Author Topic: Mini newbie  (Read 2081 times)

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Offline ScallywagLIS

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Mini newbie
« on: August 03, 2010, 07:22:53 AM »
Hi,

I wanted to get people's opinions on the sailing skills necessary to sail a Mini.  Forget about all the seamanship necessary to successfully participate in an ocean race.  I'm talking about the skills necessary to single-hand it and make it go fast.

I'm looking for my first boat, and particularly one that will allow me to realize one of my goals to get involved in short-handed distance racing.  I'm drawn to the Mini because of its relative cost compared to boats above 30 ft. LOA, its speed, and the fact that it can be sailed over large distances. 

I am a sailor in the Western Long Island Sound area.  I regularly sail in a one-design class (IOD) and crew on larger boats in the area in around-the-buoys and distance racing events. I have experience helming small keel boats such as J24s and Ideal 18s, but the life of a bowman tends to keep me as far away from the wheel as possible.

What kind of learning curve are we talking about?  I understand that the Mini carries a powerful rig.  If I want to learn to sail a Mini, can I simply buy one and learn?  Or, is it more prudent to work up to the Mini?  I'm a competent seaman and a fast learner.  My philosophy is that if you want to get experience doing something, you have to just do it. 

My approach to overcoming the learning curve would obviously be instruction and time on the water getting to know the boat.  I'd enter into local distance races (e.g., those that go out to Stratford Shoal and back), and then longer races such as the Vineyard Race, Block Island Race, Round Long Island Race, Ida Lewis Race, etc.  Eventually, I'd get into the bigger stuff--Bermuda 1-2, etc.

Thanks!

Offline André

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Re: Mini newbie
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 21:31:50 PM »
Hi,

The answer lies in what you allready wrote. Sailing a mini is about doing it. So, my advice, look for a boat you like, buy it and sail!
I bought one in february and am verry happy with it.

Have fun!!

André

Offline NicoG

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Re: Mini newbie
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 22:39:03 PM »
HI, followed it on SA,so I know youre after a serie , based in the US.

Skills, you need to learn a one trick about handling the bowsprit (keep the leeward guy a bit slack so shock loads can release) and all is the same as on a normal boat :) Though the polar is a bit different.
Oh and do not trust clutches in heavy weather...

And for the sailsize, you even can sail them as a Lazer if needed, and you can use the stormsail in front a lot earlier then you think. Makes the first months more easy... and forget the big spi for the first months till youre very comfortable with the small one..

Problem for the US is to gain experience, as there are not many mini sailors around to share knowledge. But that is growing, so setup a mailing list to the right people (ctutmark, Jan Brandt and some more) and keep asking how to do stuff.

Good luck

ps, some discussion points on that topic are a bit laughable, not yours, but you really can see people answer who have no clue or never sailed a mini, always ask: did you ever sail one, before you can take them seriously...

« Last Edit: August 15, 2010, 22:41:59 PM by Leov »

Offline Joe Cooper

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Re: Mini newbie Learning on a Mini
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2010, 04:47:18 AM »
Hi. There are a few considerations surrounding your question.

First the Minis are not like any other keel boat. They perform much more  like a dinghy, and a high performance one, NOT a 420-think 49'er Aussie 18's dinghy at that.  So for an idea of sailing a mini at speed, get a ride on a 505 at AYC some day or an international 14. Even sailing a laser is better training for a Mini than a IOD or what ever, Sonar.

Second, I think that because of its performance aspect a pretty good technical base is desirable, not super required, but desirable. Despite this comment many sailors of minis are not particularly skilled/experienced but just keep going at it. Actually sailing a mini because the easy part after raising money building rigging and so on to get the boat in the water in the first place. Most mini sailors over the years, until say the last 3 MT, ave really been of the adventure school, only the top half a dozen have been historically really skilled sailors. Yeah I know this is a broad blanket statement but I base this on nearly 20 years of watching Minis and building my own and almost getting to the MT in 1995. Only in the past 3-4 editions of the MT have the skilled and experienced sailors from up the food chain gone down to Minis and that has pushed the performance of the fleet up as a total.
Anyway.
There are about 5-6 minis around the NE, between Larchmont and Newport including one in Port Washinton I think.

If you feel like you have adequate seamanship skills, that is a good thing coz you will need them.

Overall the Minis are actually pretty easy to "sail" most of the time, under planning speed, because they are set up for one bloke to do it. They tend to be not as fast as they are rated in under 12 knots sailing locally because mostly they have lots of wetted surface for a 21 foot boat, and so are kinda sticky.

Sailing hard, fast for a long time in 25  knots is a different animal. You definitely need to understand how to keep the boat under the kite. The impact of heel on a wide boat and surfing waves. Unless you can do that hard down wind sailing will be pretty frustrating for a while.

I would look at either getting a ride on one or if you want to go for it, there are plenty of Pogo ones around, in France for not much money although you are going up hill versus the Euro and there is freight and so on. They sail 'em like J 24's in weekend OD races and it is probably already sorted. IF you don't like it you have a liquid market to sell it back into . Unless you are planning on trying to do the MT then you can futz with it for a bowsprit, composite rigging and so on and speed it up a bit for local PHRF racing which will be the main outlet for sailing it.
There a lot of dh and solo races around now. On the sound the Vineyard race is just waiting for them to show up. Block Is race will let em in, Gear buster, Solo twin in Newport, Ida lewis DR and so on.
Good luck
Cheers
Coop

Hope this does not put you off. Not intended to but to answer your question.  They are a wild boat and the guys are good fun.