Mini Observations, Part II
Comments on last week’s Mini Observations…
I would Like to make a few comments regarding the piece "Mini Observations>From our pal Andraz Mihelin" and I apologize for my English spelling in advance.
I feel as someone who has raced the race twice ( without to much success I am sorry to say) in 1995 and 2003 that the fact that the Serie boats have become so numerous and fast compared to the protos is because they enable one to choose the "sensible" option.
The Protos have become to expensive to build and run in a competitive format. If any thing this is the changed spirit of the Mini class.
When the Mini started and even when I raced in 1995 there were a some racers that were going for a podium positions (and many of them did become the who and who of french sailing in years to come) but many others were there to follow a dream.
Even then boats were not cheap but they did not cost like a 35 foot cruiser and many of the boats were built by the top guys by themselves. The Series in those days were mostly Cocos and filed the part for the Corinthian spirit in many ways. I think that the late 90’s and early days of this decade were the real change when this race was regarded by many people as the stepping stone in too bigger things. The Protos got more and more demanding and a great deal of the sailors time was spent splicing,tuning, tweaking and fixing instead of sailing.
Protos have become a full time job! and with the extra demands for qualifying it has become even more so. One only needs to remember Nick Bubb living out of the back of his van with sails and tools and kit for more than a year. or myself having to leave home for a full 8 months ( my wife was not to happy about that)to make sure I succeed in qualifying while fixing the boat for days or changing the configuration after each race.
A aha, but then arrived the new generation of Series, especially the Pogo 2 and offered a much cheaper option to race Minis at top form and almost at the same pace and fun as the top Protos and with a much easier boat to try and qualify while going on with a "normal" life until the "big" event.
The series are also much more robust as shown for example in the 2003 edition when 11 Protos broke masts and not one single Serie suffered the same fate. There is also a lure for the one design concept that allows one to really test his or hers wreath against others.It is very evident by just looking at all the top Mini design offices that have created a serie designs.
I agree that the Protos have always played a very important part in racing yacht design and innovation and I hope that this will not fade away in the future but as the prices of these little rockets rocket and the boats become harder to race and harder to finish a race with it will not surprise me if we will see more and more Serie boats compared to protos.
And lastly but not least, for Me the real Spirit of Mini racing is the complete camaraderie on shore and at sea while at the same time real hard knuckle, hard core racing is taking place. I think that most Mini sailors would agree that this obligation to each other is unique to this class and what makes up the true spirit of the class . this is mainly because Mini sailors have few or no shore crew and they rely on each other to get things done which is not the case with the bigger ocean class boats.What amazes me is that this spirit involves all the levels of competitors.
I will never forget Jonathan McKee’s complete generosity sharing all the Meteo info he bought for good money with all the other sailors or Chris Sayers help fixing boats for other competitors even though he raced as a "Pirate" in 2003, or the help I received from all the fleet in Funchal in 1995 to make sure I will be able to finish the race on my very shitty boat come hell or high water.
Daniel Schaffer- Israel
Minis 133 & 416