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The start of Mini Transat 2007. La Rochelle - first day

After a long preparation process we finally achieved the goal we set ourselves two years ago. After 30 years of break we have a new Polish sailor who takes part in a single-handed race of Mini Transat. Captain Jarek Kaczorowski has begun his strife on the yacht named Allianz.pl on this year's route of race.

On a sunny day with wind reaching 15 knots, at 12.54 p.m. the first leg of regatta Mini Transat 2007 started. The 1100 miles-long route leads from La Rochelle through the Gulf of Biskay to the port of Funchal on Madeira.

Jarek has started very well, taking the position in the middle of the starters, sailing as all of them on the first reef of the mainsail and on full foresail. During this first stage it is necessary to avoid possible collision with other boats and getting involved in individual scuffles with competitors. Because of the length and difficulty of this leg serious damage of the equipment during the first miles of the race could cause problems to reaching Madeira and could mean not taking part in the second leg.

Some of Jaro's opponents ran the risk just after the first buoy and raised their big spinnakers, which worked well by steady wind. However, as soon as the wind started to blow stronger than 25 knots, most of the sailors began to drift away and quickly changed the sails.

Our Slovenian friend Andraz Mihelin on his boat Adria Mobil Too has had mostly bad luck. While he was raising the spinnaker he crashed at full capacity against a press boat, which came too close to the regatta's route. Luckily I was on this boat and after the collision I was able to push the yacht away to protect the friend's boat from further damages. However, the rest of the guests on the press boat remained "superprofessional" and instead of helping me kept on filming the whole situation.

I was able to notice that part of the dagger board got damaged because of hitting the engine pillar of our boat. Moreover, a riff appeared on the bow. Later I saw Andraza lowering the sails and drifting for some time on the route.

It was very bad luck for the whole Slovakian team. Andraz is generally considered to be one of the nominees for winning the race. If such an accident happened to Jarek and our yacht I would get a heart attack and probably quit sailing for good.

So Jaro made a right decision and although he reached the turning buoy staying further behing his competitors, he now has best opportunity to make use of his fully working equipment.

Forthcoming weather forecasts prepared by specialists include lighter winds (reaching 12 knots) as long as to Cape Finnisterre and significantly stronger (reaching 30 knots), turning from N to NW in the next part of the route. Last year's model from the Azores Regatta is repeating. The ones who will first pass the Gulf of Biskay will take advantage of a stronger wind with better direction. As the saying goes: "Rich get richer."

Tomorrow I am going to Paris and on September 20 th to Madeira, where I will be waiting for Jarek. Next reports will come from the office on Madeira.

Best reagrds,

Marek Goły Gałkiewicz




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