A new home-build sailboat class is targeting sailors young and old who dream of sailing the oceans in a handy, affordable and ocean-worthy yacht.
The Class Mini 5.80 was officially launched yesterday, Saturday 14 March — despite the sudden closure of the HISWA Amstersam Boat Show — and is attracting serious interest from sailors around the world.
Hundreds are now waiting for the release of building plans (that cost just €300) so they can start “building their dream”, its founders say.
“We are surprised and excited at the level of interest and passion expressed for this little plywood Mini-Mini that I love and cannot wait to sail,” said Don McIntyre, founder of the Mini 5.80 class.
“We have schools talking about building fleets, friends getting together to build two or three side by side and yacht clubs wanting to know more. Even top name sailors are looking to have some fun on a simple boat for a change, where the human element is more important than the technology.
“This little yacht with a big heart, for even bigger adventures, has a strong future for sure!”
The concept for this unique one-design class, developed by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre (organiser of the revived Golden Globe Race and the Ocean Globe Race) and designed by Polish sailor Janusz Maderski, goes against the modern trend of high-tech, extreme foiling yachts.
Instead, it returns to the most basic principles of a simple, strong, safe and affordable ocean-going mini racer, that anyone can build using simple tools.
The 5.8-metre yacht also tows behind a family car and can easily ship in a 20ft container to or from international events.
Its makers say this idea resonates well with sailors young and old, who had over the years been left behind in the rush for ultimate speed with corresponding extreme budgets costing 10 times more.
Meanwhile, international and national class associations are being established to support local racing and international events.
The Class Mini 5.80 Association has established controls and simple guidelines to monitor construction, with all owners required to create a blog including clear photos and descriptions of their build process.
Building materials are specified, simple surveys are carried out on the steel plate lead bulb keel, critical rudder and chain plate components are supplied by the class and minimum build weights set and checked.
Next Saturday 21 March, Class Mini 5.80 plans will be released to experienced builders only. First-time amateurs will need to wait until 1 June to receive their plans.
This will allow time for them to watch and learn from blogs of the first and second prototypes — one building in Poland by Piotr Czarniecki for Don McIntyre, and a second built with well-known Dutch timber boat builders Kolibri — which take around 500 hours to build.
Other builds will quickly be underway in France, Australia, Argentina, Russia, America, Italy, Britain and Spain, so language will not be a problem.
Sailing events — including a planned Solo 5.80 Transatlantic Race in November 2021 from Portugal to the Caribbean, and a world first Mini Globe Race (via Panama) in 2024 — will require minimum sailing experience standards and skipper training, specified safety equipment and boat surveys to minimise risk.
All the details are available on ClassMini580.com which launched this weekend.