ML5..the link between model and fullsize!

You have seen the 2.4m class and martin 16 class where the helmsman sits in a seat and sails these minature keelboats.
I am pleased to announce that Doug Lord and myself are developing our own minature keelboat with some new innovations not seen before on a boat of this type.
The ML5 is 5 metres long and displaces 350kg(with crew of one) with a 150kg CANTING keel.Modern full headed mainsail and a Assy spinnaker.
This baby will really fly and will be capable of beating larger crewed yachts around the racetrack.All whilst sailing from the comfort of our seat.No hiking out,no hard work.just finger tip control.15 years old or 60 years old it will make no diffrence in the ML5,you will win or lose on your sailing skill not physical prowess.
Model meets full size in this true 21st century flying machine.(see attached image)
we welcome your comments on the merits or otherwise of this project.

Download Attachment: ML5.gif

I hope this design is self bailing. Sportboats are wet rides when pushed to the edge. Also, at speed wipe outs can pin you over for a while which could be interesting while seated down low. I wouldn’t want to be blasting downwind and piercing waves with water over the bow rapidly filling up the boat to the point of negative buoyancy.

Other than that, I think it?s a great idea! Looking forward to splashdown!



Self bailing with an Elvstrom type bailer -unless we come up with a better solution; the cockpit area will be isolated in such a way that the boat could not fill up with water and sink no matter what happened. At this size the crew has to be fairly low but we still have a lot of details to look at.
The key thing we are attempting to do is provide an exciting “Volvo 60” like ride in a small boat singlehanded with the least physical exertion possible.I built a 14’ tri once where you reclined back in it and the sensation of speed with your eyes close to the water is extraordinary! Sure it will be wet in stronger wind: it will provide close to the speed of a doublehanded boat with a single trapeze.
The weight equalization system is quite unique and allows single crew up to 220lb.'s to be competitive with much lighter crews-and there is more to it than that:for now suffice it to say that this boat is extremely powerfull–much more so than the little 2.4 meter boats or the Martin 16…

Doug Lord
High Technology Sailing/Racing

More to the point, how the hell are you gonna see to steer when theres a bit of chop throwing spray everywhere?! Also with a low veiw on things its going to be hard to work the waves upwind and down effectively. Its gonna end up smacking into alot of waves upwind, and anything over say 3 foot it will probaly go right through like most fast dingys of its size would. Seems like a nice idea for flat water though.

If its not blowing it sucks!

Matthew, in some respects we have to think like dinghy sailors to design this boat(which we both are) but dinghy sailors have to think like Volvo 60 sailors to sail it well…

Doug Lord
High Technology Sailing/Racing

Here we go again!!! Don Martin, desinger of the Martin 16, is a truly great guy. Besides designing a number of successful big boats, he designed and races an IOM and was the principal force behind this year’s IOM Worlds in Vancouver. Even more important though he has been one of the major forces behind sailing for the physically challenged and has coached the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams. His design and charitable record is truly remarkable and he is modest and genorous to a fault.

So please, when promoting yet another new, unsailed and untested boat, dont’t start claiming that it is “more powerful” or better or whatever to Don Martin’s boat. Let your project stand or fall on its own merit

The Martin 16 is one of the coolest little keelboats around!
I have nothing but respect for Mr. Martin and his design especially what the boat has done for sailors with special needs.
In fact, I seriously considered purchasing that boat a while ago and still think it is a great boat.
It has servd to some extent as inspiration for this new boat that will be quite different from the Martin 16 using a canting keel, modern square top rig and other design features never seen on a small keelboat…
There is no question that the new boat is more powerfull(more length,more sail area, more power to carry sail) than the Martin 16 since it makes maximum use of movable ballast and new sail design technology. It is also true that it will be more expensive than the Martin 16.
This is no criticism of the Martin 16 ;it is simply a statement of fact and a presentation of an entirely new concept in small keelboats.

Doug Lord
High Technology Sailing/Racing

does anybody remember the little 12s , that where around in 83. they were copies on ac boats and you the person , provide the balast in the boat. i got to sail one for a saturday and it was a blast. you had to look up to see the head of the mailsail.(staight up) i was just wondering if they are still being made? I will not give up my dutchman. i did it once but never again. I like standing on my boat

LLoyd, the Norlin 2.4 Class is a world wide racing class these days(not weight equalized unfortunately) and boats are built in this country by Gavia Yachts.
The ML 5 would be weight equalized and the highest performance -bar none- of the all the singlehanded keelboats I know of based on sail area, weight and righting moment.
PS- thats really cool that you sail a Dutchman-one of the first boats I crewed on as a kid-a real blast! Do you race actively?
Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Any news on the ML5?

Matt- nothing new for now but design an development are continuing up here and down under…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

2 models are being built to test a few things at present.(1/4 scale)
I have completed the hull lines and have been playing around with different things on a VPP programme.
All going well a prototype could be built this coming winter.( southern hemisphere)

I raced my dutchman when i was stupid and a kid. you can realy get hurt when the boat dumps on you . I cant remember how many times i hit my head on the f en mast. but i did do some competative racing. it was fun , but i had to sell mine because i wanted to get married and you know women . they want a ring
i have a used one now but will have to let it go , its been hit to many times , and with a wife I need something more stable and just fun to steer


As a former 2.4 metre sailer I have for some time been thinking of a project along similar line to your own (mine being based more upon the current AC class).
I would be keen to learn more about your project and as to what direction you would like to see it take (ie - One design, Development class)
Send us an e-mail and I could maybe send you some info on my own project.

The little 12’s, as named them, are actually named Illusion, I know this as my father owns one of them, they are designed by an Englishman called Jo Richards and an Australian called Neil Graham. Unlike the 2.4m’s it has a keel like a real 12, tappered mast, overlapping Genoa, spinnaker and double sets of spreaders. It is harder to sail than the 2.4 as it has a few more controls, spinnaker gear & adjustable back stay.

Hey Doug,
Your so called “modern square top rig” is pretty old now as it has been around for ages on skiffs & other good yachts!


are there any pictures of websites that could be posted of the mini 12’s. I saw some stuff on them a long long time ago and I remember not being able to find any information on them. They looked really fun to sail. If ya can post some info and pictures of the mini 12 and it would be much appreciated.


As my father owns an Illusion (CORRECT NAME, NOT MINI 12’S AS ALL OF YOU HAVE BEEN CALLING THEM) So I have a lot of photos of ours!
In Australian Sailing issue January 1982 there is an article on how it was first thought up & there are pictures of it in there as well.

Download Attachment: [ Illusion 0.jpg]( 0.jpg)

Regards Rob,

Here are some more!!![:-bonc01]
The Illusion is 12ft LOA, the idea behind the Illusion was to produce a yacht that would be ideal for single-handed match racing. It should handle like a real yacht, and shouldn’t cost to much (now not true as price is $5000+). It couldn’t be a complete replica as it would fall over so it has 70% more draft than the real thing. Also the mast had to come back a bit for the helmsman to be able to put the kite pole onto the mast.

Download Attachment: Illusion.jpg

I was invited to an event held at the indoor pool at the university of Michigan where they set up some fans and match raced mini 12s in the pool. It was pretty silly, but the managed to have a round robin followed by an elimination series in the course of an afternoon.

With some better fans and a slightly bigger pool, it could have been a really cool event.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Theres a simalar thing going on at the London boat show at the moment in the pool, unfortunately i missed most of the action when I went monday. The boats they were going to be using looked like 2.4m’s, looked like fun…

Luff 'em & leave 'em.