Ian Lipinski was the standout figure of the 2017 mini-transat. Ian not only won the mini-transat, he dominated the 2016-2017 mini season. Winning 10 races in a row. Notable wins include a win in the mini-fastnet with the boats architect David Raison as co-skipper. They smashed the race record in 3 days, 8 hours and 52 minutes. Ian also won the trans-gascogne, coming first in both legs.
Watching this video of Lipinski training for the mini-transat 2017 on Griffon 865, you can see hints as to why he would go on to win the 2017 race.
He has done the mini-transat for 6 years now and is the most experienced mini racer on the circuit. He won the series category in the 2015 race. His experience and mastery of the mini was certainly a big factor behind his win.
His boat is also exceptional. It is clearly very fast – enabling him to win the Mini en Mai in La Trinité sur Mer with a 90 Nm (10 hours) lead at the end of the 500 Nm course. The boat is a modified version of the innovative scow boat with which architect David Raison won the 2011 race. Ian says that the boat “goes fast easily, it’s versatile, performing well in nearly all conditions. It’s an exceptional boat, where you never get wet. On a mini – that is very rare. I only wear oilskins when it is raining…” The boat is “easy, quick, effortless and comfortable”.
Ian spent 2016 making sure the boat was super reliable.
But it’s clearly not just the boat in 2015 – Ian won the production boat class on an Ofcet 6.50 – leading some to speculate that the Ofcet was better than the Pogo 3 and that the Structures boat yard had fumbled with it’s new Pogo design. This year however the Pogo 3 were back – a Pogo 3 won the production class and Pogo 3 also took 2nd and 3rd place …
Unfortunately Erwan le Mene on FRA800, one of the other main race favorites in the prototype category had to retire after hitting an unidentified floating object shortly after the start of the second leg.
Jörg Riechers finished in 2nd place on GER 934 – Lilienthal. His boat was built in just 7 weeks. And launched very late into the 2017; just in time to qualify for the mini-transat. The scow design by Etienne Bertrand will undoubtebly be a boat to look at for in the future.
Simon Koster finished a solid third on 888 Eight Cube Sersa . So scow designs were on all three steps of the podium.
Arkema 3 – finished 6th overall . According Quentin Vlamynck, the very innovative design has yet to show it’s full potential. It’s extremely fast when the sea is calm – but the foils are troublesome in wavier conditions: “the Mini is too small, at the mercy of the sea and slamming into waves”
In the production class – Clarisse Cremer finished in second place – proving once again that girls can sail just as fast as boys.