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Mini Top Sailboats

These models of the 60-foot Route du Rhum monohulls, designed and built by Luc Coquelin and Chantal Foligné, have been brightening up the Marina since the arrival of these famous sailors. The Coquelin Team is now proposing weekly mini-regattas at the weekend for everyone.

With the same base as a Mini J, these small boats (2m60 long by 1m23 wide) are unsinkable. They are steered by pedals instead of a rudder, and cleats on the roof allow access to the foresail, mainsail and spinnaker sheets. Equipped with a carbon mast and a bulb keel, they remain very easy to use and give equal pleasure to beginners and seasoned sailors alike. They appeal to all age groups and provide an interesting initiation-to-sailing tool. They have also been serving as a kind of sailing school.

Feedback from one of these Sunday mini regattas: “Built in marine plywood and epoxy resin, the Mini Top is a small single-seater monohull which offers a lot of pleasure to its skipper, while remaining open to everyone, even if you’ve never captained a boat, or even been a crewmember!

« We’re at the Marina Bas du Fort, and there are six Mini Top on the water, as well as a semi-rigid skippered by Chantal which ferries us out to take the place of those who have been battling it out for the last hour between the mangrove and the last green channel markers for the Marina. After several cross-dockings with those curious to try it out, we take the pulse of our Sunday amusement. Some are battle-hardened to the subject, other novices have sailed just a little, but the support is there. We collide, we sheet in the main and the headsail with two lines underneath the nose and the feet on the pedals, maneuvering the rudder to go about.

« My neighbor has never been on a boat; Chantal advises him on the spot and gives him a few tips. After a few tries, we’re neck and neck. There follow several swerves, delicately done with the feet, keeping the main sheet in the hand to soften the wake, releasing the rudder as quick as possible. We’re on a flat sea – a buoy appears and the leaders round it, beating downwind, followed by the rest.

« The Mini Top is well balanced with a deep keel which allows the skipper to keep dry. It also knows how to respond downwind when you allow it to fly with the big asymmetric spinnaker outside. Hoisting and furling are done in the cockpit on the knees. The halyard and the self-tacking are done with a single control, and the sheet is just centimeters away from either hand for trimming.”

Discover the Mini Top:  Every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7p.m. in front of the Capitainerie at the Marina Bas du Fort.

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