Thompson heads for Kinsale after problem with forestay

Leading British sailor Brian Thompson aboard his Simon Rogers deigned miniI Must Be Mad, announced over VHF to the Mini Fastnet committee boat this morning that he would be retiring. Thompson, who in this race is co-skippered by shore crew Tanguy de Lamotte said that the problem, a crushed forestay fitting, was the result of hard, fast reaching with the large spinnaker up. Before the problem occured they had been doing speeds of up to 12 knots in 14-15 knots of wind. The skipper decided to retire cautious about putting loads on the jib, after hearing the forecast for stronger winds for the rest of the race.

The Mini Fastnet race, which began on Sunday from St Quay Portrieux, has up to now been plagued by light headwinds. The seventy strong fleet began with Thompson and de Lamotte out in front until yesterday morning when Yves Le Blevec and Pascal Bloin inActual Interimslipped by and took a one-mile lead. In Second place are Karen Leibovici and well-known Mini designer and two-times Mini Transat champion Sebastien Magnen.

The leaders will round Fastnet Rock today, and be racing back into a SW breeze to Douarnenez, and the finish. Other British sailors Paul Peggs and Sam Davies are not competing but Ian Munslow is back withKingfisherdesigner Merfyn Owen as co-skipper, and were yesterday morning in 22nd place.

Some Minis missing from this race are busy trying to qualify for the Mini Transat in September. Most notably Figaro sailor Ronan Guerin who won the Mini Pavois three weeks ago and has become a favourite of the circuit this year. Guerin is heavily sponsored but has suffered from entering the season late and now must complete his 1,000 mile qualifier in order to enter the Mini Transat.

Davies, Peggs, Thompson, Mike Inglis and Simon Curwen have all now qualified for this big event. There are a few places left for Prototype and series minis and it remains to be seen who will have enough milege to qualify for this year’s over-subscribed event.

Nathalie Le Pen