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Boat in a box: The Globe Mini 5.80 is taking off around the world

by ATL Composites 2 Nov 2020 00:59 PST
Globe Mini 5.80 © ATL Composites

The compact offshore racing boat, known as the Globe Mini 5.80, the brainchild of adventurer and sailing legend, Don McIntyre, is taking off all over the world, a DIY kit constructed with plywood and epoxy resin, such as WEST SYSTEM.

The new International One Design Class of plywood, Mini 5.8-metre (18ft) yachts is aimed at "home builders and adventurous racing sailors", according to McIntyre.

"The Mini 5.80 is for all sailors, young and old, who have a dream to sail oceans in small, fun, affordable and proven safe, ocean-going yachts," he says.

"Simple plywood construction means anyone can build this Mini in a few months, or your local shipwright can do it for you. It all fits inside a 20-foot container for shipping to or from international events. The mast has a sleeve to allow two-piece shipping and removing keel and rudder is simple. It can be taken home on a trailer by an ordinary family car."

Less than four months after its official launch in April, 80 sailors have signed up to build in 23 countries. Conceived by McIntyre, founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, as an affordable "People's Mini" for amateur construction, this solo ocean and offshore racing yacht is proving popular.

A whole new segment of sailors is embracing the benefits of a simpler more sustainable challenge, says McIntyre.

"The idea of an affordable wholesome, back to basics, non-foiling and safe Mini yacht, able to sail anywhere, has great appeal. Being easy to build, own and maintain, then offering fun yet serious one design sailing, seems to have hit the spot. Adventurous solo sailors are excited, but there are plenty of club racers who see this as an opportunity for some fun."

International fleets are expected to appear over the next few years. "The yacht is creating real interest and new opportunities travelling to Europe for the 2021 Globe 5.80 Transat and Mini Globe Race in 2024," he adds.

The concept is simple: "Building plans (Euro $300), hand tools, plywood, epoxy resin, then clear out the garage and start building your Globe 5.80. Build time is approximately 500 to 600 hours."

10 Sailmakers are currently under review to select an exclusive One Design sail supplier to the 5.80 Class for the next five years. This will deliver identical high-quality racing sails at a realistic price to all sailors through economies of scale. It also caps cost, leveling the playing field ensuring even competition, whether sponsored or unsponsored.

CNC kit suppliers have been established in 15 countries, including Australia.

Andrew Denman of Denman Marine in Kettering, Tasmania, has been appointed the Australian kit agent and is CNC-cutting kits and keel bulbs for the fast-growing fleet.

"We have supplied two kits so far and have another one in the pipeline."

"According to the founder of the Class 5.80, Don McIntyre, the boat was designed as an offshore capable mini which will appeal to many - including the hardcore single-handed enthusiast.

"Class racing in small boats like this has proved very popular internationally but the types of hi-tech vessels used would normally be out of reach budget wise for most people," adds Andrew. "The use of plywood, fibreglass and epoxy resin in a simple but strong structure brings the costs within reach of many more people."

Andrew is supplying the kits and recommending WEST SYSTEM epoxy, which he says is the ideal base for structural bonding and coving applications, and for coating and sheathing the plywood.

Internationally regarded as the leading marine epoxy, WEST SYSTEM is easy for the amateur builder to work with. The FREE WEST SYSTEM User Manual provides all the basics on working with epoxy and basic techniques for various applications, to ensure the build can be completed to a high standard that will result in a durable, long-lasting, low maintenance boat.

"The boats are made of Lloyd's certified marine plywood, solid timber cleating and stringers, sheathed in fibreglass and epoxy resin. They are not hi-tech, but they are solid, sturdy and strong.

The Solo Globe 5.80 Transat is the first major event for the 5.80 Class. Host Port partners are expected to be announced in the next few months and already there are 13 expressions of interest from around the world.

"There's an ambitious calendar of events for this little boat and getting any new class of boat off the ground is hard work" says Andrew. "But if anybody's going to pull it off, it will be Don."

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