Nick Bubb, the young British Mini sailor who qualified for this year's Mini Transat but failed to secure an entry, is ready to give it another go

Nick Bubb, the young British Mini sailor who qualified for this year’s Mini Transat but failed to secure an entry, is ready to give it another go and prepare for Mini Transat 2005. This talented 25-year-old from Suffolk, has spent over two years campaigning for the Mini Transat but has yet to secure a place on the start line. He qualified initially for this year’s race in the original boat he purchased with a student loan, but decided to have a new Seb Magnen design built. See news story here. He then qualified in that boat and notched up a respectable string of results along the way but, despite being at the top of the entry waiting list, was unable to compete.

Despite the obvious disappointment about not being able to compete see news story here Bubb returned to the UK and set about his next challenge – the 2005 Mini Transat. The obvious choice of boat was a Sam Manuard design that had just won the first leg of the race and led the second. But Bubb eventually decided to go for a British Rogers design, commenting: “It was a tough decision but there were lots of positive aspects about gong for the Rogers design. As well as building the boat I’m working with Simon Rogers on design promotion. The other thing that swayed me in to my decision was the fact that Simon’s quite keen to investigate mast design options. Plus Dave Ovington in Newcastle gave me the go ahead to start on the build immediately.”

Built using carbonfibre throughout, this boat is a development taken from the same mould as the boat Brian Thompson used in the 2001 event (6th overall), and the boat in which Jonathan McKee used in this year’s race (leading until dismasted). According to Bubb there are several niggly changes to the hull but the main developments will be in the rig. Bubb added: “I’m working closely with John Parker on the rig development and between us we have many ideas we hope to incorporate so it should be fairly exciting. But we can’t finalise anything until the class rules in rig changes have been agreed at the class AGM at the Paris Boat Show on 10 December.”

Bubb’s plan is to go for a rotating wing section but the exact configuration and the size of the cord has yet to be determined. While a larger cord gives it more structural strength Bubb is keen to have a good balance so the wing doesn’t become too powerful. Bubb continued: “A lot of the guys in the class are not going for the wing section because it really only provides big advantages upwind in 10kts – optimum sailing conditions. But if we’re able to have a lighter rig, then we could have a lighter bulb and probably save 30/40kg on the overall weight.”

Like McKee’s boat, this new boat will incorporate the fully adjustable keel system which Rogers came up with to allow the keel to move fore and aft (a maximum of 1.3m) on a track system in a keel box. So as well as canting the keel, the boat can be trimmed fore and aft as well which makes a big difference when going flat out downwind.

So just five weeks in to the build the hull and deck are ready to be released from the moulds and bulkheads will be in place over the next couple of weeks. She’ll then be transported to Medusa Marine boatyard in Suffolk for completion and ready for an early April 2004 launch. Bubb plans to qualify as soon as possible to ensure an early entry in to the race, adding: “The first race of next season is the Select 650, which is a solo 350-mile race around Brittany. I’ll then do my qualifier for the third time [he says laughing] and then the Mini Fastnet and that will be me done.”

In the meantime however, Bubb plans to have a couple of days off starting tomorrow when he heads out to Le Havre to watch the Transat Jacques Vabre monohull start. He’ll then head for Brazil to the finish and sail Hellomoto, Conrad Humphreys and Paul Larsen’s Open 50 back to the UK. Bubb concluded: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me because one day I hope to get involved with this sort of racing. I really want to get as much open 50 and 60 experience as possible, so for me this is a really good start.”