Close-up shot of the stern of the Velotrade sailboat at the Mini Gascogna 2021 preparation race for the Mini Transat challenge.

All Set: 2021 Mini Transat

Sep 23, 2021

Following our previous article, we are back again with an update on the Mini Transat 2021 Challenge that is right around the corner!

Find out how our skipper is preparing himself both physically and mentally for the big race in this article.

What’s New?

Velotrade is excited to share that its beautiful sailboat is now ready for the upcoming Mini Transat challenge. The new design has the Velotrade logo and tagline ‘Financing Tomorrow’ imprinted on the sail and hull of the sailboat.

What was more exhilarating was to see this beautifully designed piece in water as our sponsored skipper Brieuc Lebec sailed his way through the last leg of the mini races – the Mini Gascogna, in preparation for the main race.

The Mini Gascogna

As mentioned earlier, the Mini Gascogna is usually the last of the mini race series held to prepare the sailors for the Mini Transat challenge. This year the race took place between 30th July and 3rd August. This 600-nautical mile race started from Port Bourgenay in Vendée and moved towards the marina of Getxo near Bilbao.The first leg of the race, being 375 nautical miles started on a rough note as Velotrade managed to pass Rochebonne in 9th position, but we accelerated speed as the straight tack to Belle île began.

Map showing the route of Mini Gascogna - the race to prepare the sailors for the 2021 Mini Transat challenge.

Managing to maintain good speed and get a good amount of rest, what followed was a dreadful 20 hours of race as the wind died when approaching the eastern point of Belle île the next morning. There was a point when nearly 30 boats were touching each other!

After passing Belle île, it was a long and almost straight tack to Getxo, which is where the race took pace again.

The second leg of the race was a shorter route back to Port Bourgenay, France.

Despite of tough weather conditions, and stronger and faster winds approaching towards the end, Velotrade managed to finish in position 5 amongst a total of 47 other participants.

After finishing the Mini Gascogna, Brieuc feels accomplished as he expressed:

“The last race was exhausting yet the 5th place was another step in building confidence for the Mini Transat. Not far from the podium, it was a real performance to finish so close to the Maxi (rounded nose boats) which were really advantaged in the conditions we had (90 degrees wind angled / 20-25 knots).”

Preparing for the Mini Transat

Being one of the toughest sailing races in the world, ample of preparation is required for the Mini Transat challenge. Following the Mini Gascogna, Briuec has been focusing on the following things to prepare the boat for the transat:

  • Replacing wear and tears
  • Packing spare components in case of any damage during sailing
  • Installing the new solar panel – the Velotrade sailboat will be using 4 solar panels each being 1m wide with a total capacity of 400 watts
  • Packing food and clothes
  • Training with the boat fully loaded with equipment, water, and food. It gets difficult to manoeuvre the boat with so much weight.
  • Training with mental coach – Pierre Cochat to work on sleep management, and all other protocols for better performance, focus, and motivation

“ My goal is the Top 3. The hardest thing will be finding the right rhythm. The sleep management and weather strategy will obviously be key points too. I can’t wait! ”

– says Brieuc

The boat is back in water for the last training before the big race day and here is a short glimpse of how it looks!

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What’s On Board?

The image shows 10 items that are allowed on board for the Mini Transat race.


The boat is only 6.50 metres long, giving the skipper merely 12.2 sqm of living space! This is what makes the race even more challenging. It is a test of both the skipper’s mental and physical strength.

The choice of equipment to be taken on board is therefore highly important. For this reason, the skipper is only allowed to take a minimum amount of food, water, security items, and electronics as follows:

  • 90L of water
  • 30 days of veggie lyophilisedfood (freeze-dried food which keeps nutrients intact)
  • 1 water boiler
  • 1 first-aid kit
  • 1 survive bag (an immersion suit that protects body heat and can save life even if a person remains in water for a long period)
  • 7 sails
  • 1 GPS without charts
  • 15 paper nautical charts
  • 1 sextant for navigation
  • 1 VHF radio

With such limited space, the skipper has to maintain a good space, sleep, and sail management.

This is a full shot of the Velotrade sailboat at the 2021 Mini Gascogna race.


Next Up!

The Mini Transat is a long sailing race, which is also what makes it one of the toughest sailing races in the world.

The race will be divided into 2 legs, the first one lasting for around 7 days and the second for about another 11 days. Here is how the event pans out:

This is a timeline of the Mini Transat 2021 race events. The first leg starts on 26 Sep 2021 and ends on 11 Nov 2021, spanning 17 days with a stopover of 26 days.

The first leg has begun, however the front ahead delayed the race to the 27th of September.

With a phenomenal start, Brieuc manages to sustain a good lead already. Check out our article on the latest update for the first leg of the Mini Transat to know more.

This is surely going to be an adventurous journey for Brieuc and Velotrade is highly looking forward to it!

Stay tuned and follow the campaign for live updates!

Until then, do watch this enticing teaser to know more about the Mini Transat 2021 challenge.

Photos of the boat are taken by Gauthier Lebec