Ewout on his way for his 1.000 mile qualifying course (February 2016)
On february 21st Ewout started his qualifying course from the French harbor of La Grande Motte. From here he is on his way around Mallorca, towards Corse, around Ile Gorgona and back to La Grande Motte. Goal: to finish this course and the following race in the weekend of March 5-6 so Ewout is fully qualified for the Azores race upcoming July, the biggest race of this season in the Mini class. This nice and early qualification will give more certainty that Ewout can participate in the race and gives us enough time for a well-planned preparation. More updates to follow! Check our Facebook page for the latest updates!
Dimitri finished the Mini Transat
After almost 17 days at sea Dimitri finished the 2nd leg of the Mini Transat on the 17th of November. The complete 2nd leg was an incredible race with perfect downwind sailing conditions. He finished this leg in 17th position and the Transat overall in 18th out of 46 competitors in the serie class. He is very happy with the result and with the whole race: “I definitely want to do this again. Team Solo will be back in 2017 but then with two boats and a better preparation!”.
Update during the stopover of the Mini Transat (7th of October 2015)
The Mini Transat started from Douarnenez on September 19th. After a couple of busy weeks including attendance at the Hiswa-on-the-water boat show Dimitri left with the boat on the trailer straight after the boat show. Destination: Douarnenez, Brittany, France. 72 Boats and skippers gathered there for the start of their ultimate race: the 4000 mile Mini Transat Iles de Guadeloupe from Douarnenez to Guadeloupe, with a stopover at Lanzarote. The last days before the start were spent preparing the boat, supplies, getting through the safety check and attending a series of mandatory briefings on safety, the course and the expected weather. Family, my girlfriend, friends and more enthusiastic people came to say goodbye on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Thank you all for having been there! After a short course in front of Douarnenez we were all off for the first 1200 miles (+/- 2000 km) towards Arrecife (Lanzarote). This first leg took 8,5 days in which I could only eat freeze-dried food, use a bucket as a toilet and sleep in small 20-minute powernaps. This is the uncomfortable but awesome reality of Mini sailing. In Arrecife a warm welcome awaited me. Fellow skippers and race organization are always on the dock at everybody’s arrival. After a couple of days of rest and cleaning the boat it’s now time to head back home for two weeks and then prepare again for the second leg. Keep following our adventure on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/teamsolosailing
Report of Dimitri’s qualification course (4th of July 2015)
I’m happy to be back home in the Netherlands all safe and sound! After two nights of good rest I can now look back at a wonderful 1000 mile (1850 km) qualification course.
The mandatory qualification for the Mini Transat consists of sailing 1000 miles in official races and sailing a non-stop 1000 mile course on your own (the “qualifier”). After having done all the races of the season so far the racing miles had been ticked off the list. Last thing to do: a 1000 mile course along the French coast, across the English Channel, the Irish Sea and over the North Sea to show seamanship. Last Thursday I arrived back in Ijmuiden (The Netherlands) with the boat after 10 days at sea: my qualification course is done and I’m happy I am now allowed to participate in the Mini Transat.
My qualifier started in Douarnenez only three days after the Mini Fastnet race. Still a bit tired but fully motivated to go again I set sail on Monday evening June 22nd. I quickly sailed out of the bay in a good breeze and could go downwind towards Belle Ile. A day later I rounded the beautiful island and headed north again in the direction of the Scilly Islands. The wind dropped and the progress was slow. Luckily some dolphins accompanied me every now and then to cheer me up! On day three I sailed past the Scilly Islands in the dark so unfortunately I didn’t see them very well. The crossing of the Irish Sea was fast and good. Big waves made the boat surf northwards nicely. I arrived at the Coningbeg buoy close to Ireland in the middle of the night and turned around for the crossing back to Land’s End (UK).
