If the start, or rather the week before the start, of my sailing season 2018 were to be an indicator for how smoothly everything is about to run, then this indicator would have been a huge success.
Well, let’s take it step by step.
Mini 732 after the Mini Transat 2017: Martinique -> La Rochelle -> Grossenbrode (Baltic Sea)
After the Mini Transat, all boats are (supposed) to return to France by cargo ship. This was no different for the 2017 edition of this regatta. I am not a logistics expert but loading that cargo ship must have been an interesting job. Minis are not only on deck (series boats), the prototypes usually go down below in bits and pieces (kind of).
Just before Christmas 2017, my Mini 732 reached La Rochelle. Lina’s dad and I picked it up, put it on a trailer and set off to Northern Germany. 1.400 km driving from home to La Rochelle, and the same way back – the return drive including boat. For Classe Mini Sailors this is common practice, I guess, with regattas all over Europe and training grounds basically everywhere. Still, it was a very different experience for me and quite some fun.
Five days before boat introduction by Lina
I bought the boat in February 2016, Lina started sailing, first time I set foot on board was just before the Mini Transat 2017. 2018 was to be my sailing season with Mini 732, lots of hours on the water with a boat both challenging as well as reliable.
Lina and I had planned the handover including a two-day introduction to technical and overall boat equipment, plus a bit of sailing, for the middle of May. To cut this story short, five days before the weekend, while having a lot of fun with my kids in the garden, I managed to tear the outer ligament and sprain the inner ligament of my left ankle.
The handover as well as a bit of sailing took place. However, even pulling up the mainsail was a minor challenge as my balance and stability were “slightly” affected by this mishap / injury.
Start of the sailing season 2018
The handover weekend, including sailing a couple of miles with Lina, was the start of my sailing season 2018. After that I started to work on getting familiar with sailing and handling a Classe Mini boat. Not only the boat, of course, but also the technical equipment, sails, even more technical stuff, manoeuvres in the harbour, open sea, with motor, under sail, etc.
From my perspective, I was still on a beginner’s level of “getting familiar” when (all of a sudden) the three weeks family summer holiday was about to start. And after that: half of the sailing season gone already.
Tiller, bye bye
Back on the water, this time with a friend of mine, we were about to bring up the mainsail. A sound which sounded a lot like major trouble resulted in exactly that. Trouble.
Not enough attention from my side and the boom getting stuck under one of the tillers. Pulling up the mainsail brought up the boom, and after another little tack on the sheet the tiller simply broke.
With this broken tiller we lost the connection to the second one, meaning only one of two rudders could be steered. Oh well, it would have been dramatic if that had happened in strong winds far from land. However, we were still in shouting distance from the marina.
So, sails down, back into harbour, and after a brief search for the backup tiller we replaced the broken one. That was that sailing day.
Sailing the mini for a few days only
All in all, I guess I sailed Mini 732 for not more than a good handful of sailing days. Too many “other priorities”, as family duties and other stuff are called nowadays, kept me away from the boat.
At the same time, whenever I was at and on the boat, I wanted to sail. Looking back, I think I spent too little time on all the preparatory and learning phases before being able to sail a Mini properly. I managed to be out on the water myself, sail for a day and come back safely. However, proper confidence and – especially – familiarity with “everything” related to the Mini never really showed up.
Don’t get me wrong, being on a Mini, sailing, is a fantastic experience. The boat is a great performer, I’ve never felt uneasy or in danger. The biggest problem of my 2018 sailing season was simply the amount of time I managed to (not) make available.
Sold Mini 732 – will this be the end of my sailing a Classe Mini boat?
In autumn I came to a point where I thought a decision was due. And it was a very tough decision indeed. Having owned the boat for three years, sailed for one season (albeit a couple of days only) I needed to look forward.
Would I be able to invest more time into training and sailing?
Two young kids whom I wanted to spend time with before they grow up. My company and customers still needing lots of attention. Those, plus a couple of others, were the main reasons for my decision to sell my Mini 732.
The Classe Mini boats are absolutely amazing, but they need attention and you need time on them, practicing and sailing. At that point in time, autumn 2018, it was the right decision to make. Sell the boat and look forward.
That was the end of my sailing season 2018.
Will I sail another Mini some time in the future?
There are no reasons to regret anything regarding Mini 732. Helping Lina to complete the Mini Transat 2017 was a great joy, sailing myself in 2018 was wonderful despite limited number of days.
The Classe Mini boats are Ocean lovers behaving like a dinghy. They are still very close to the type of boat I’d love to own and sail again. However, not right now.
There might come a time, maybe in two, three, five years, when I might be on my way to become an owner of a Classe Mini boat again. Who knows, time will tell.