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  #1  
Old 03-03-2010
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23ft Solo Ocean racers (Minis)

23ft Solo Ocean racers (Minis)

This is one of the sailing series that I enjoy most. I really love the epic battles these young guns fight among them on their pocket rockets.


I will post this thread because I want to share the pleasure. This is one of the most exciting ocean sailing race series, with sailors from a lot of different nationalities and with the biggest number of sailing boats participating (I mean, on a transat).

This is a thread about Solo Ocean Racing and about amazing boats, 6.5m ocean racers (sometimes they race also in duo).
These boats are the initiation boats for almost all solo racers. They are fast, there are seaworthy and they are affordable.

There are two classes, Prototypes and serial Boats. The prototypes have it all, including canting keels (not power assisted), but the series are so competitive that it has happened a serial boat (and a fantastic sailor) beat all the “Protos”.

The races include some Transats and some smaller ocean races. It is not unusual to have more than 80 racing boats on these races, and sailors from all nationalities, including Americans.

Great boats in huge numbers and fantastic highly competitive races with a lot of young and fearless sailors….What do you want more?

Story of this race series:

“Created by Englishman Bob Salmon in 1977, the Mini Transat originally started from Penzance (Cornwall) and finished in Antigua after a stopover in Tenerife (Canary Islands). It gave birth to one of the most innovative and active class of ocean racers, and quickly became a major stepping-stone for aspiring professional skippers. Salmon’s idea was to go back to ocean racing’s “Corinthian” roots, the financial excesses of the OSTAR (Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race) prevented most amateurs from entering never mind standing a chance of ending up on the podium. Taking a radical approach, Salmon decided to limit the boat length to 6.50 meters (21.3ft), which ensured that budgets would remain reasonable and, at the same time, gave the newborn category the ‘insane’ factor it is still famous for. If, on today’s ocean racing scene, a class still embodies the original spirit of pioneering adventures, it has to be the Mini Transat!

Over its 32 years of existence, the Mini Class has seen the birth of more than 700 boats, some of which featured groundbreaking solutions that later made their way to bigger racers. Michel Desjoyeaux’s prototype, notably, was the first ocean racer to feature a canting keel, and that soon became the norm for round-the-world IMOCA 60 footers. All the greatest names in offshore racing competed in the Mini Class before going on to win major TransAtlantic races or capture victories around the globe, and if the Mini has always been dominated by the French, the most prominent British racers have taken part with convincing results: Ellen MacArthur, Brian Thompson, Sam Davies - skipper of the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 for the Transat Jacques Vabre - but also Phil Sharp or Artemis Ocean Racing’s Nick Bubb, currently competing on the Artemis Figaro in the Tour de Bretagne, to name just a few”.



Sail-World.com : Artemis Ocean Racing ‘young gun’ Mini Transat starter

Mini Transat 6.50 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Boats:

YouTube - Downwind in 25 kts
YouTube - Peter Laureyssens full speed in his proto mini 6.5 (Ecover)
YouTube - Transat 650 - portrait d'Alex Pella
YouTube - David Krizek - ATLANTIK FT CZE 516
YouTube - Pure fun - Adria4ocean on Minitransat 2007
Classe Mini


and this is the next race:

Les Sables - Les Açores - Les Sables
Les Sables - Les Açores - Les Sables


Five months to go and there are already 39 inscriptions, from 7 different nations.

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 03-06-2010 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Stupid smiles
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2010
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Bonjour Paulo-
We were in Stonington CT last summer and saw one of these hauled at the yard there. (The one that the Johnstones were involved with designing & building, and which one of their cousins sailed.) Really cool systems and setup, to enable FAST singlehanded sailing 24/7. It would be fun to see more of these doing coastwise racing as well.
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Old 03-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Bonjour Paulo-
... It would be fun to see more of these doing coastwise racing as well.
Hello Paulk,

I think you wanted to say "Bom dia"

They participate in some races in the USA:

2010-Mini Friendly Races

As you can see they have a forum.

There is even one boat made in the US.

Buying an M65

Probably you will see more in the future because the Mini class is becoming more and more international and the French are starting to be beaten.

For instance,on the last races, the production boat class, has been dominated by Francisco Lobato, a Portuguese young sailor. In the last "Les Sables-Les Açores", racing with a production boat, he has beaten everybody, including all the protos that have canting keels and are made of exotic materials (carbon). He has also won, on production boats, the last big transat (from France to Brasil) and on the first leg of that race (France -Madeira) he has done it again: With the exception of one, he has beaten again all the protos, this time racing with really bad weather (winds over 40K). Average speed: Over 10K .

I believe that there are also some Americans racing on the international series as well as sailors from all around the world. The number of racing sailors on the minis increases every year. Great competitive ocean racing on tiny but fast boats.

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 03-06-2010 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010
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Old 03-07-2010
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Paulo,

They sure look like fun! Almost like something I could drive! Do you have any experience sailing one? Finding a location to sail one without a high risk of picking up something with the keel or one of the rudders would be tough and the speed of the encounter would sure make it interesting.

Thanks for sharing.

Down
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Old 03-07-2010
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There area a couple in Puget Sound, one went somewhere recently to race in one of the longer races. They do get up and go. But not super fast. But still look to be a lot of fun. The couple of them here were dry sailed out of ShilSHoal which helps for racing here to a degree. The big issue is trying to race PHRF, which is not really nice to this style of boat. Rated about 20-30 secs a mile too fast for buoy racing. On the open ocean, the initial rating was probably correct.

Ive liked the concept since I first saw these back int he early 80's.

