The Microtransat Challenge


2010 Transatlantic Race

The 2010 Microtransat Challenge was the first transatlantic race and started from Valentia, Ireland between September 5th and 12th 2010. Two teams entered, Aberystwyth University and ENSIETA. The Aberystwyth boat Pinta was based on a Topper Taz sailing dinghy. The ENSIETA boat, Breizh Spirit was custom built but based on an Open 60 hull.

The Aberystwyth team started on the afternoon of September 11th 2010 from approximately 4 nautical miles North West of Knightstown, Valentia, Ireland. The boat was to sail towards a waypoint 30km offshore before heading South West towards a point between Madiera and the Azores and then continue south west until 20 degrees north. At this point it was planned to turn West and head for the finish line at 14.27 degrees North, 60 degrees West. A North Westerly wind prevented the boat from sailing directly towards its first waypoint and it began on a South Westerly course narrowly missing land only 6 hours after the start. Despite several attempts to tack towards the first waypoint the boat failed to reach the waypoint and turned south in the early morning of the 13th. It then proceeded to sail south for a further 12 hours. At this point the main computer is believed to have failed. The boat then turned around and sailed North parallel to the Irish coast for another 14 days before messages from an independent tracking unit failed. A map of Pinta's progress can be found at http://www.microtransat.org/tracking-2010.php.

The team from ENSIETA unfortunately withdrew from the competition and were unable to launch.

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