A full stern shot of the Velotrade sailboat with the skipper on board while sailing through Mini Transat Leg 1.

Mini Transat Leg 1: It’s Game On!

Sep 30, 2021

The Mini Transat race has begun, and we cannot express how thrilled we are for our skipper Brieuc Lebec who is representing Velotrade.

Due to a storm front, the first leg of the Mini Transat race was postponed and started on Monday 27th September at 15:30pm in France.

Propelling along a NW’ly breeze of 16-25 knots, the first stage set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne towards Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain. The wind was forecasted to ease out gradually over the afternoon, maintaining a stable 15 knots in the evening.

Brieuc Lebec in Action!

Brieuc shared a live update with us hours before his departure. Watch this video to catch a sneak peek on the inside of the Velotrade sail, and some strategies that he is going to implement to sustain this 7-day journey on sea.

With all the physical preparation on board, Brieuc was all charged up and showcased an outstanding performance towards the start of the race itself.

With 90 sailors competing, Velotrade is proud to see Brieuc shine his way through the first windward mark in the FIRST position! ….and the news was caught by Le Figaro!

This is a Le Figaro News snapshot in French highlighting Velotrade's leading position after the first windward mark.

We were beyond happy when we saw him lead the way as he rounded the first mark!

Catch a glimpse of it through the live streaming below:

Velotrade is extremely proud to be featured in a few media articles ever since its remarkable start in this race.

The ‘Sail World’ – one of the biggest sailing news networks mentioned our skipper Brieuc Lebec and Velotrade for its fantastic performance on kickstarting the race.

More than the physical preparation and tactics, the race also requires ample of mental preparation, which is certainly going to help Brieuc surpass tougher weather conditions throughout the journey.

“I spend most of my preparation at sea, sailing in training and racing. But the preparation of the boat and the meteorological study take 1/3 of my time.” – says Brieuc

Brieuc’s coach Pierre Cochat has been preparing him mentally over the past few months for this big day.

His recent blog article (FR) sheds more insights on the mental preparation that Brieuc undertook to develop self-confidence, and the right mindset to overcome challenges that may come his way during this journey.

What’s Ahead?

The passage ahead across the Bay of Biscay is where conditions were forecasted to be unfavorable.

Post the clean start, the sailors experienced the wind abate a few hours later. To conserve speed as much as possible at this point, sailors began weaving across the racetrack, avoiding light patches of air along the southern Bay of Biscay.

Following that was a front that passed Tuesday night through to Wednesday, where conditions were forecasted to be boisterous with 35 knots of SW’ly wind.

The challenging wind shift to the north-west to go southwards and sail along the Spanish coast between Cape Ortegal and Cape Finisterre is where maneuvering is going to be the trickiest. However, if Brieuc manages to maintain the lead, he will be able to avoid this deficit before the corridor around Cape Finisterre.

With such weather complications and uncertainties on the front, stress level is equally high as is the excitement for Brieuc.

Here is what he had to say 24 hours prior to the race, as featured in the Mini Transat EuroChef 2021 article:

With 24 hours to go, I feel quietly confident.

Once we’ve refined the weather situation a little more, it’ll be plain sailing of sorts. The exit from Biscay will be a bit tricky. We’ll need to play around with the ridges of high pressure but once we make Cape Finisterre it’ll be almost like a magic carpet ride to the finish.

It will be long and full-on though, and wet too for those of us on a Pogo 3. I think it will be simple as we’ll need to be on top of our game the whole time and conditions won’t be very comfortable!

– says Brieuc

Adding on to the problems is the eruption of the Cumbre Veija volcano on the La Palma island, which has made the stopover at Santa Cruz de La Palma uncertain as well.

The organisers are in touch with the local authorities and experts from the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan. Potential backup ports are being decided.

In the event of diversion, a virtual gate has been placed 80 miles to the north of Spanish islands. As a result, any disruptions will be minimized, and the race will reach a conclusion regardless, validating the first leg.

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Stay Updated with the Live Tracker

The race can be followed live on the cartography, and is fairly straightforward to use. For those who do not understand French, the site can be translated into English. Follow the below steps to find Velotrade on the tracker:

  • Once you are on the page, you will notice the ranking is sorted by two categories: Proto & Series. Select Series, as Velotrade’s Pogo 3 boat model falls under the Series category.
  • Look for Brieuc Lebec on the ranking chart. Velotrade’s boat number is 914. You will find key statistics over here, including the boat position on the map, speed, and distance remaining in nautical miles to the finish line.
  • Click on our skipper -Brieuc and you will see the map highlight the Velotrade boat.
  • Hover over on the boat to gain more details on distance and speed travelled over the last 24 hours.
  • Drag the mouse to zoom in or simply use the magnifying glass in the tool bar on the right.
  • The statistics are updated every 4 hours in France time. Refresh the page to know the latest rankings.

With 1,014 nautical miles lying ahead, the excitement is palpable for Brieuc as is for Velotrade. To know what happened in the last few miles, do catch our article summarising the end of Leg 1.

Stay tuned for more updates as the race progresses!