A day later along the English coast the weather was warm and sunny but there was a massive lack of wind. I barely made any progress for two days but at least I had time to recharge myself for the crossing of the Dover Strait where I had to cross one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Luckily I had done this several times already on other boats so I knew what was ahead of me. I crossed the Dover Strait in the middle of the night when there was barely any shipping traffic. More sunny weather accompanied me along the French, Belgian and Dutch coast. I still had to avoid some offshore wind farms (big ‘fields’ of windmills), lots of anchored cargo ships and some occasional trash in the water but after 10 days at sea I safely arrived in Ijmuiden having sailed 1181 miles (almost 2200 km) in total (sometimes you just can’t sail a straight line because of the wind). I had a warm welcome by my team mate Ewout and my parents: a big thanks to all three of you for being there!
The next two months will be dedicated to securing the necessary funding for actually getting to the starting line of the Transat which starts on September 19th. For all of you who want to be part of our project: you can personally ‘donate a mile’ through our website (teamsolo.nl) or get in touch to receive our sponsorship possibilities (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Report of Mini Fastnet race (June 2015)
Hereby we’ll give you a (long) report of the Mini Fastnet race that we finished Friday 19th of June.
We started last Sunday in the bay of Douarnenez in glamorous conditions. A medium breeze and lots of sunshine were the ingredients for a nice sail out of the bay. At sunset we were close to the Chenal du Four and started tacking upwind in between the rocks. With the current pushing us back we had to go as close to the shore as possible all the time to look for less current. A beautiful game that we played well and enjoyed a lot! During the night and second day there was little breeze but our speed relative to the fleet was good and we slowly climbed up the standings towards the top.
On Monday night the wind shut off completely and it let us drift around for hours waiting for the wind to get back. Halfway the night it finally came back and we were off again. We passed the south western tip of England just before sunrise and took the lead in the series class. Also a group of dolphins accompanied us for about ten minutes. Leading and seeing dolphins: happy times on board the Team Solo!!
The crossing of the Irish Sea was a close battle with our competition: all of us pushing the boats for 150 miles straight. At Fastnet we were in 3rd position and a couple miles after the rock we set the code 0 sail for reaching. With speeds of 10-14 knots we made good progress and we were really happy. On Thursday we had again a really close battle with another boat during the whole day: this is why we race! Unfortunately late in the evening we missed a wind shift and another couple boats sneaked through the inside towards the finish line. We finished Friday morning at 6 AM, just after sunrise. A nice sail into the bay left us with a really satisfied feeling about this race which was also our last race before the Mini Transat in September.
For the next two months it’s all about getting to the starting line of the Transat. Please help us by donating through our website: www.teamsolo.nl. Your name will then be on our boat crossing the ocean!
Tomorrow Dimitri will start his 1000 mile qualifying course as the last qualification for the Transat. We expect him back on shore early July!
De eerste twee races
Het is ondertussen eind april en de eerste twee races voor Team Solo zitten erop: de Lorient Bretagne Sud Mini en de Pornichet Select 6.50. De eerste was een dualhanded race die normaal gesproken 150 mijl zou zijn, maar vanwege de weerberichten werd ingekort naar zo’n 80 mijl. Deze sprintwedstrijd hebben Ewout en Dimitri op een 10e plaats in het serieklassement afgesloten. Daarna gingen voor Dimitri de voorbereidingen verder voor zijn eerste solorace. De Pornichet Select kent een parcours van 300 mijl (550km) tussen Lorient en Les Sables d’Olonne, waarbij meerdere rotseilanden voorbijgevaren en gerond moeten worden. Na een snelle en voortvarende start besloot Dimitri om het gedurende de eerste nacht rustigaan te doen om zeker te zijn dat hij de nacht ongeschonden door zou komen. Het kostte hem een aantal plaatsen in het klassement maar met de afnemende wind werd er nu weer volop richting finish gestreden. Uiteindelijk wist hij na 49,5 uur de finish te bereiken op een 19e plaats in het klassement. De eerste solorace van Team Solo is een feit!
Voor al het laatste nieuws: zie www.facebook.com/teamsolosailing