October 8th, 1977, 24 “21 feet sailing boats” single
handed left Penzance (United Kingdom) for Antigua with a stopover in
Tenerife (Canary Islands). The smallest offshore racing boats were born and
their favourite race : the Mini Transat. Every odd year, they will meet
on their favourite playground : the Atlantic.
French sailors are getting more and more numerous each year. The Organisation
then crosses the English channel. In 1984, Jean Luc Garnier, journalist passionately
fond of these mini “racing boats” takes over Brit Bob Salmon who
wishes to quit after having organised four editions. “Voiles 6.50”,
an un-profit making association affiliated to the French Sailing Federation
is then created and organises the Mini-Fastnet, an annual race leaving Brittany
to the Irish Rock and back. A new birth is given to the Minis.
In 1985, The Mini-Transat starts and arrives in France, from Brest to Pointe à Pitre
with a stopover in Santa Cruz de Ténérife. Thanks to “La
Mini-Max”, the Mediterranean Minis can race in 1986. In 1988, a new
race comes to complete the calendar, “La Transgascogne” that starts
from Port Bourgenay. In 1991, Dominic Bourgeois and Loïc Ponceau have
the idea to create “Le Challenge Mini” so that the Minis can meet
In 1994, “Voiles 6,50” is divided in two different structures
separating the Race Organisation (Voiles 6,50) and the sporting management
(Classe Mini). The same year, the Italians who are getting more and more numerous
create their own Classe in association with the French Classe Mini which keeps
all the responsibility regarding the Rules.
In 1998, Voiles 6,50 does not wish to organise the Mini-Transat anymore.
The Classe Mini then delegates the organisation of its main event to independent
organisers that answer a bid and commit themselves in respecting the specification
defined by the Classe Mini. This procedure is now used with all the different
The year 2001 sees a little revolution. The Mini-Transat makes an infidelity
to the Caribbean islands after 12 arrivals and crosses the equator line for
the first time to arrive in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil).
Nowadays, the Classe Mini gathers an average of 500 subscribers, most of
them competitors coming from all kind of professions, from the carpenter to
the engineer, the nurse to the steward, the journalist to the professional