Prototypes:

Actually the Open 6.5 Class is a "low-limits" class, the limits are on overall size and material and more. The designer works within a "box" rule, for more detailed rules see the design section. Those boats are called proto, or prototype.

These boats and their designs are getting tuned all the time, in their life span they can change quit a lot. A few of the designers active are Finot, Magnen, Rolland, Lombard, Rogers and numerous others. Some Proto designs are similar to each other, same mould, drawings and construction makes the price less. For instance you have the Dephemerides and the Dephemerid'eux who came out of the same mould a few years later. But they are always at least slightly different. They came first and second in the 1995 Mini Transat. One sailed in '99, the other won in 2003 !.

And then there are some plans adapted for home-building and easy of construction. Look for the Lucas CPmini, Rolland and Didi Mini etc. See the Proto Buying page for them. Normally very easy construction means slower.

There is a healthy amount of older designs sailing around. In the 1999 race year the oldest Mini racing in the circuit was out of '87. In 2001 a 1985 design competed. And that one showed up in 2003 again, and it was not even the oldest design.

For more statistics off protos look here.. & for winning designers look here

What makes this class so special, i will focus on the boats, the community is awfully good, but hard to describe :).
The SPEEDDDDDD, the POWERRRR, the HARDSHIPPPP.
Ok, you can top 20 knots (Speed and power), in a very small boat, alone, at the ocean(hardship). Its the only offshore class with a fast dinghy feeling...

Now you have a little feeling for what the boats look like, and do not forget the huge sails on a mast almost twice the length of the boat. Do you want to own such a boat see the page Proto Buying for several ways how to obtain a mini.

Lets see some figures from a real proto, sailed by Podesta in 2003

Sail Number

ITA 303

Project

Sébastien MAGNEN /Bernard Nivelt

Building

Profil Composites - Arcachon (FR), July 2000

Record

3° TRANSAT 6.50 2001 / 8° TRANSAT 6.50 2003
Sister boat of the winner of both stages of Transat 2001

Characteristics

Carbon sandwich construction both for the deck and the hull.
Centreboard plate in autoclave-laminated carbon - 35° up-and-over keel. Carbon daggerboard in front of the mast - auto-steerable by 5°.
2 Carbon rudders.
Inertial ballast in two sections located in front of the centreboard step.
Internal autopilot with release control on the deck.

Electronics

Automatic pilot Autohelm 6000 + Autohelm 4000
Log - depth gauge : Autohelm
GPS: MLR FX 312
VHF: ICOM IC-M45EURO
Radar blip reflecting circle
Mer Veille

Power

Internal control panel - Counterbox on deck
lightweight wiring
Solar Panel: 50 Watts webasto
2 Batteries

Equipment

Spectra sheets - Spectra / Vectran halyards
Vectran shrouds wheels and backstay
Mast in aluminium profile 2 Kg/m with 3 rows of carbon cross-trees
Carbon boom and bowsprit (prepreg 120° construction)

Sails

1 main-sail three reef coats 30 sq.m.
1 reefable jib 13 sq.m.
1 drifter 20 sq.m.
1 front light gennaker 90 sq.m.
1 front medium gennaker 75 sq.m.
1 stay heavy gennaker 55 sq.m.
1 storm-jib
1 storm main-sail 2