A new Minitransat, the new Minitransat
In 1999 Disegnocontrario’s aim was to offer a sailing ship for the series production in the ‘Minitransat bateaux de serie’ class.
This syntethic introduction covers all the planning paradigms that the team of Disegnocontrario dealt with in order to give the object ‘Boat’ a new identity.
It is a craft 6.50 metres long, which by regulation must be unsinkable, self-righting, solid, spacious, thrifty, reliable in time. Speed and ease of manoeuvring are the necessary elements in order to compete and stand out in the by now numerous off-shore races reserved to this category of boats which is expanding in Italy as well as in the rest of Europe.
Disegnocontrario considers the mass production of the boat not as an impoverished evolution of the prototype but as a primary aim of the project, thus going against a consolidated trend in the world of navigation which looks back to traditions and technologies of craftmanship: low-cost investments for moulds and solutions integrated in the prototype, mean high costs in the mass production and cause an increase in the retail price of the finished product. This is essentially due to the great use of manual labour whose incidence on costs does not decrease with the increase in produced units. Disegnocontrario, convinced that a different projectual approach was the key for lowering both costs and production times while at the same time improving the quality of the product, has revolutionised the object ‘Boat’. This is now no longer considered as the union between two seminal elements, hull and deck, but as a sinergic union of different elements, along pre-calculated stress-lines. The union of such elements becomes a structural component instead of representing weak points: the bonds become strong points.
Disegnocontrario goes beyond the traditional methodology – according to which the hull/deck combination is interrupted by a joining surface chosen with criteria of conceptual and building simplicity – for a solution which takes only into consideration the rate of the efforts on the surface.
In sailing vessels the hull/deck continuity is re-established with techniques that not only fail to satisfy the tension/effort flow or allow sufficient time for waterproof sealing, but do not even represent an economical and aesthetically valid solution.
Through simple bonding and without further work additions, Disegnocontrario obtains the hull/deck volume by uniting structurally integrated parts cohering with each other and thus eliminates most stress concentration in the critical points.
The consequences are clear:
Thanks to the coherent use of techniques and materials, the homogenousness of the whole gives more reliability to the object “Boat”. This leads to the excellent relationship quality/price of the product, due to a sensible reduction of labour in assembling and structuring while guaranteeing also an aesthetic result which is doubtlessly better.
Vaguely natural animal-like shapes emerge as a result of the tendency to design regular surfaces, a consequence of an increased facility of calculation and of the rudimental essenciality of the production tecnique.
The boat design follows the limitations imposed by the gauge for the “Minitransat (Jauge bateaux de sèrie)”serial hulls.
It is entirely made of GRP with “E” glass and polyester resin in monolithic stratification.
It meets contemporaneously two different needs for two possible uses: participation in class regattas or the short/medium range cruise for four people.
Since manoeuvring has been reduced to the essential and it is easy to handle, it has been designed to be used by those attending sailing schools.
The boat meets demands that come from totally different sectors, such as solo ocean regattas, club usage or the tiring nautical “stages” of sailing schools.
There will be only a central winch, so that the wide benches in the cockpit are completely clear and the crew members can move freely.
Thanks to the generous width of the hull there are two accesses to the cabin to facilitate going below deck, achieving a privileged watch point while determining better lighting and air circulation.
The cockpit has a central ribbing to be used as toe-rail and which at the extreme stern becomes a container for the inflatable life raft . Thus the raft can be reached both from inside and outside the boat.
The interiors are completely “open space”, designed with ergonomic criteria in order to facilitate the crew activities both in tougher navigation and in the harbour.
The maximum height below deck – extended on a wide area – guarantees a volume not commonly found on boats of the same dimensions; the presence of a double berth under the cockpit radically modifies the rigid sports and spartan connotation of this kind of boat.
Fractional rigging is simple and essential: the mast in anodized aluminum filled with foam has one spreaders set with external halyards and broadside shrouds. There are no backstays or runners. Such rigging epitomizes the concept of efficiency, reliability and simplicity so that even the most inexperienced navigator is guaranteed the possibility to learn easily and speedily how to exploit the hull’s potentiality to the maximum. At the same time the solo can manoeuvre in total relaxation and safety , without acrobatic manoeuvres.
Such simplicity means dramatic cuts in maintenance and upkeeping costs, not only for the single owner but also for sailing schools or nautical clubs running the boat.
“Les Minis”, as the hulls in the Minitransat class are called in France, are very special boats. With an overall length of only six and a half metres, may reach a maximum beam of three metres. They use spinnakers of seventy square metres and over, canting keels; it is quite possible to have boats with seven appendages .
What makes them uniques is that they have been planned for Ocean crossing regattas, both solo and double handed, costing only the bare minimum.
You must visualize an absolute essentiality in which there is no place for any equipment not indispensable to the security of the boat and its crew.
You have in front of you an unsinkable boat, designed to sail in any sea and wind condition thanks to a gauge which requires ( the only one of this kind to do so) self-righting and a compulsory position of the life raft.
It is a boat so fast on water to cross the Atlantic in a fortnight: and even faster on road, since it can be pulled on a trailer by a medium-size car.
“Les Minis” are already organized in a Class Association both in France and in Italy. They share the task of organizing and scheduling the season’s regattas.
Such programs ends – in odd years – with the solo transatlantic crossing, the Minitransat, starting from Bretagne and ending in the Antilles; in even years with a double-handed transatlantic crossing, the Quebec-Brest.
Seaworthiness, easyness to carry, to maintain and to run, and above all great fun to sail, make this class ready to a greater diffusion both on a national and on an international level.
Nowadays in Italy there are about fifty people enrolled in the Class Association and about twenty boats, while in France there are about two hundred people enrolled and one hundred boats.