 350 miles from the finish line and everything was going well. The wind was decreasing and was turning to the southeast. I decided to hoist the biggest spi and started surfing, touching peaks of 12 and 13 knots. At one point I heard a bang, not louder than others felt during the race, but definitely weirder. I put the autopilot on and entered the boat where I noticed a major water seepage at the log and sounder sensors-the crack was about a foot long, and I knew immediately that the boat was doomed.

I put Oompa Loompa dry cloth, activated the emergency tracking system, and contacted the Imaginaire. I was surprised when I heard that it was the voice of Fornaro, a Roman like me and a great friend of mine, who had recovered only three hours earlier, who answered me. At that point I put the inflatable into the sea, climbed aboard it, cut the safety line, and abandoned Ump Lumpa to its fate. As I waited for help to arrive, I saw her sinking little by little. I am left with the memory of a great adventure, made up of difficulties and great moments of sailing. I feel like a sailor, and the fact that I did not complete the course does not change the substance of things.”

Yslab Ranking (Series)
. Aymeric Belloir (810 – Tout le Monde Chante Contre le Cancer) 21d 09h 12mn 27s
2. Justine Mettraux (824 – TeamWork) 22d 22h 55mn 34s
3. Simon Koster (819 – Go 4 It) 23d 11h 15mn 59s
4. Renaud Mary (535 – 24d 17h 52mn 07s
5. Alberto Bona (507 – 25d 02h 46mn 10s

Ranking Eurovia-Cegelec (Proto)
. Benoit Marie (667 – 18g 13h 01m 05s
2. Giancarlo Pedote (747 – Prismyan) 18g 15h 56m 30s
3. Rémi Fermin (741 – Boréal) 19g 13h 38m 46s
4. Bertrand Delesne (754 – TeamWork Proto) 19g 19h 37m 47s
5. Bruno Garcia (240 – Sampaquita) 19g 20h 22m 31s




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