The time has come for Nikki Curwen to set sail at the Mini en Mai!
The Mini en Mai is only on it’s second edition, but despite being a new race to the Mini calendar it is proving very popular with just under 60 people entered – all racing solo. The race is 500 miles long, which follows one of two courses depending on the wind, and is likely to take around 4 to 5 days to complete.
Both courses start and finish in La Trinite, France. The first is a coastal route, going up through the Raz de Sein, a very tidal and narrow passage, down, through and under the bridge across to Ile de Rhe, near La Rochelle then returning to La Trinite.
The second course is more offshore, heading across the Bay of Biscay down to the Spanish coast, rounding a mark and heading back again.
Fresh from the Pornichet Select, we asked Nikki what’s she’s been doing to prepare for the Mini en Mai;
The first two races of the season have been quite manic in preparation getting everything together. There has been a bit of a gap this time, which has given me time to add a few new upgrades to the boat, including a new autopilot.
Sailing solo, the autopilot is the most vital bit of kit on board, while “George” (as I call him) is steering I can sleep/eat/adjust the sails while the boat continues to sail. My current pilot is connected on deck, I have to attach it to the tiller, and then before/after/during press the button to activate the system. My new pilot will be connected all the time with a clutch, which is released when it’s not in use. This means I can just press a button to activate it, and not worry about trying to line it up and attach it at the same time.
As one of the many solo races Nikki will be competing in this year, we had to ask…what items will you be taking that you can’t live without?
I have no absolute musts I have to take, although music is a key necessity for me when sailing by myself. There’s always a song to keep you motivated and high-spirited.
King Louis ( my new mascot ) is one thing which hasn’t left the boat since I’ve become Go Aped! King Louis is a cuddly toy from the Jungle Book, with his Velcro hands he hangs around the boat to keep me company.
Keep an eye on Nikki’s progress at the Mini en Mai here, each competitior will be tracked as they take on the challenging courses. Alternatively, if you fancy a go at competing in the Mini en Mai why not compete using the Virtual Regatta game where you can create your own boat and race Nikki around the course!