Bruce Gailey, member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and a transplanted Canadian lawyer working in Switzerland is in the final hours of preparation for the BIG RACE – the 2011 Mini Transat. This is a single-handed ocean race on a 21 ft boat from France to Brazil.
The race will see Bruce sail 4200 nautical miles race from La Rochelle in France to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, with a stopover in Madeira. This is the culmination of two years of training and competing in qualifying races
No Bruce is not insane! He has been working toward this goal for years. Bruce has done lots of ocean racing on the West Coast of Canada, but since moving to land-locked Switzerland he has had to be very dedicated to sailing to indulge his passion for sailing - traveling to France on his vacations and participating in a mainly French dominated sport – solo ocean racing.
Qualifying for the Mini- Transat is no small accomplishment. It requires completion of a 1000 nautical mile qualification sail (not a race) with all sorts of navigation tasks to perform along the way, including taking photos of various marks rounded and use of a sextant for navigation. In addition to this each skipper must also complete 1000 nautical miles in a combination of approved races in Europe. By the time one qualifies, they are an accomplished yachtsman and have to be pretty comfortable with keeping their own company.
The start of the race is just a few days away. The start gun fires at 5:15 pm (European time – so about 11:15 am in Central Canada) this Sunday, 25 September. The first leg should take about a week to ten days, and the second leg about three weeks, give or take a couple of days.
If you are interested in following Bruce’s progress you can track his position on the race website
You might also be interested in visiting Bruce’s blog:
Bruce’s boat is #529 - Black Mamba.
Bruce writes: “The black mamba might be the fastest snake in the world, but don't expect it to be the fastest boat - my goal is to finish the race. I will certainly try my best but I'm not expecting to be on the podium!”