·The sailor claims to have “learned a lot” in the Mini Transat, but considers that now “he needs a more evolved boat” to be able to opt for victory
Carlos Manera has fulfilled his dream of crossing the Atlantic alone. His first participation in the Mini Transat regatta has been a resounding success. On board the mini Varador 2000, Manera has covered the 4,050 miles of the test (divided into two stages) in 28 days, 13 hours, 2 minutes and 29 seconds. After his arrival on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Manera has been forceful: “the boat has sailed perfect, it has given very few problems, it has held up very well and I have enjoyed it a lot, but now I need a winning boat”.
The mini that Carlos Manera has used in this edition of the Mini Transat is a Nacira built in 2010. A boat very little evolved compared to the models that are currently manufactured, with a round bow. Despite this handicap, Manera has outperformed many theoretically superior minis. “If it hadn’t been such an atypical and rugged Mini Transat, I would still have had a better result”, says the young athlete. Manera and many other sailors have dragged until the end of the test the “erroneous” decision of the organization not to fully compensate all the hours that a good part of the fleet was sheltered in Galicia because of a strong storm. “It is unheard-of -Manera comments- that you spend 36 hours moored in port and then the organization only rewards you for 24 hours”. This drag, added to the strategy error made during the second stage (he opted for the intermediate north route waiting for the arrival of the trade winds while others sailed further south to find them earlier) has totally conditioned the final classification.
For Manera, the first stage between Les Sables d’Olonne and Santa Cruz de La Palma, was “much more technical, disputed and funny”. At this stage “you could measure yourself against other sailors, compare yourself with your rivals, fight to improve your position”. In the second stage between La Palma and Guadalupe, on the other hand, “the fight has been against oneself”. Due to a low pressure meteorological situation that broke the traditional trade winds of this time, “navigation has been very difficult, but at the same time routine and anodyne, you could not compare yourself with anyone, you were fighting against yourself, against loneliness, routines, habits”. This situation has brought out in many moments “contradictory feelings: fear of not finishing, fear of breaking up, but towards the end, maximum motivation, energy and making the most of the wind”.
Carlos Manera has passed his first solo Atlantic event with a remarkable high, not only because of the result and the feat of finishing the event the first time, but also because of his good physical and mental preparation. “There are regattas -he says- much more physically demanding than the Mini Transat, which is hard but is well tolerated if you have a good resistance that gives the physical preparation. On the mental level, on the other hand, it is terrible, because it is very hard to maintain balance during so many hours of navigation, alone in the middle of the ocean. Sometimes -he adds- negative thoughts assail you and it is difficult to regain your positive spirit”. Despite everything, “I have learned a lot in every way, and it is better to have done it now than in two years. Now, I repeat, I need a modern, evolved boat, where I can apply everything I have learned in this Mini Transat and be able to opt for victory”.
Varador 2000 values the performance of Manera very positively
Carlos Manera’s performance in the Mini Transat 2021 is also highly valued by Varador 2000, his main sponsor. Xiqui Mas, the company’s chief executive, believes that Manera “has more than fulfilled the expectations we place on it”, not only because of the final result and the fact that it finished such a demanding test, “but because of its commitment, his competitiveness, his perseverance, his effort and his sportsmanship”.
According to Mas, Carlos Manera is “a young and mature person at the same time”. An athlete who embodies values “that in Varador 2000 we value enormously, that is why we are convinced that we have not made the wrong person or class”. In Mas’s opinion, the mini class is special. “You just have to see how the miners fight and compete with each other in the water and how they help each other and work as a team when they are on land, it’s incredible”.
Varador 2000, has raised its participation in the Mini Transat regatta as a long-distance sports project, whose starting point has been the 2021 edition and the arrival or consolidation point in the 2023 edition. “The challenge is very ambitious, but the trust placed in Carlos Manera makes us look to the future with optimism”, says Mas.