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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Classe Mini turns 30 with new rules plan

by Robin Clegg 27 Mar 12:48 PDT
Plastimo Lorient Mini 6.50 © Anne Beauge

As Classe Mini turns 30 this year, organisers are planning on changing class rules to keep sailing costs down as well as organising a birthday celebration later in the year.

For the 2024 season, the class has also introduced a new race to its competitive sailing calendar with the 'Mini TransManche' taking place in August. This new addition is a 500-mile solo race reserved for old series and prototype boats built before 2009 and 2012 respectively.

This approach is designed to give skippers of older boats, and with smaller budgets, the opportunity to gain extra points in their attempts to qualify for the Mini Transat in autumn 2025.

The class, renowned for its 'born in mini' spirit, embodying enjoyment, equality, togetherness and adventure has always been regarded as a realistic option for those without the deep pockets required for larger boat classes. However, recent years have seen unprecedented demand for places with organisers trying to accommodate a surge in interest in both prototype and production boat classes.

Explosion in boat building

This has led to an explosion in the number of expensive, state of the art, boats being built. In response, plans were recently passed at the latest AGM in Paris which will limit the number of series boats built each year to 25 for the next year then a decrease of 20% per year until 2027.

Romain Bigot, Classe Mini President, explained: "The limitation in the production of series boats has been the result of analysis by two working groups. The first has focussed on addressing the increase in the number of new boats which has resulted in a flooded second-hand market. The second has examined carbon footprint reduction opportunities to limit our climate impact and has produced a carbon baseline assessment report which was recently presented to members.

"This year our aim is to proceed with discussions on how to reduce our footprint, and continue to ensure social diversity in terms of gender, nationality and equality. At the heart of Classe Mini there has always been a diversity of skippers which makes this class so beautiful and timeless, a tradition we aim to keep."

Involving over 300 international sailors, with the majority hailing from France, the class started life as a UK-based race in 1977 before moving to France four years later. Voiles 6.50 became the first organisation to manage mini races and the MiniTransat before Classe Mini was created on April 25, 1994, separating the organisation of races and sports management.

Some of the sport's top sailors advanced their sailing career in the 6.50 class. This illustrious roster includes Yannick Bestaven, Thomas Ruyant, Ian Lipinski, Ellen MacArthur and Sam Davies.

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