Road to the Route du Rhum 2018

Simon Koster: looking back at a memorable achievement

Two day after his arrival in Le Marin, in a beautiful 3rd position in the Mini Transat, Simon tells us about his race, his feelings, his physical state and much more.

« It’s been an amazing journey and I am thrilled to finish on the podium of the Mini Transat. The beginning of the leg was tough: we all knew that there would be a nice shift alongside the African coats, by Morocco; but there are also many fishermen there, with no lights, fishing nets and all sorts of dangers in the water, especially at night. It was quite scary, because we could hear on VHF radio what was going on with the others… Some guys had to dive at night, or get out of fishing nets somehow, it wasn’t reassuring!

Then as I was approaching the Cape Verde Islands, the leash that holds the daggerboard up broke so the board went suddenly down and broke immediately, due to the effort. I had to take out my saw and get rid of it; it was quite a lot of work but I didn’t loose much time, and I haven’t missed it during the crossing, so it wasn’t too much of a big deal.

I knew I was second when we rounded the Cape Verde islands; at this stage I still had radio contact with the others, but I lost my BLU soon after; probably chafe on the cable inside the mast, I don’t know yet.

From then on I followed the routing plan we set, which meant sailing slightly North of the direct route. It was going well, but I was sailing in blind mode; I didn’t have a clew where my opponents were… It became more and more difficult, and nerve wracking, especially when the weather deteriorated after the middle of the crossing. Every time I was stuck under a cloud I was imagining the others going at full speed… It was getting harder and harder mentally.

Finally, when I arrived in Le Marin; I got relieved, because I had no idea if there were already ten boats in the harbor… When the photographers boat arrived alongside me, they told me there were only two boats in the harbor… I was super-happy.

I’ve had a great time since I have arrived in Le Marin. I slept a lot during the first night, but then I also wanted to be on the pontoon to welcome all the others sailors when they arrived.  When I look back at my race I have only great memories. I even packed enough food this time, so I didn’t starve! The conditions were just ideal; not too much wind, not too light either; very often 18-20 knots from behind, and big surfs! It was fabulous.

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