Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

The Mini Transat factor in technical innovation

by Solene Rennuit on 26 Sep 2013
Mini Transat Christoph Breschi http://breschi-photo-video.com/
Since the early editions, the Mini Transat has been propagating new ideas, technology and evolutions in hull design. Condensing into 6.50m anything that might make a boat go faster has led to many new ideas, some of which were revealed as great, while others were perfect failures. But today, the trend is to a maturing wisdom.

From the inception of the event in 1977, the Mini Transat sparked initiatives from the architects and explored new paths with more or less success. In listing the successes we could evoke the winning prototype in 1979 that inaugurated the planing hulls and ballast, the carbon mast of Yves Parlier in 1985, the canting keel of Michel Desjoyeaux in 1991 or even the prototype of Sebastien Magnen with its hugely powerful forward hull section, and Karen Liquid, double winner of the event in 1997 and 1999. Obviously, we cannot exclude from this list David Raison’s Magnum whose shape, inherited from the Scows of the east coast of the United States, demonstrated its superiority in the 2011 edition.

The difficulty is how to innovate at the right time. Too early and you risk developing a concept that is not complete enough, too late and you let the competition take over. We have seen a few boats and 'revolutionaries' with careers of exemplary brevity, such as a prototype called 'Babouche' which was like a sharpened knife on which the skipper could not even stand on the deck. Fortunately, it capsized in the Bay of Concarneau before the start of the 1987 Mini Transat. For others, the development of an innovative concept is a matter of time and belief. When David Raison launched his Magnum, the circle of sceptics was wide. 'This is a boat that required a long development. First, because some innovative methods such as the canting keel when more or less down, require a mastery of the process for operation. But also because the hull required another approach to sailing. It does not use the same angles upwind or sailing downwind ...'

It’s the same story for Samuel Manuard, architect of several winning prototypes: 'Today, we see that the sailors must spend more and more time on the water. The balance between the single hander and his boat is the first priority. Sometimes it is better to have a slightly more simple machine that we can use effectively than a gas plant that we cannot master. Some projects are more innovative than others. When David Raison drew his Magnum, it made a big leap, but the trend had been there for several years for boats to be more powerful forward.'

This is the same radical philosophy applied by Dominique Pedron of Isotop Composites when he decided to build a Mini with DSS, a retractable horizontal foil, which transfers from side to side and supposedly compensates for the efficiency of a canting keel through dynamic support downwind wind. Jean Saucet, project collaborator draws his first conclusions: 'We saw that the boat was very fast upwind in light air, but there was a lack of support in the breeze. For the foil to be effective it requires speed and it is on this transition that we must work.' Is the DSS the way forward in Minis? In any case, this is a project to follow.

Nevertheless, in the current economic climate, the prototypes are not legion. For this 2013 edition one new prototype has been created and even the most recognised architects have not recorded a single order for more than two years. The economic crisis is there and even if the entrants do not want to miss the adventure, some are reluctant to embark on a new project. 'The general situation is not changing, for sure. Paradoxically, the change of course made ??the sailors even more uncertain. For many it’s a case of: wait and see which boats worked in 2013 before making decisions for 2015.' says David Reason.

'The concern about financial risk taking is an obvious obstacle to creativity. Today, the sailors do not want to rush in to any proposal that is too different,' said Samuel Manuard. 'So we worked on detail improvements: increasing the possibility of seeking a longitudinal mast, working on systems to adjust the bowsprit in height, installing an appendix on the transom to change the water streams and win stability downwind, remove ballast in anticipation of a close downwind leg ... For this 2013 edition, we thus find boats that may be four or more years old that are quite capable of winning the Mini Transat. Whether we like it or not, it is still the duo of boat and skipper that makes the difference in the Mini Transat website
Barz Optics - FloatersWildwind 2016 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she’s set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.
Posted today at 6:04 am
Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in St. Thomas International Regatta. Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
Posted on 23 Mar
Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
With 29 skippers setting sail and 10 nations represented, the eighth edition offered a wide range of projects The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.
Posted on 23 Mar
RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.
Posted on 23 Mar
35th Garda Meeting Optimist preview
Less than one month to the start and already 985 pre-entries from 28 different nations. Less than one month to the start and already 985 pre-entries from 28 different nations. Puertorico and Thailand are the news of 2017, with five and three helmsmen registered. The largest representations are from Germany, Italy, Denmark, Swedish, Poland, Finland, Norway, Russia and Hungary.
Posted on 23 Mar
Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
To date, 66 teams have signed up for the event, which bodes well for an exceptional vintage Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.
Posted on 22 Mar
Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
The new campaign is the latest stage of the relationship between Al Hasni, one of Oman's most promising sailors Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail’s most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.
Posted on 22 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
A coach can optimise practice time, provide detailed analysis via both stats and video, can examine specific issues If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.
Posted on 22 Mar
Vestas 11th Hour Racing launch Volvo Ocean Race campaign
Vestas are returning for a second edition, after launching their 2017-18 campaign in partnership with 11th Hour Racing Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. The team are the fourth to announce for the upcoming edition, which begins on 22 October, and they will use the race to promote a sustainability message around the world.
Posted on 21 Mar
St. Barths Bucket Regatta – More action shots by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images
Posted on 21 Mar