mini6.5/Jonathan McKee

Right now in the Atlantic a race called the mini-Transat is taking place in the smallest ocean racers that I know of : the mini 6.5 meter-21’ footers. 62 boats are still out there in a race started by the French and dominated by them for years; it is sort of a training ground for racing Open 50’s and 60’s with many great sailors having made their mark in this class first.
This year an American,Jonathan McKee sailing a unique boat designed by Britisher Simon Rogers has won many of the races on the 6.5 circuit and was in the lead of the mini-transat until yesterday when he got into trouble;the speculation being that he lost his mast. Jonathan was almost to Brazil when this happened…
The obligatory model related comtent is that I have been talking to Simon Rogers, designer of the boat, by phone and e-mail regarding licensing his unique canting keel design-a design that is very ,very fast. The canting keel on McKee’s boat is controlled by hand from the cockpit and not only moves side to side but fore and aft as well.If I use it it will be on the F100CBTF that I’m getting ready to build. The mini 6.5’s are very much like models in that they have a severe tendency to pitchpole off the wind.Simon’s design virtually eliminates pitchpole by allowing the keel to be moved aft while canted BY HAND. It is also set up to be able to be moved forward(of the design positon for upwind) in light air…
I wish Jonathan well!

Doug Lord
High Technology Sailing/Racing

Cast your mind back to the last race, a kiwi Chris Sayers finished second in a home built wooden boat. The French changed the qualifying rules early this year which knocked his entry out when they heard about his specailly design carbon flyer, obviously wanting to get the trophy in France. He is shallowing the fleet starting after them and was in “2nd in to port on the first leg”. I have not heard of his progress on this leg.
Once again “Kiwi’s can do it”