A very fast Mini Transat 2015 is history. Glory and tragedy, as usual so close together. This is not only a summary regarding my questions to those sailors on their “budget Mini Transat 2015”. It is an article about an extraordinary experience.
I have watched and followed the joy, relief, smiles, parties, tears, pains, laughs and friendship of this Classe Mini family. And it has been pure bliss. The sailor in me had been a bit envious during the final preparation stages. Even though this is just one regatta out of many it is a fascinating event indeed: race and sail across the Atlantic in a 6,5m yacht (well, “yacht”, behaving like a dinghy…).
Anyway, one of the things I love doing is checking with some folks (i.e. experts) whether a mere theoretical research of mine makes sense or not. Back in January 2015 I put some numbers in a spreadsheet and came out with a EUR budget-figure which would get you to the starting line of a Mini Transat. All theory, of course. And there were mainly two ways to figure out whether the results of this research were kind of useful or not:
- Run a Mini Transat campaign myself and see which budget I would need
- Check with participants and let them tell their story.
Without going into too much detail, option 2 was the only one at this point in time which would bring me closer to an answer.
Questionnaire sent to Mini Transat 2015 participants
Although I had phrased the questions in summer 2015 already, I was kind of reluctant to get in touch with those very likely very busy sailors. The main reason: how would I react if some unknown chap would send some questions of this kind? Today, all I can say is that I am still overwhelmed by the responses, comments, stories received. Maybe the type of people sailing in the Classe Mini are a bit different. But hey, they seem to be a GREAT bunch of people indeed.
Once the last finisher had crossed the line I started sending out my brief questionnaire. While I received replies “from podium to abandoned” I could very easily read and see how happy and proud those folks were (and still are), no matter what their result had been. MANY THANKS to all of you for your replies, your thoughts, stories and comments!
Replies even from sailors ranked in the top three
As mentioned above, the sailors having sent me their answers span across the entire field of all of the initial 72 starters:
– those who had to abandon their race
– finishers from towards the end of the ranking
– right up to the podium (yes, indeed).
I have contacted 71 out of the 72 starters, and have so far received replies from 20. Does not sound like much? Well, it is an astonishing return quote of 28% – this is simply unbelievable! Especially with each single one of those sailors very likely wondering who on earth “Hubert Hell” as the sender of an email-questionnaire might be.
Enough of all that talking, let’s move on to some facts and figures.
Update January 2018: Here is the article with the same questions for the 2017 Mini Transat – quite an interesting comparison…
How often have you participated in the Mini Transat?
Lots of newbies (regarding the Mini Transat, not sailing itself…), which is great, but quite contrary to the answers from question 2. Have mostly the first-timers answered because they are still thrilled by the experience? Or does enthusiasm die down in the next couple of months so another participation won’t happen?
Would you like to (will you) do it again?
Despite the exhaustion, pain and little sleep only a small number is absolutely certain that they won’t go again. The largest portion of folks would love to have another try – let’s bear in mind that the question got asked just after finishing the Mini Transat, maybe the replies would be different in one year’s time.
In which range was your budget for the entire 2015-campaign?
Finally, money talk. The number of low-cost campaigns has certainly surprised me, same as the very small number above the EUR 100k mark. Looks like my initial calculation regarding a Mini Transat budget of max. EUR 100k (very likely a lot less), based on internet research only and without talking to anyone, seems to have been more or less spot on. Nice one.
How was your budget financed?
Getting sponsors on board seems to be a tough job indeed. Only 15% have been fully financed by an external party, all others had to invest private and personal funds to keep their campaign running. No big surprise here, although it was good to hear that some folks had their entire budget covered by sponsors.
How long have your preparations been?
Ok, a quarter of all replies show that they have prepared for the Mini Transat for more than two years. Out of those five folks two have mentioned that they took part in 2013 already but rate their participation back then as preparation for the 2015 race. That’s what I call long term planning.
There are also a couple of real “quickies” around, two having spent less than six months from confirming their idea to sail the Mini Transat until crossing the starting line.
Have you been preparing for this Mini Transat part-time / full-time?
The answers to this question are more than interesting when compared to the results of question 4 (budget and sponsors). 30% worked full-time for their Mini Transat campaign, while only half of them had a sponsor covering the entire budget… what can I say? And to all those doing it part-time – my greatest respect for managing all your time conflicts (plus many more, I guess).
Conclusion on budget Mini Transat and all the other information
Please bear in mind that this was a very simple questionnaire, a couple of questions fired out to the participants of the Mini Transat 2015. Nonetheless I have the feeling that some very interesting and important message can be derived from this:
- to win, a mega super big campaign and budget is not necessarily required
- and to be able to participate in a Mini Transat a very small budget with an even smaller timeframe can also do the magic trick.
Whatever your initial intentions have been for reading this article, I hope you have found it to be quite useful. Have a great 2016-season & feel free to share this article.
Take care & fair winds!