Nikki Curwen Conquers the Mini Transat
It’s officially over, the 2015 Mini Transat has come to an end, and with it the accolade of being the first woman on complete the gruelling 4,000 mile solo race across the Atlantic.
If you’ve missed our coverage of Nikki competing in the prestigious Mini Transat, where have you been? We’ve learned how to stay mentally prepared for solo sailing, been given a beginners guide to sailing, and even put our Managing Director, Jerome Mayhew, through his paces. As a previous Go Ape instructor, we’re proud of Nikki for continuing to live life adventurously, and thrilled to have had the opportunity to sponsor her journey.
Nikki has been working towards the Mini Transat for the past three years – in order to qualify every skipper needs to complete 1,000 miles of official mini races as well as a 1,000 mile non-stop passage. Only once submitted and assessed by the Classe Mini can an individual enter the race. Having narrowly missed out on the previous Mini Transat, Nikki’s unfaltering determination earned her a place in the 2015 race having eyed up different boats, finding out costs and working out logistics, all before even meeting the racing requirements. Willing to do whatever it took, Nikki worked relentlessly towards raising the necessary funds, including living with parents and friends, and working in bars and restaurants to keep her head above the ground.
Salvation came at the beginning of 2014 when Nikki secured the purchase of Mini 741, a competitive reliable proto while reasonably priced. With a two year loan to help fund the remainder of the boat Nikki was all set and the 2015 dream came alive!
Speaking before the race, Nikki said;
Everyone kept asking if I was nervous, stressed, anxious, and I can honestly say it never hit me, not really. I thought that as I got in the marina it would but as the days got closer to the start I just got more and more excited, an amazing feeling.
With the weather looking perfect on the Start Day, a good omen came as Nikki’s chosen song blared over the sound system. Surrounded by support crews, family, friends of all the skippers, spectator boats, the French Navy, press and helicopters, the bay was buzzing with excitement and the atmosphere was incredible.
In her arrival interview with Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe, on speaking about her journey Nikki said “Even in the worst moments, I had fun.”, going on to say;
I think I’ve never talked so much to myself. But I was alone on board. I do not know how to describe it, I just had to conform to my routine. It was unbelievable I have never had low morale, even when I broke my spinnaker. Then I found myself in the driver down for 200 miles.
So, what did Nikki think of her performance?
For me, the most important was to reach the goal. On this side, mission accomplished. It is the culmination of three years of work. I will remember everything, I’m really makes me happy. I will not forget all those sunsets.