Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail non-stop solo around the world and sailing journalist, Tracy Clarke, talked live to Pip Hare on BBC Radio SolentH2OShow:Live from Cowes on July 15, 2011.
This transcript is produced by kind permission of BBC Radio Solent and all copyrights and other rights are hereby acknowledged.
Robin: Lets now look ahead to the mini transat which starts in September. Pip Hare has qualified for the race and is with us in Cowes this evening.
Robin: Good evening Pip.
Pip: Good evening.
Robin: What is the mini transat?
Pip: The mini transat is a single handed trans-atlantic race. It starts at La Rochelle, France has a stop over in Madeira and finishes at Salvador, Brazil, and is raced in 21 ft boats.
Robin: 21 feet…. so you are all in the same boats?
Pip: Yes, very similar boats. There are two classes. There is a one design class which is the series class, that is what I am racing, and a prototype class where anything goes within a certain rule.
Robin: Just so they can experiment?
Robin: …. which is a nice idea.
Robin: How long will this take you?
Pip: I am hoping, all up, it is going to be be about 28 days but we do have a stop over in Maderia of about 10 days in the middle where we get to rebuild our boats after Biscay.
(Laughter!! …. lots of!)
Robin: That’s a very pessimistic approach!
(lots more laughter!!)
Pip: Well it’s the Biscay, isn’t it!
Robin: How many are you up against?
Pip: There is a fleet of 84. It is a big race. It is a well renowned race and out of those 84 I think there are 19 different nationalities and only 2 british entrants.
Robin: Now… well I am glad you are there representing us, but tell me something …. you are out there in the Bay of Biscay,very close together and people decide they want to sleep and ……. we have 84 boats cross tacking!
Pip: Yes, it really is quite an experience. In my first big race with the mini fleet we had 72 boats and that was a 300 mile race coastal race in France and the briefing we had before the start for all the new comers was that we must get on the radio and tell the boats next to us if we are going to sleep because two boats near to each other must not sleep at the same time… it is all very very close.
Robin: How much of this racing have you done before?
Pip: I did an OSTAR in 2009 which was my first single handed racing.
Robin: In a similar boat?
Pip: No, in a very very different boat. It was in an old Oyster Lightwave 395, my much beloved boat called The Shed and then I raced double-handed around Britain and Ireland in 2010. But for me the next step was to go smaller rather than bigger.
Tracy: Let me ask you which you prefer. Do you like sailing on your own or are you happier with people?
Pip: That is a really good question I have actually been competing in the IRC champinships today with a fantastic crew all really good friends, I have had a great day but…. I think I probably do prefer being on my own. I really like to push myself and I probably do not like pushing others as hard as I would push myself so I think overall I prefer being on my own.
Tracy: Do you talk to yourself?
Pip: I do. When I have a problem I need to talk it through and I get quite cross with myself and I will tell myself what I should be doing or where I should be going.
Robin: When did you know you were going to do this because don’t they limit the numbers?
Pip: They do, yes, and I actually had a real struggle to get into the race because a normal mini campaign is at least 2 years. I got my boat less than a year ago and decided I wanted to do the race. To qualify you have to do 1000 mile passage on your own on a designated course and then a thousand miles of racing and I did my qualifier in the med in February which was very very cold and I did the first 3 races of the season which involved towing the boat by road all over Europe and I was absolutely shattered but so many people helped me and I finally qualified at the beginning of May.
Robin: Well…Good luck with the race, We are on the air until the end of September so hopefully we will be able to report on how well you have done!
Robin: Go well, go fast and go safe!
Tracy: Very good luck.
Pip: Thank you!
(This transcript is produced by kind permission of BBC Radio Solent and all copyrights and other rights are hereby acknowledged)