Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 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
Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

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
68 yachts line up for the first two races of J70 World Championship
In the second race, conditions ranged from 18-25 knots with choppy seas which left more than one competitor on his side After three days of “non San Francisco” conditions over the wekend-85 degrees with sailors waiting around for wind while complaining of it being to hot in the parking lot-“San Francisco” came back. In the second race of the day, conditions ranged from 18-25 knots with choppy seas which left more than one competitor on his side with the gennaker up.
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
Alcatel J/70 Worlds - Cut-throat competition on Day 1 in San Francisco
World Championship regattas always generate high-level competition World Championship regattas always generate high-level competition, but when you stack 68 of the world’s most popular One Design boats on San Francisco Bay in a crisp, late-September breeze, you can bet your last shackle that the competition will be ferocious.
Posted on 28 Sep
Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Day 2 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 27 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts - Images from Régates Royales - Final day
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the Final Day - there ws no racing due to the obvious lack of wind - but the images are still excellent.
Posted on 27 Sep
Team France Jeune selects its group for Red Bull Youth America's Cup
Franck Cammas and Jacques Cathelineau reveal the group of 14 youngsters who will now train together to prepare From 5 to 9 September, the city of Toulon played host to the second phase of the selection process launched by the Filière d’Excellence Team France (TF Excellence Network). After five days of events, Franck Cammas and Jacques Cathelineau (the French Sailing Federation’s Technical Director) reveal the group of 14 youngsters who will now train together to prepare
Posted on 27 Sep