Dan Dytch shows us his Proto Mini

Tour of the Axel de Beaufort-designed Soitec
While Pip Hare is the sole British competitor in the Series class in this year’s Charente Maritime-Bahia Transat 6.50, so Lymington’s Dan Dytch is the lone Brit in the Proto class. Dytch, 29, says he has wanted to take part in the Mini Transat since his early teens when the likes of Ellen MacArthur and Mark Turner competed. As his final year project, part of his engineering degree, he worked on a Simon Rogers-designed Proto being built for another Lymington resident, Craig Thompson. “After that I had the bug and I wanted to do it myself,” he recalls. As a sailor Dytch has grown up sailing dinghies, Cadets and Optimists before getting into Lasers. He subsequently raced on yachts in the UK before embarking on a career seven years ago, working on board large yachts. This has included time on a Swan 601 and more recently in the Wally fleet, where typically when racing he does bow. “So I go from the biggest boats to the smallest boat,” he quips. 2011 is Dytch’s third year in the Mini. In his first year he sailed an older Proto, 312, Night Fever, which he worked on extensively and took part in a few races keeping the boat in the UK. Last year he moved the boat to Lorient from where he raced and took part in the local Mini training group. He competed in the Mini class’ Les Sables d’Olonne-Azores-Les Sables d’Olonne race and following his result in that was chosen to become the new skipper of Soitec, a substantially newer Mini, campaigned in the 2009 transatlantic race by Fabien Després. Having changed boat Dytch then had to requalify for this year’s Mini Transat. “It was worth it – this boat is so much better,” he says. This season Dytch has been