Many yachts over the years fall into recognised categories or classes.

There are Maxis for instance, generally yachts over 71ft, and then there are Mini Maxis as well – big boats just under that length. You may have heard of Micro Yachts – those under 5.5 metres. Yachts of 5.5 to 7 metres are all called Minis.

Classe Mini 6.50 solo racing yachts are an exciting and very popular, mainly French, high-profile development class. A few current generation sailors assume a Mini only refers to a 6.50 racing yacht. This is completely incorrect. History shows us otherwise. This 6.50 Class did not term the phrase Mini for a yacht. Minis existed in sailing many years before their first ever event in 1977.

The Classe Mini 6.50 French organisation adopted the term “Mini” sometime after 1985, from the original event, the Solo Mini Transat of 1977. This Mini Transat in turn adopted the name Mini from the very popular class of “Mini TON” IOR yachts of the day. (Any yacht with less than 16.5ft IOR rating).

Mini Ton yachts were successfully racing as a class over two years before Bob Salmon decided to announce his first Mini Transat. Mini Ton yachts entered that race. These solo transat yachts were restricted to a similar size as IOR Mini Ton yachts of the day. Racing solo yachts of this size followed the same philosophy of the IOR Mini Ton yachts. Affordable fun for all!

The Mini Ton Class racing yachts simply became known as Mini racers or Minis. They became so popular, that around 2500 yachts were built from 1975 through to the late 80s. There were at least 15 popular production boat versions, not to mention all the one offs. All Minis! Many are still racing as fleets to this day. The spirit of Mini Ton yachts is alive and well.

The unique identity of the Classe Mini 6.50 is in the Classe 6.50 – NOT the Mini which is a generic term in the English language meaning anything of a small, reduced, or miniature size. In sailing, the Mini Class of yacht is recognised as any yacht from 5.5 to 7 metres.

When we first launched the Class Globe 5.80 it was called the Class Mini 5.80. It was to be a one design class, 5.80 metres long and a Mini… hence the name. The 5.80 could never be confused with a Class Mini 6.50 because we are plywood, conservative, shorter, and a completely different design with global aspirations.

Before launching the ClassMini 5.80 we showed our friends and some 6.50 sailors for opinions. They all loved it! We checked if there were any other registered Mini names similar. There were none, so we launched. Later a few Classe Mini 6.50 sailors thought there may be confusion with them. This was not our intention, or desire, as we planned to establish a standalone global brand in countries around the world. We were happy to change the name.

Our signature event is the Mini Globe Race. It creates history as the first ever Mini Race around the world. All Globe 5.80 yachts are Minis, as are all other yachts from 5.5 to 7 metres. We are happy to support Mini sailing, once again delivering more affordable fun for all.

E-Boat was originally designed as an offshore one design and predates the Mini Ton Class, but happens to be the right size as it was conceived to be the smallest that would measure under the IOR rule.

Designer Julian Everitt
The E-Boat Mini Ton. One entered the 1977 Mini Transat and many E-Boat Mini Ton Class plywood yachts are still racing today. Plans are still available through the class website. Production boats still available (2016) from Vela 77 (Italy). Picture: Sailboat Data.
In 1975 the Mirage 5.5 production Mini Ton yacht went on to produce 500 units! That’s a lot of Minis. The brilliant Pogo yachts in France have produced 283 impressive Classe Mini 6.50 yachts in 25 years. Minis were popular too back in the 1980s. Over 200 Monark 700 Production Mini Ton yachts were built. Picture Sailboat: Data.