Abilyn Racing Introduces the Ocean Racer Series

As the Abilyn Racing program develops, our training will become multi-faceted to include both on- and off-the-water training.  But just as we cannot achieve our goals without the support of our Partners and others who are rooting for us, we will not be able to achieve our goals unless we learn from those within our sport with more offshore miles under their belt than we have. That is why we have reached out to some of our sport's top ocean sailors for guidance--sailors who are, for the most part, amazingly accessible, and more than willing to share their experiences.

But rather than keep the information and tips we receive to ourselves, our plan is to share what we've learned with our fellow sailors in hopes of inspiring others to take their ambitions to the next level.

So we are excited to introduce the first post in the Abilyn Racing Ocean Racer Series, a blog series reporting on the offshore sailing tips we have received from some of the world's most accomplished sailors.

Given that we race a Mini Transat boat, it seems only fitting that our first set of tips should come from a Mini sailor.  So we reached out to Benoit Marie, the winner of the 2013 Mini Transat.

Prior to training for (and winning) the 2013 Mini Transat, Benoit, by virtue of his engineering degree, worked on the construction of the JP54, the fast "cruiser" designed by the reknowned IMOCA 60 racer, Jean-Pierre Dick.

Benoit was kind enough to share of his "rules" for effective solo ocean racing, and let us know that this plans for the future include something "[b]etter than" the Vendee Globe (that's all we know).

Benoit Marie Profile

  • Nationality - French
  • Website - www.benoitmarie.com  
  • Disciplines - Mini 6.50 solo ocean racing
  • Notable Results
    • Winner, 2013 Mini Transat
    • 3rd, 2013 Pornichet Select 650
    • 5th, 2012 Sables Les Azores

Benoit Marie's "Rules" For Effective Solo Ocean Racing

  1. The shortest route wins 90% of the time.  Never forget that.
  2. When in doubt, stick to the direct route.
  3. Keep it simple and work on your average speed, not top speed.  It's useless to be the fastest over five hours if then you sleep for two days.  Go fast, but not too fast!!
  4. If you seriously WANT the race, you will get it.  By "WANT", I mean with all your passion and 100% of your mind and body devoted to your goal.
  5. Nothing is over 'til it's over.  Really, nothing!
  6. The reliability of your boat is of paramount importance.  If you break something and you need one hour to fix it, you might lose the race.  Then apply rule no. 5.
  7. But, you WILL break your boat; it is a normal part of the race.  NEVER wait to fix it.  And then apply rule no. 5.
  8. As soon as you think the boat can go fast without you, GO TO BED (but never more than 20 minutes, unless you are crossing an ocean).
  9. PREPARE YOUR RACE.  Do all the work before.  On the water you'll be tired, your brain will not work effectively, and you will consistently make decisions and judgements as would a 5-year-old if they were sailing your boat.  
  10. Maintain a steady moral.  Never be too happy or too low.  By maintaining an average moral, you will be way more efficient and clear-headed.


Follow Benoit Marie and his next adventure at www.benoitmarie.com.

The Abilyn Racing Ocean Racer Series collects tips and experiences from some of the world's most accomplished ocean racers.  Our goal is to improve our own sailing, as well as to show other sailors--both in the United States and elsewhere--that if you have strong ambitions to race offshore, there is a network out there of knowledge and guidance.  Just ask!