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Old 03-07-2010
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Thanks paulo for sharing this and bringing up these boats and races. I had become so involved in cruising and other aspects of sailing and boating that I had totlly forgotten about this class, basically only focusing on the more widely popoplar and known races like the Vende, around alone, etc. Way back when I was fairly new to sailing I started to follow these races and recal that Steve Callahan, the author of Adrift, was enetred in the mini transat which I believe started in England somewhere and was to end in Antigua. I believe he was somewhere between the Canary islands and Cape Verde islands , when he lost his self built racing sailboat "Napoleon Solo" setting off his historic , and epic feat of survival while adrift in a liferaft for 76 days , if I remember correctly. I will defeinately be paying closer attention to these boats and the races now that you have brought them back to my attention. regards, Rick
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Old 03-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downeast450 View Post
Paulo,
They sure look like fun! Almost like something I could drive! Do you have any experience sailing one? …
Down
Down,
I would like to try one, but no, I haven’t.

But I am looking for a new boat and, as almost all Europeans that like fast, small crew (or solo) oceangoing sailboats, I have my eyes on the new breed of fast cruising boats that are arriving at the market. They are not only arriving, they are selling .

These boats, between 32ft and 60ft, have incorporated many things that have allowed the Minis, the 40class and the Open 60 to be safe, fast, and forgiving boats, that can be handled by a single sailor. Of course, the cruising boats are less powerful, more easily driven, but are fast upwind and can go downwind without second thoughts or difficulty, well over 10k.

These boats are very light (for a cruising boat), hi-tech, with variable draft, some with water-ballast and with a very light but functional interior.
I want to try one of these…and they are certainly a desirable option for my next boat… If I can convince my wife of their beauty and if I can find the money for one (they are inevitably expensive).

I will soon share more information about these boats on this thread:

Interesting Sailboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
…The big issue is trying to race PHRF, which is not really nice to this style of boat. Rated about 20-30 secs a mile too fast for buoy racing. On the open ocean, the initial rating was probably correct.
Ive liked the concept since I first saw these back int he early 80's.
marty
Marty,
You are right, neither of these ocean racers (Minis, 9mclass, 40class, Open60) are good at any form of rating racing ( the ratings are too bad and anyway with any rating system it is not pure performance that matters).
This is also a new racing concept (well, it was new some years back) the basic concept that among the boats with the same size, the first to arrive is the winner.

Of course, if you try to ocean-race any other type of 23ft monohull against a Mini, you will be beaten and by a large margin. After all, that is a very Open class and that hull shape has evolved trough decades of racing, to the best compromise between an easily driven hull, stability, sailing carrying power and seaworthiness. If other hull shapes were as suitable to pure ocean sailing performance you would see them among the 80 participants of a Transat.

By the way, this is not only a very interesting class in what regards racing but it is also a very interesting class in what regards Boat Designers. Almost all of the best European designers have begun designing Minis and some of them, designing, building and racing them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightsailor View Post
Thanks paulo for sharing this and bringing up these boats and races. I had become so involved in cruising and other aspects of sailing and boating that I had totlly forgotten about this class, basically only focusing on the more widely popoplar and known races like the Vende, around alone, etc. Way back when I was fairly new to sailing I started to follow these races and recal that Steve Callahan, the author of Adrift, was enetred in the mini transat which I believe started in England somewhere and was to end in Antigua. I believe he was somewhere between the Canary islands and Cape Verde islands , when he lost his self built racing sailboat "Napoleon Solo" setting off his historic , and epic feat of survival while adrift in a liferaft for 76 days , if I remember correctly. I will defeinately be paying closer attention to these boats and the races now that you have brought them back to my attention. regards, Rick
Rick,
Thanks for enjoying. The pleasure is mine. I love Ocean racing and it is much more agreeable to follow the races sharing them with sailors that love them as much as I do.
Yes, I remember those first races. To be true, at the time I thought that they were crazy. And probably they were . It was not just race but a big and dangerous adventure. All kind of sailors were in, including a lot of mad ones, that had not a clue about ocean racing, or even bluewater sailing. The accidents were more than many…and many serious sailors gave it a wide berth.

Some decades later it is a completely different story:

A long evolution has transformed the Minis into seaworthy boats that have to comply with strict and well proven safety rules. New sailors, before having their inscription accepted for a major race have to race very demanding ocean racing series to prove that they are up to the job.

The result:

On the last Transat (France-Brasil), from 85 boats only 7 boats retired from the race. All made it to port by their own means. And these guys were not cruising, they have endured winds over 40k and several boats made better than 270 miles on 24h (better than an average of 11k). They have stressed the boats to the limit.

That’s an amazing low percentage of retired boats and a true demonstration of the incredible seaworthiness of these boats, taking into account their size.

From the seven, several retired by electrical problems and autopilot failure, some with broken rudders (they have two), only one had problems with the canting keel (after colliding with a submerged obstacle), one got stuck in a sand bank 60 miles from the finish line and the most funny story: they had to send two airplanes and a Brasilian navy vessel to catch a guy that passed at large of the Brasilian coast, and was heading to the South Pole. He had a “problem” with the GPS .

One of the guys, after the big party, is going to sail the boat home, as soon as possible, to Saint Martin on the Caribbean. That’s for sure a sailor that doesn’t mind to sail solo .

Headlines - La Charente-Maritime / Bahia - Transat 6.50

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 03-08-2010 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 03-08-2010
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Paulo, I see what you mean about the evolution of these boats and of the race itself. I watched the videos links you included and quite a few more other videos and I can tell you that I am suitably impressed with the speed and desighn of these boats. It is nice to hear of the current safety record too. If i recal the first one only had a 600 mile solo sail to qualify and there were at least one death and several other serious accidents in that race. I will be looking forward to following the upcoming race. Rick
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Old 05-16-2010
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