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Martinique’s Pogo earns Spirit of Merit at Heinken Regatta

The smallest boat to have participated in the 27th Heineken Regatta came from Martinique.  A 6.5-meter POGO 2 Mini Transat came to measure itself against these other magnificent boats. The POGO was skippered by the Martiniquais Bryan Botella, 18, who was also the youngest skipper in the regatta. The small sailboat participated in all the legs of the regatta, with a proven dynamism and courage.

At the beginning of the event, other competitors were surprised to see such a small boat participate, but little by little they met up with the POGO, or were on board, and applauded louder and louder. In some way, it became the mascot of the 27th Heineken regatta. The POGO 2 mini transat is, as its name suggests, designed to cross the Atlantic. It is comfortable offshore, but has difficulty measuring up to other boats at similar speed.

On Friday 2 March, for the Round the Island Race, Bryan and his crew threw up the 70 m2 asymmetric spinnaker at the first buoy, despite the tough wind conditions. With more than 16 knots on the speedo, it was absolutely necessary to take advantage of the windspeed to move up the ranks until Canonier, off Basse Terre. Unfortunately, this part was very short and it was necessary to accept tighter speed to get as far as Tintamarre. A good choice of route in the middle of the Anguilla Channel allowed POGO to stay in touch with the pack.

Once the Tintamarre mark was passed, Bryan and his crew were hoping to put up the 44m2 asymmetric spinnaker. Unfortunately, the wind was not enough from the North to maintain the spinnaker and he had to make do with the Genoa. Only at Oyster Pond could the spinnaker be deployed. Some boats were caught and passed on this coast, which once again was too short. It was necessary to pass the buoy off Proselytes Reef and beat towards Philipsburg.

POGO finished in a courageous 10th place in its class on Friday, finishing 8th in the windward/leeward classes on Saturday morning and 10th on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. In the end, it finished 9th in the overall rankings for Spinnaker 6. When you look at the other boats in the class, one could well ask if POGO was in the right group. But we know that the organizers had a lot of difficulty in choosing the right class for this particular sailboat.

At the prize giving, Bryan and POGO were awarded the ‘Spirit of Merit’ award for the youngest skipper and smallest boat. POGO and crew sailed under the colors of the ‘Maritime School of the West Indies’ whom the crew thanks for its support. A big thanks also to ‘Reves de Voile’ (www.revesdevoile.com) who allowed Bryan and his crew use of POGO.    

POGO 2 in numbers:
Length: 6.50 m
Beam: 3 m
Displacement: 975 kg
Main sail: 25 m²
Genoa: 18 m²
Spinnaker: 70 m²
Architect: Groupe Finot

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Photo: Gertrude Fotography

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