Increased diversity in Classe Mini

Press Release #1

Classe Mini’s first ever mixed-only Plastimo Mini has announced that April’s event is full. With 80 male/female crews entered it has become the first event on the Class Mini circuit to take place with a 100% mixed crew rule.

Picture Manon Le Guen
Picture Manon Le Guen

With the continued shift towards diversity within sailing and offshore races the class is finding that the number of women taking part continues to rise. About 15% of sailors involved this year are women, an increase from around 10% in recent years, with plans to grow the number in future seasons.

Jean Marre, President of the Classe Mini, underlined how accessibility, diversity, both social and gender, have always been topics open for discussion within the Classe Mini but the mixed rules for this year’s Plastimo, whilst being a positive stage in driving equality, could have been done sooner.

He said: “Imposing diversity is a fairly new measure, although perhaps it is something we should have implemented in previous years. The change was driven by Lorient Grand Large and race director Yves le Blevec, who initially proposed the gender diversity rule for the Plastimo Lorient Mini 6.50."

“The Board of Directors were impressed by the idea and saw it as something that could have a broader impact in the future. Clearly, we can do better on the proportion of women on the circuit with 15% certainly not representative of wider society. It is up to us to widen the field of possibilities and our vision is to create equal opportunities for everyone to access offshore racing."

“An idea would be to have at least one mixed double race each year, and this format could be replicated in other races, if the organisers are in favour of it. In my opinion, the exercise must be repeated, to create new "models" and show girls and women that offshore racing is an accessible sport in which they can flourish, succeed and shine just like men."

Class Mini has an illustrious roster of female sailors who have won honours over the years. Isabelle Autissier was the first to score a podium finish in the Mini-Transat, securing a third place finish in the prototype division in 1987. Anne Monmousseau then followed suit by finishing third in the production class, in 1995.

Ellen Mac Arthur, Catherine Chabaud, Isabelle Joschke and Sam Davies, all gained valuable experience in Mini 6.50, using it as a springboard to achieve great things in the world of offshore sailing. In 2013, after a brilliant season, the Swiss Justine Mettraux put women back in the spotlight by taking second place in the Mini-Transat series, followed, in 2017, by Clarisse Crémer.

Organisers have had to deal with an unprecedented demand for spaces for prototype and production divisions of the series. Many newcomers are attracted to the development class as a way to gain experience and follow in the footsteps of professional sailors who were ‘born in Classe Mini’.

The detailed calendar of the Classe Mini events this season can be found here.


Media contact for Classe Mini:

Robin Clegg - +44 7765 157 136