Jay Thompson is preparing to sail from New York to Lizard Point in his Mini 6.50 to establish a new small boat Atlantic crossing record

No one has ever sailed a Mini 6.50 from Ambrose Light, New York to Lizard Point off Cornwall, but that is exactly what solo sailor Jay Thompson is hoping to do when he starts his small boat Atlantic crossing record attempt shortly.

Thompson’s motivation is not just the record itself, but to prove that the Mini 6.50 has potential beyond the French-dominated Mini Transat, and that these seaworthy boats can be taken further afield.

He will be sailing across the North Atlantic on his Guillaume Verdier-designed foiling 21ft Mini 6.50, Speedy Gonzales, which he built himself in a hanger in France.

A boat with red and black sails heading out into the Atlantic for a small boat Atlantic crossing attempt

Jay Thompson plans to cross the Atlantic west to east in his 21ft Speedy Gonzales. Credit: Pierre Bouras

It has a T-rudder system which will automatically flip the rudder up if it hits something in the water.

Thompson, who has worked as a préparateur, helping Vendée Globe skippers to prepare their IMOCA 60s, has previously raced Speedy Gonzales in the 2021 Mini Transat, finishing 9th overall.

Before that, the professional sailor raced 420s and Lasers, and took part in the Marstrom 32 circuit, TP52s and F16 World Championship.

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He has spent the last six years living in France with his family, having sailed around the world for a decade living aboard their Germán Frers one-tonne 12m prototype, Messenger.

Commenting on the upcoming record, Thompson said: “Sailing has been an integral part of my life, and this transatlantic voyage is a challenge I have always wanted to achieve. It’s a privilege to be the first to set this record in a Mini 6.50.”

He is expected to start his small boat Atlantic crossing record attempt later this week, weather dependent.

A man sailing a small boat with foils

Jay Thompson, who learned to sail aged 16 in California, has previously sailed his Mini 6.50 to 9th place overall in the 2021 Mini Transat. Credit: Alexis Courtcoux/Mini Transat Euro Chef 2021

The World Sailing Speed Record Council will be overseeing and validating any record Thompson achieves.

A Mini 6.50 has previously crossed the Atlantic from the Cape Verdes to the Caribbean, and hundreds have crossed, east to west during the biennial Mini Transat Race, but no sailor has ever successfully sailed the boat west to east across the Atlantic.

Thompson, 38, said the official transatlantic route from New York to Lizard Point presented “numerous challenges, including unpredictable weather patterns, strong currents, and big seas, making it a true test of skill and endurance for any sailor.”

A boat heading offshore for the start of a small boat Atlantic crossing record

Speedy Gonzales was designed by Guillaume Verdier, who was behind the development of foils for Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC72 for the 2013 America’s Cup. Credit: MurielVDB

For power, Speedy Gonzales is fitted with solar panels and a Efoy methanol fuel cell. Thompson will also have a computer onboard to download weather information and an Iridium GO!

His record attempt can be followed at Coconut Sails Team: http://coconuts.is/

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