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Galway’s Mini-Transat Boat Battered into Spanish Shelter by Wind, Waves & Whales

3rd October 2021
Safe for the moment - Yannick Lemonnier aboard his Mini 650 Port of Galway in Baiona, northwest Spain
Safe for the moment - Yannick Lemonnier aboard his Mini 650 Port of Galway in Baiona, northwest Spain

While the leading boats in the fleet of 90 racing the Mini Transat 2021 are now passing Madeira and well on their way to their planned stopover in the Canaries (where they may well find that volcanic activity interferes with arrangements), some craft in the main part of the fleet suffered so much from extreme weather and whale attacks off northwest Spain that they were forced to seek shelter and safety in the nearest harbours.

Among them is Yannick Lemonnier in his boat Port of Galway, who got to Baiona near Vigo after a section of the fleet pulled in there to avoid heavy weather and orca attacks. The Minis were being thrown around like dinghies by the orcas, and apparently the substantial aluminium Mini 650 Transat Support Boat was attacked by whales - they had a determined go at his rudder.

Several other boats have been towed to Baiona, while a UK vessel was towed to Vigo and a Swiss boat to Cangas. The activity of the whales is very high off Galicia right now, and the current advice is not to transit these waters until later in October.

As for the situation with the volcanic eruptions on their destination of La Palma, that is “being monitored”.

Race tracker here

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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