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FIRST LEG RESUME

[Leg 1 Mini Transat 2019]


13th of the first leg of the Mini Transat!! 10 days sailing SOLO, WITHOUT STOPPING, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE AND ANY KIND OF COMMUNICATION aboard my 6.50-meter boat! It has been incredible, I have learned a lot and there have been moments that have marked me forever!


GULF OF GASCOGNE STARTING STRONG


Before the departure, we knew that we would have a gulf of Gascogne with big winds and waves, with the passage of 2 very cold fronts that would pass us over. The first night I chose to follow the same tactic as the other sailors and head forward. I had never seen a cold front in the Atlantic before, and it was quite hard. The night was very dark and it did not stop raining, the clouds were so dark that there was not a ray of light from the little moon we had, and giant waves accompanied the wind of 25 / 30kts. The boat hit the waves and passed over 100% soaking me. Luckily I was dry inside thanks to the clothes provided by Helly Hansen. It was super hard. The next day we had upwind conditions that went gradually down to get to a very active small dorsal (area with little wind) again at night which allowed us to rest. It was very necessary because we knew that another front would take us before Finisterre and we should be prepared. Once we passed the next front just North of Galicia, we were able to use the gennaker during the day when the conditions were good we headed south and towards Finisterre!


FINISTERRE, A GREAT FIRST TIME!


I dreamed about Finisterre forever. A dangerous area but very beautiful at the same time. I have a lot of respect for such a mythical cape full of anecdotes from the Vendée Globe or the Route du Rhum... From there, we pointed towards Las Palmas. We passed the traffic separation from the inside (near the coast) and it was very nice to see the cape closely during the sunset with good visits from the dolphin! After Finisterre, we knew that it would be a tough ride down the Portuguese coast and that we should be well prepared. Next waypoint, Las Palmas: 930 miles.


PORTUGAL... SURFING VERY BIG WAVES


I already knew before that Portugal was going to be critical and that everything could get twisted very easily. I had never sailed with HUGE waves. I knew that to make a good race, you first need to arrive and not break anything. I was conservative, I was picking up the pace and confidence with the boat. He behaved very well, never got out of control and even when the conditions were very hard, with the gennaker and 2 reefs in the mainsail, the boat was gently planning mountains of water and I could rest, enjoy the moment and assess that this does not happen every day! As the sea calmed down, my desire to go 100% increased, and the distance to the line was shortened! Big spinnaker and down towards Las Palmas!


EUH ... UPWIND IN MADEIRA?


On the BLU radio (where we get a grasp of the meteorology and the rankings once a day at 15h UTC), I heard that the SSW wind was coming in the approach to the Canary Islands. That meant upwind! Well, the boat kept hitting the waves for 1.5 days ... It is not something that we like very much! The front passed later and left us with a strong NW wind that I took full advantage of to make miles with the spinnaker.


LAST MILES OF TRADE WINDS


Ohhhh the trade winds ... nice! Wind of 15/20 knots, big waves, and “glisse” towards the arrival in spinnaker! With an amazing sunset, I said goodbye to the first stage and arrived in Las Palmas at 4 am on Tuesday! I told myself "Pep, go carefully since arrivals are never easy!"


HAPPINESS


Super happy and proud to have arrived, even more in this position. I just want to go on and fight until the end in Martinique! Very proud of the team, how well we have prepared the boat since nothing has broken. I am here today thanks to them and to all of you for the unconditional support.


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