This story started over ten years ago. It is a story about sailing, about an arduous desire to cross an ocean by myself in a tiny boat (that nonteheless is very fast and seaworthy), about me and a personal challenge that stretches over a period of two years. The end result of these two years of training and competing along the Brittany coast and in the Mediterranean Sea is to become the first skipper from Romania that takes the start of the famous Mini Transat race in September 2023. And in the process it will grow into a story about freedom, adventure, respect for nature, but also about competition, courage and perseverence.
The Mini Transat is a single-handed ocean race that takes place every odd year and is the crown jewel of the Classe Mini circuit. Most of the sailing legends competing in Vendee Globe start in Classe Mini, the entry-level offshore racing class. Following their example, in 2021 I decided to launch my first Mini campaign, with the end goal to qualify for the 2023 edition of Mini Transat. In this race, 90 top qualified skippers race solo across the Atlantic ocean from France (Les Sables d’Olonne), to the Canaries Islands and then to the Caribbean Islands (Guadeloupe), spending around 30 days alone at sea and covering over 4,000 miles in a 21 ft long boat.
Even though sailing is a niche sport in Romania that attracts a few hundred participants every year, in the western world – especially in the US, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Nordics – ocean racing is a major sport followed keenly by millions of enthusiasts. It appeals to all ages and social levels. The young people are attracted by the romantic and adventurous side of sailing, while the more mature ones are attracted by tactics, strategy, and leadership. This “man in the environment” adaptation is particularly challenging in Classe Mini where all the skippers are allowed to use only a GPS, a radio and a barometer. During Mini Transat every participating boat tells a unique story and carries the hopes and dreams of thousands of people on land across the ocean. My story is to be that of an underdog, with no background, no tradition, no dedicated resources, seeking to share the wind with the legends.
I am currently the only sailor representing Romania in this elite racing class, with a complete project for 2022 and 2023. In 2021 I purchased my mini (a special Nacira 6,50 number 832, now named CIRRUS MINOR), became part of the Mini Training Center in Concarneau (CEMC, led by François Jambou, who won Mini Transat 2019), took part in my first double-handed mini races (Mini Calvados 2021, where I competed with my friend Victor Mathieu and finished in the middle even while racing the oldest boat in the competition), and setup my racing calendar for the next two years.
The real adventure starts in March 2023, so stay tuned for more news 🙂