Ok, some one was so smart to place a photo of the first canting keel mini somewere on the internet, so i hassled him/her/it for more information. I got some nice material from this source, and not more photos, unfortunaly...
After i had this info, i contacted Conq, MichDes and the original owner of the mini involved. Both Conq and MichDes replied very quickly, hence this article.
And big thanks to Moody Frog for starting this with one photo... LeoV
First info from Moody Frog i got:
Following Gilles Chiorri's win in the 1987 mini-transat; Jean-Hervé Mer, then captain of the Rothschild fleet where Gilles worked, ordered a mini 6.5 for his own use from Jacques Fauroux who had just designed "Gitana Sixty" 8m IR world champion in '87.
This fixed keel design was Fauroux first venture in the minis.
The boat was built by the Benoit Lucas yard in Brest (who had built the 84 figaro winner and the Kelt 28 catamaran proto among other boats), she was launched as
"Cavalier" in '89.
Jacques Caraës of ClubMed, Mari-Cha IV and Orange fame, then Gitanas N°1, entered the boat in the 89 Mini-Transat (won by the early Finot design Thom Pousse) where he finished 7th.
In view of the '91 Mini-Transat, Michel Desjoyeaux (winner of the Lorient-StBarth Figaro race with J.Caraës that year, and 2nd in the Figaro behind Parlier) bought the boat and had it drastically modified at his brothers CDK yard (then the leading
Formula 40 yard, with J.Le Cam "Biscuit Cantreau")
They replace the fixed keel by the first offshore canting-keel system, and
introduce the rotating forward bowsprit for Spinnakers, an idea they had developped on the Formula 40s tris
Michel breaks twice his steering system, shortly after the start and again
along the spanish coast, he then wins the second stage from Funchal to Fort-de-France
You can find further info at:
As you see : a piece of history !
Where is the boat now ? Would be good to know !!!!
Comment from Michel DESJOYEAUX
What I know is : Pascal CONQ made in 1982 a Micro Cuper (5.5meters inshore
racer) with canting keel.
Harken made and launched in 1991 a cruiser "concept boat" wich was with,
winglet canting keel, bipode mast, on rams. This concept boat had a canting
keel to be able to keep the boat horizontal while sailing, by assist trimming sails and keel angle, for example to keep a bottle of wine on the table...
In the same time, I made the first offshore race with a Mini Transat in 1991. I broke my rudders in the first leg, and won the second leg. Your story above is correct. The story about adjustable bow spirit is also true, I was the first boat like that.
Then Isabelle Autissier made an Open 60 Berret design, next year. And the show goes on. That's all.
I don't know where is this boat actually. I sold it in 1992, it was named
Militsa and raced in 1993 under colors of UNAPEI.
Its number is 29. Don't know more
Comment of Pasqual Conq (Groupe Finot- Naval Architect)
In 1982 with 2 buddies, I designed and constructed a Micro cupper that was called Urgent,with a canting keel. I was thinking it was the first canting keeler ever build. (More info Bateaux sail magazine on the Micro of 1982 and 1984).
Our research of stability involved crew displacing, stacking (all loose material inside boat) and a canting keel. It is a very heavy part of the boat that is geometrically easy to move from side to side.
Then we designed a canting keel for Michel Desjoyaux in 1989 on a Faroux minitransat and for Isabelle Autissier on her first Open 60, a design of Berret.
Then in 1997 Christophe Auguin participates in the Vendée Globe on a 60 feet with
canting keel drawn totally by our office. It is the first boat to accomplish a tour of the world with this system.
One can increase the stability of the boat considerably, 50% more then normal keel in the best case. This while increasing the mass of the boat little. (system about 5% of the weight of the boat).
So be carrying more sails, a gain of speed upto 15%.
The system of the keel permits it to adapt quickly to the conditions of navigation's.
1-A lot of complexity around the axes. New source of mechanical problems that must not be treated to the light. Conception, manufacture and placement must be of a big quality.
2-A cumbersome system in the center of the boat, that also poses a problem of water tightness.
4-The lift force of a cantingkeel is bad, so you have to install a more complicated daggerboard.
NOTE: 29 still sailing in Mini Races, and yes Conq is not the first inventor of the canting keel, Hereshoff in the end of 1800 had the patent for that already, and a cruising style boat by Young had a canting keel in the 70´s, but not a through hull system.
And read Conq words carefully, he mention: "I thought"
Lets celebrate him for the first effective introduction of the canting keel in the world of offshore sailing, and what an effect it had :)