Mar 4, 2021

Class Mini 6.50: Production boats vs Prototypes

Published by: Kyle Martin
Cover photo
All Mini 6.50 yachts are conditionally divided into two divisions - serial and prototypes.

On the picture:
  1. Serial project Vector 6.50 of the famous French designer Etienne Bertrand. At the moment, more than 10 boats have already been produced.
  2. And a prototype of the Verdie project, independently equipped with foil by Jay Thompson. The Speedy Gonzales is already racing in Mini class on behalf of the Coconuts Sail Team.

So what is the fundamental difference and why are some allowed what is forbidden to others?

Classe MINI is a democratic class and tries to remain so. But at the same time it is a bold and innovative class.

Production boats

The serial fleet aims to create a competitive environment for athletes, while limiting the level of financial investments. So, in this division many expensive materials are prohibited for use and equipment is limited. For the project to become serial, the manufacturer must comply with all construction requirements and produce at least 10 boats.

It is clear that new design ideas are emerging, older generation boats are becoming obsolete, and the prices of new fast boats on the market are rising. But one way or another, it is possible to maintain a certain understandable level of investment. And build your project according to your own finances.

As a result, in the serial fleet, the result is the result of an athlete, a person. After all, dozens of exactly the same or very similar yachts go to the start next to it.


In prototypes, on the contrary, the main task is to build the fastest boat. This is such a flight of design ideas with the most advanced materials. Restrictions - just get into the "box" in size. But this does not mean that the quality of the athlete himself is not important in prototypes. Oftentimes, super fancy boats just don't ride under beginners. In this division, you have to fight for everything at once - for the construction of the yacht, for funding, and for your skills. And only by finding the balance and support of the universe is it possible to climb the podium. For this continuous struggle, the proto is called the quintessence of the Class Mini.

In the 2018-2019 project, I (Irina Gracheva) performed on an old serial boat Tip-Top 579.
In the project 2020-2021 I switched to the proto design Lombard 800.

As we said earlier, in Mini we do not use handicap, but we use Box Rules that impose the same restrictions on the main sizes and the number of sails for both divisions - series and proto.

And then things are like this:
Maximum draft:
  • SERIES 1.6 m
  • PROTO 2 m
Maximum air draft:
  • SERIES 11 m
  • PROTO 12 m
Maximum number of hydrodynamic surfaces (so-called "appendixes"):
  • SERIES 1 keel + 2 rudders
  • PROTO Unlimited
Hull and deck materials:
  • SERIES Fiberglass, epoxy/polyester resins
  • PROTO Unlimited (except for materials with a density higher than that of lead and titanium)
Mast material:
  • SERIES Aluminum alloy
  • PROTO Unlimited (except for materials with a density higher than that of lead and titanium)
Outriggers for carrying a spinnaker that extend beyond the jack lines:
  • SERIES Prohibited
  • PROTO Unlimited
Bowsprit material and length:
  • SERIES Aluminum alloy 2.4 m
  • PROTO No length limitation, any materials other than materials with a density greater than lead and titanium
Maximum ballast water volume:
  • SERIES Forbidden
  • PROTO 400 l
Using canting and lifting keels / daggerboards:
  • SERIES Forbidden
  • PROTO Unlimited
Using lifting rudders:
  • SERIES Forbidden
  • PROTO Unlimited

The Class Mini is truly the test bed of marine innovation. Production (serial) boats may have some limitations in using fuel cell generators, but for proto, PowerUP's 200 W and 400 W silent and portable fuel cell generators may just be the perfect source of energy. In production division, lithium batteries and fuel cells cannot be used together, although there is no internal combustion within fuel cells but a chemical reaction.

This is just a small summary of the basic requirements. For full details read the official rules published on the Mini Class website. The rules are updated every year!

This post first appeared on Irina Gracheva's Facebook.

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