Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

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
Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Clipper 70 fleet makeover begins
Maintenance Team at Race HQ is now hard at work to refit the Clipper 70s in preparation for the 2017-18 race. After clocking up an average of 41,000 miles each during their tenth edition race circumnavigation, the Maintenance Team at Race HQ is now hard at work to refit the Clipper 70s in preparation for the 2017-18 race.
Posted today at 8:42 am
Building conditions on Day 2 of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
San Francisco has a storied reputation as a world-class venue during summer/early fall, and Day 2 of Alcatel J/70 Worlds San Francisco has a storied reputation as a world-class venue during the summer and early fall, and Day Two of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, did not disappoint.
Posted today at 4:54 am
Groupama Race – Between the north and Nouméa
Beau Geste arrived at 7:09am this morning, taking the third position on real-time, behind Vodafone and Scallywag. Beau Geste arrived at 7:09am this morning, taking the third position on real-time, behind Vodafone and Scallywag. The crew was very pleased about his race. The owner and skipper, Karl Kwok, compared the luxury and unspoilt landscapes from the East coast to Polynesia and the West coast to Cebu island in Philippines.
Posted on 28 Sep
One day to go to 6th edition of Gstaad Yacht Club's Centenary Trophy
The time has come, all the entrants are in Saint Tropez and ready for tomorrow, a day that will celebrate once more The time has come, all the entrants are in Saint Tropez and getting ready for tomorrow, Thursday, a day that will celebrate once more some of the oldest and most stunning classic yachts on the planet with a race specially conceived for them
Posted on 28 Sep
An unchanged Idec Sport crew for the Jules Verne Trophy
At the finish in Brest last February, the six sailors, without exception, stated that they wanted to get back together IDEC SPORT will once again be tackling the Jules Verne Trophy, less than a year after their last attempt, when Francis Joyon's crew only missed out on the record by two days. For the first time in the history of the Trophy, the crew will remain the same. For this wild bunch of just six, there is the feeling that the job needs to be completed.
Posted on 28 Sep
Les Voiles de St Tropez - Eugenia Bakunova's view of Day 2
Not a lot of wind for the second day of racing at Les Voiles de St Tropez. Not a lot of wind for the second day of racing at Les Voiles de St Tropez. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru captured these images of the always picturesque classics as they sailed in a light breeze
Posted on 28 Sep
Legendary Mitch Booth to compete in St-Barth Cata Cup 2016
Sixty teams have already confirmed they will be competing in the event. As a triple world champion, Booth is no stranger to the F18. For this edition, he will be joined by Andy Dinsdale, a regular on the waters around St Barth.
Posted on 28 Sep
Les Voiles de St Tropez - Eugenia Bakunova's images from Day 1
Racing got underway in St Propez on the first day at Les Voiles de St Tropez with three dedicated race zones Racing got underway in St Propez on the first day at Les Voiles de St Tropez with three dedicated race zones, Nioulargue for the Modern yachts, Pampelonne for the Wallys and the bay for the 15 m JIs, racing in an even swell and glorious sunshine. Most of the Classic yachts are not due to set sail until the second day of racing. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on hand to capture the acti
Posted on 28 Sep
J-70 Worlds - San Francisco - Images from a fired up first day
Images and video of the opening day of the J-70 Worlds being run by the St Francis Yacht Club. Videographer and photographer, John Navas was on the water on the Berkley Circle, San Francisco for the opening day of the J-70 Worlds being run by the St Francis Yacht Club. Here's his view of the day in video and still images.
Posted on 28 Sep
Groupama Race - Scallywag sets monohull record
Scallywag, the longest monohull, is also the fastest monohull to sail around New-Caledonia. Scallywag, the longest monohull finished second behind the Simon Hull skippered ORMA60 trimaran, Franck Racing (formerly TeamVodafoneSailing). Scallywag also becomes is also the fastest monohull to sail around New-Caledonia. She took 2 days, 13 hours, 19 min and 55s, to establish a new record for monohulls.
Posted on 28 Sep