by Will Carson
British solo sailor Dan Dytch after securing a title sponsor for 2011, is set to take on the French at their own game for the 2011 Mini 6.50 season.
Soitec Mini 6.50
For the seven-race series which culminates in a 3,000 nautical mile sprint across the Atlantic, the 28-year-old rising talent has teamed up with Soitec, world leading innovator and manufacturer of semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries.
Raced singlehanded in 21ft yachts, the Mini 6.50 class is one of the most hotly contested sailing series in the world and has given rise to some of the world’s top solo sailors. The races take place mostly in France and are dominated by French sailors, regarded by many as the best singlehanded skippers on the planet.
After racing on high profile superyachts in major events all over the world, Dan turned his attention to shorthanded racing in 2009 launching a self-funded Mini 6.50 campaign in his yacht Night Fever. His first full Mini 6.50 season was a huge success, notching up results in the Prototype division including top ten in qualifying and a 14th in the season’s major event, the Les Sables-Les Azores-Les Sables.
For the 2011 season Dan, from Lymington on the English south coast, will race prototype yacht Soitec (sail number 617), a much lighter, more modern Mini which was campaigned last season by French yachtsman Fabien Després. Soitec boasts a canting keel, asymmetric dagger boards, an adjustable forestay and a powerful Nomex/carbon hull which will make Dan even more competitive.
'My partnership with Soitec is an exciting new step in my Mini 6.50 campaign that will allow me to race harder and faster,' Dan said. 'The new boat is fantastic and I can’t wait to get her out on the racecourse and see what she can do. I had some good results last season but this year I will be looking to really shake things up at the front of the fleet.'
Dan will base himself in the French town of La Rochelle for the 2011 season. He will set sail for the Mediterranean in March to get as many miles under his belt in Soitec as possible before the season starts. Dan will compete in all but one of the races in the series before joining more than 70 solo sailors on the Mini Transat start line in September.