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 so was 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 every year.
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 organisers.
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 skipper.
The Classe Mini is above all the association of all the persons fond of these wonderful little boats who want to share the greats surfs, the budget problems, the days waiting for the wind and all the moments of happiness that the Ocean gives us.