Mini Transat 2015 · Dominik Lenk

⅓ Sailing, ⅔ Tweaking

After three months with the Mini, I realise that it is true what they say: Two thirds of the time you are tweaking and repairing the boat and only one third of the time you are actually sailing it. If even …

Thankfully, the boat doesn’t have any of the problems that new boats generally do. Still, there’s plenty that can be adjusted on a Mini and that takes time, even on a used boat.

Quick example: Normally you tension a mast using turnbuckles. Those don’t exist on a Mini. Metal is far too heavy and is frowned upon. A piece of Dyneema is simply threaded back and forth through two eyes, then put under tension with your entire weight. You are saving weight, but the system is much rougher and it takes a lot of time to recreate an exact mast setup.

The keel and the rudders are now red. The reason for that is, should things go south, they are easier to spot from the air.
And back into the water …

Two weeks ago, I noticed that my French antifouling did not get along with the Baltic. A smooth hull has less resistance and sails faster; mine was neither smooth nor fast. After diving under the hull, a series of cuts on my arms and legs made it pretty obvious that a few mussels were along for the ride. So, out of the water and into full-scale sanding action. 100, 150, 240, 360, 100 … Three all-nighters later the hull was smooth again.

It seems like there is always something that needs to be improved, repaired or tweaked. Thankfully, sometimes things go slightly faster. Like the reprogramming of the VHF and AIS. The German dealer wanted me to send the units to him, so he could forward them to the French factory. Time needed: 3 to 4 weeks. The French technician only said: “I want you Germans to stop sending me shit,” and gave me a key combination on the phone. Time needed: 2 minutes.

By now I have completely disassembled the boat at least once. The only thing missing are the electronics, of which I am also slightly afraid. Those will probably need catching up on during the winter.

There is still four weeks left until the first regatta, which starts in Malmø. Until then I will keep exploring the boat. Unfortunately; I haven’t had a chance to take the boat out in heavy breeze, otherwise I am getting quite good at controlling her quirks. But of course, one can always get a little better, smoother, faster …