Paris (AFP)

"Lorenzo is dying, we can leave": after 13 days of stand-by due to hurricane Lorenzo, 87 skippers could finally leave Saturday La Rochelle for the fame Mini-Transat, transatlantic race for solitaires who will be completely cut off from the ground for three weeks.

The Mini-Transat, created in 1977 and on which big names of the offshore race made their debut, has experienced many adventures throughout its history, as in 2013 with three weeks of postponement. This year, it is a sequence of several important weather phenomena that disrupted the plan of departure. The fleet was originally scheduled to launch on 22 September.

"First of all, these are two very active fronts that we did not see coming to that point, then the weather got worse, and then, third, our friend Lorenzo put us in the face of a problem that has never been known before. : if he respected his trajectory, it was ok but if he made a detour, that was the disaster, "told AFP technical director of the race, Jean Saucet, who preferred to wait patiently the fleet.

"It's a seafaring principle, we do not go to sea when we know that the conditions are bad, we are responsible if we send them where there are problems, and we do not want people at all. Helico risk their lives to fetch them.There are three rescuers at sea who died in Sables-d'Olonne because they went looking for someone out in too violent conditions, "continues Jean Saucet.

On June 7, three rescuers of the National Society of Sea Rescue perished after the capsizing of their shuttle, released in storm Miguel to rescue a fishing boat.

It is therefore in good weather that the 87 skippers pros and amateurs - including 8 women - left Saturday aboard their small boat of 6.50 m to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), for a first stage of 1350 nautical miles (2500 km), which looks very fast. The first are expected next Saturday.

The second leg will leave on November 2 of the Canaries to join Le Marin (Martinique).

© 2019 AFP