McIntyre Globe 5.80 Transat 2023: Plywood home-built minis race solo across Atlantic

  • Second Edition Globe 5.80 Transat: Start 25th November from Rubicon Marina, Lanzarote
  • Qualifier for first-ever small-boat round-the-world race: McIntyre Mini Globe 2025
  • Five entries confirmed. Two US-Minis arrive in Portugal
  • British 5.80 hopes for ‘express delivery’ to make start
  • Dan Turk (CAN) sailing ‘Little Bae’ from Canada to Portugal, challenged with strong winds and large seas

Sailing alone across the Atlantic is a feat in itself, but the sailors of the Globe 5.80 Transat are setting the bar even higher: Buy plans for a 5.8 metre mini-yacht for €300, get some good plywood and fibreglass, build the boat in your garage, then race it solo across the Atlantic!

This unique one-design, ‘home-built class’ has taken off since it was first launched in late 2019 by Australian sailor Don McIntyre. With 223 builders in 24 countries, the design has caught the imagination of adventurers who seek to sail around the world – or just around the bay.

The Globe 5.80 Transat, a 3,500-mile race across the Atlantic, is now back for the second time and excitement is building. 

The first edition ran in 2021 from Lagos, Portugal, to Rubicon Marina in Lanzarote, Canaries, and then to Antigua in the Caribbean. The race took an average of 27 days to cross the Atlantic and was won by the Swiss sailor and adventurer Etienne Messikommer on his 5.80 ‘Numbatou’. Don McIntyre won the seniors division in 28 days (as the only senior entered) aboard his ‘Trekka’. 

The 2023 edition is the first of two qualifying Solo-Transat races for provisional entrants for the biggest-ever, tiny-boat adventure race in sailing history: The McIntyre Mini Globe 2025 (MGR).

Organiser of the (GGR) and (OGR), Don McIntyre, will start his most ambitious event ever, the (MGR) in early 2025. Eighteen sturdy 19 ft home-built Minis have already signed up to race solo around the world. 

These little ocean-going yachts are truly quite special and there’s no other boat like it in the world. Only 5.8 mtrs long, super strong, fun to sail and specifically designed to race in the MGR solo around the world.

Don McIntyre, Class Founder

Over the next six months, the 5.80 Class Association expects another fourteen minis to hit the water, including five from Australia. They are all planning to sail in the MGR.

But to become an official MGR entrant, the sailors must first complete the Globe 5.80 Transat

Here is all you need to know for the upcoming 2023 edition of the McIntyre Globe 580 Transat. 

The official race dates have now been confirmed by the race organisers. The mini-fleet will leave Marina del Lagos, Portugal on Sunday, November 12th for a five to six-day qualifying voyage to Rubicon Marina, Lanzarote. 

The race will then start on Saturday, November 25th for the big crossing to Falmouth Bay, Antigua. Their arrival is expected just before Christmas. Lutz Kohne, who was in charge of the inaugural 2021 Globe 580 Transat, continues as Race Director for the coming edition. He has just returned from his own solo Atlantic crossing to qualify for the Golden Globe Race 2026.

Five sailors have fully registered for the race: Niels Kamphuis (NED) with ‘Biggest Monkey’ (Hull No. 163), Michael Moyer (USA) with ‘Sunbear’ (Hull No. 079), Jack Johnson (USA) with ‘Right Now’ (Hull No. 113), Keith Oliver (GBR) with Meraki (Hull No. 178) and Ertan Beşkardeş (GBR) with ‘Trekka’ (Hull No. 001).

‘Trekka’, the class’ prototype built in Poland, swapped hands from race founder Don McIntyre to the former GGR-sailor Ertan Beşkardeş (GBR) earlier this year.

Ertan Beşkardeş on board Trekka (Hull 01)

After selling his Rustler 36 ‘Lazy Otter’, Ertan Beşkardeş contacted Don to ask if ‘Trekka’ was still available. An agreement was reached quickly. Within a few weeks, Ertan got Hull No. 1 back in the water and sailed from Les Sables d’Olonne, France across the Bay of Biscay south towards Lagos. The proud new owner who is getting in position for the MGR with his participation in the upcoming Transat. 

Niels Kamphuis on board ‘Biggest Monkey’ during his Biscay Crossing

Following his wake across Biscay, the Dutch 5.80 ‘Biggest Monkey’, sailed by lifelong sailor Niels Kamphuis (NED), completed a successful first voyage from Brest, France to Lagos. 

“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you,” says Biggest Monkey’s well-prepared Dutchman. He’s certainly in pole position to achieve his big dream – sailing alone across the Atlantic. 

Michael Moyer on board ‘Sunbear’ during her maiden voyage with friend and competitor Jack as crew

Two other 5.80’s have already crossed the Atlantic to make the start. Not on their own keel, but piggybacking on a container ship from California to Portugal. Michael Moyer’s (USA) ‘Sunbear’ and Jack Johnson’s (USA) ‘Right Now’ are about to arrive in Lagos and ready to taste Atlantic saltwater after a long boat-building journey on the Pacific coast. The pair will make for an interesting match race on their way back to home waters.

British entrant Keith Oliver is currently fighting to win the race-to-the-race before he can join the ‘real’ one. Challenged by time and delays, he has just finished building his ‘Meraki’ and is about to launch Hull No. 178 for the first test sail. He has less than one month to get all systems running and make the start of the qualifier in Lagos on November 12th. Every day counts now to get valuable miles in the wake before the big jump! 

Lifting the hull out of the garden in June – ‘Meraki’ / Keith Oliver
Keith Oliver’s ‘Meraki’, finished, painted and ready for adventure!

A big jump like Dan Turk (CAN) did aboard his 5.80 ‘Little Bae’ this summer – but the other way around! After slipping lines in foggy Halifax, Nova Scotia in early July, he sailed 4.000 miles across the North Atlantic from west to east via the Azores. He reported sailing with big whales, weathering strong gusts and large seas as well as sailing under spinnaker for days. 

Little Bea / Dan Turk, Stopover in Flores, Azores

Little Bea sailing on the North Atlantic Ocean

While not entered in the Transat, his journey confirmed the main target of the Class Globe 5.80 design: A solid little boat ready for a solid big adventure. A boat that is absolutely capable for the world’s first mini round the world race in 2025. 

More information about the Class 5.80 and all events on