Mini Transat: Jury gives verdict, changes in ranking

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The start of the Mini Transat

It is a verdict that leaves no alibi that issued by the International Jury of the Mini Transat, which “condemns” the actions of the Race Direction and upholds the complaints of 19 competitors who had filed official protests. The subject of the complaints centered on the Race Direction’s handling of the events that occurred off Portugal, when skippers were told to repair to port due to the arrival of a perturbation .

THE “MESS” OF MINI TRANSAT 2021

This was a recommendation, not an official suspension, and Germany’s Melwin Fink, racing in the Series category and still abiding by the rules, decided not to stop going on to win the leg by a wide margin over the favored skippers.

Already during the stop in Portugal, the discontents of the rest of the fleet had emerged, and they were in a self-managing situation as far as restarts were concerned, trying to respect the ranking order. A real mess, because not everyone restarted in the expected order, plus the weather, with a bubble of wind, made things worse. The standings were reshuffled further and at that point nothing was more similar with the one before the stop.

All without any further decision being made by the Race Direction on the matter. Less problematic was the situation in the Prototype category: the top 4 competitors were already so far ahead in the standings that the actions of the Race Direction were irrelevant.

Two weeks after the events, and ahead of the start of the second leg on Oct. 29, comes the Jury’s decision transmitted via an official statement on the regatta website.

THE JURY’S VERDICT

“On Wednesday, Oct. 20, the international jury in charge of reviewing the protests of 19 contestants of the 23rd Mini Transat EuroChef, submitted at the end of the first leg, issued its verdict. The latter decided that the Regatta Management’s recommendations, information, or advice to seek shelter in the nearest port, which were given on October 1, 2021 following the issuance of a severe weather warning regarding the areas of Finisterre South and Finisterre North, were vague and imprecise and therefore not clearly understood by competitors.

Consequently, it was decided that this was an inappropriate action on the part of the Race Direction. Therefore, compensation was established to all 80 skippers involved. To be precise, 24 hours will be deducted from their race times. This time bonus does not affect the top four boats in the prototype rankings. It also does not affect the sailors who chose not to stop after the weather message sent by Race Direction, namely Piers Copham (719 – Voiles des Anges), Melwin Fink (920 – SingForCom) and Christian Kargl (980 – All Hands On Deck), the latter having made only a technical pit stop following an electronic blackout.

In this context, the podium positions of the first leg were slightly changed. The young German sailor maintains first place with a lead of 1 hour 52 minutes over Hugo Dhallenne (979 – YC Saint Lunaire), now second, with Austrian Kargl losing one place. Among the prototypes, there are no changes to the current hierarchy.

THE MINI TRANSAT FAKE?

In short, the Jury’s decision seeks to repair the damage done by management. Assigning a unique time bonus to everyone does not take into account what happened in the water before the stop. It does not consider the ranking positions accrued so far and the restart in a disadvantageous weather system. A verdict that probably goes in the right direction but seems unfinished.

In all “endurance” competitions in the sport, such as the Paris-Dakar, the Race Directorate is responsible for managing complex weather situations. For these reasons there are suspensions, cancellations, or postponements of stages/races, you hardly see “advice” or recommendations. Moreover, these are called “vague and imprecise” by the International Jury, but they affected the skippers’ conduct.

It comes out badly for the Mini Transat both from a sports point of view and obviously from an organizational point of view. The hope is that a great second leg will set things right and in the end the winner will truly be the best of the racers. We will find out after the October 29 start with the final 2700 miles of the race.

THE SITUATION OF THE ITALIANS

The best of the Italians was Alberto Riva, who had finished 12th, 42 hours behind Fink. Detachment that is now about 18 hours. Riva thus has 16 to make up on Hugo Dhallene. Fink, before the “mess” in Portugal, was sailing past 20th position, his performance did not seem irresistible. More difficult was the comeback on the Frenchman who had distinguished himself in the top ten in the first part of the race.

So did the other Italians among the Series: Giovanni Mingucci 21st, Giammarco Sardi 24th, Luca Del Zozzo 32nd, Massimo Vatteroni 34th, Francesco Renella 62nd. Among Prototypes Matteo Sericano finished the stage in 13th position.

Mauro Giuffrè


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