Rán 5 - latest Mini Maxi

Nico Martinez / Gaastra PalmaVela
Tim Powell gives up the guided tour to Niklas Zennstrom's new weapon
Winning all but two races at Gaastra PalmaVela after just two weeks in the water, proved that Niklas Zennström’s brand new Rán V has set a new benchmark in the Mini Maxi class. Launched in 2009, the original Rán II, now Roberto Tommasini Grinover’s Robertissima, was clearly one of the most successful race boats of her time, with a career that included two Rolex Fastnet Race overall victories plus an impressive four Mini Maxi World Championship titles. However five years old – an impressive amount of time to remain competitive – the boat was at times beginning to show her age. As Skipper and Team Leader, Tim Powell explains: “We felt that the old boat had a very good career, but it was being a bit superseded. In some conditions that boat is super fast, but over a whole range, particularly offshore, it was starting to struggle, losing stability.” Their previous Mini Maxi apparently used to struggle in light airs, but after shedding some weight and various other mods ended up performing well particularly in these conditions, particularly sub-11/12 knots. Fortunately this is what they saw last September in Porto Cervo, the team’s last regatta in the boat before it was sold to her new Italian owner. Compared to some Mini Maxi campaigns, which stock a rich armoury of rigs, sails, keels, etc, the original Rán was relatively modest and, for example, still has her original rig. The boat was fitted with a new fin in 2012 when the newer Judel Vrolijk designs Bella Mente and Stig came out with slightly deeper draught. As Tim Powell says of the old boat: “I think Judel Vrolijk got it pretty right with that boat, straight off the drawing board. That means you didn’t have to do as much optimisation afterwards.” And still she performs – at