Luke Berry
By George Stewart
Luke Berry

The 2015 Mini Transat sets off today for the next leg of its journey, with the second instalment of this 4,020 mile crossing getting under way on the 30th of October, and Cru is going along for the ride…

Une course, un ocean à traverser, une aventure...

The race is a truly incredible feat of skill, endurance and passion, requiring perseverance through the most trying conditions. Considering the unpredictability of the weather at sea, the sheer distance in miles and the complete solitude of the journey, there is no doubt that this crossing is not for the faint of heart. Adding to the inhuman conditions is the size of the boats.

Though the size of the boats would naturally be limited to what is manageable by a single hand, the meagre 6 and a half metres of length is far short of what would be considered sufficient for a trans-Atlantic crossing. Nonetheless, the boats are designed for incredible speed and can reach up to 25 knots with relative ease, but still 4,020 miles is a long way for such a small boat.

This year, Cru is very excited to be sponsoring a feisty boat by the name of Wild Side! under the sole command of British sailor, Luke Berry.

Our skipper, Luke is a British-born, Breton-reared sailor who has spent much of his life on the water. A former semi-professional wind-surfer, he has been sailing since he was 9 years-old and a career as a Naval Architect solidified his trajectory into a life on the water. Known personally by Cru’s chairman, Simon Farr (and avid seafarer himself) for over 10 years, we knew that he was precisely the kind of person to carry the Cru name (and logo on the boom and gunwale) across the globe.

All the more so because he has demonstrated himself with a resounding success in the first leg, establishing his positioning at fourth place as the boats hauled into their first anchorage at Marina Lanzarote after 7 days at sea from their launch at Douarnenez in Brittany. In a week at sea, Luke had to survive on infrequent 20 minute cat naps to maintain stamina. This extreme management of sleep is yet another insanely demanding element of this ultra-rigorous race. Naturally he would have been happy to arrive into harbour at Lazarotte.

But now he turns his gaze due west and to the lion’s share of the journey. 2,770 nautical miles of Open Ocean lie between Lanzarote and the final calling point at Pointe-a-Pitre on the French Antillean island of Guadeloupe. We will be updating you on his progress as he continues his herculean efforts along the rest of the course.

Luke has no GPS navigation system or two-way radio aboard his boat and the lone sailor must make his way with physical navigation charts and the light of the stars. There are no prizes, no medals and no giant cheque presented alongside flowers at the end; just pride and the sense of achievement. It truly is a return to sailing as it was meant to be.