A little while ago, a sailing enthusiast, let’s call her ABC for simplicity’s sake, approached me about the Mini Transat. The reason and aim of the question were: A few years ago, I had supported a young sailor to cross the finish line of the Mini Transat. Could ABC do the same, meaning: finish the Mini Transat?
ABC was completely serious and had a big goal in mind, a seemingly overpowering goal. How, where and what to start with? And when? What do I have to think about? And can I afford it at all?
In this article, I explain how I was able to help ABC approach the dream of participating in a Mini Transat in a structured way and make a decision. And that with just a few steps.
Background info: Mini Transat
The Mini Transat is a regatta from France across the Atlantic, finishing (currently) in the Caribbean. It takes place every other year. The regatta is divided into two legs, with a stopover in the Canary Islands.
The special thing about it: the boats are only 6.5m long and 3.0m wide, but they are built exactly for this kind of ocean regatta. The original aim of the regatta was to enable participants with a manageable budget to take part in an ocean regatta. In the meantime, however, budgets are usually well over EUR 50,000, usually even in the six-figure range.
You can read more about this on the official Mini Transat website or on the Classe Mini page.
Why are things not moving forward for ABC?
Back to ABC and the reasons why I was asked for support. I want to mention this explicitly because the reasons may not only apply to a Mini Transat project, but to all imaginable ideas, plans, wishes and dreams.
To keep it short, these five points are the main reasons for ABC’s indecision:
- I honestly don’t know how I am supposed to manage this time-intensive project in addition to my everyday life (mainly family, but also job and friends)
- there is going to be a money problem, because neither can I completely give up my job nor do I have enough reserves to fund an entire Mini Transat project
- so many topics and questions about sailing, organisation, rules, requirements are buzzing around in my head, it seems absolutely overwhelming and not at all feasible for me
- and from that: what would I have to start with? Why bother with it if in the end the money is missing? Or what’s the point of raising money if I can’t manage it in terms of time or sailing?
- moreover, I have real difficulties in setting priorities with so many open points.
The first goal: to make a decision as to whether the Mini Transat project should be tackled or remain a dream.
Our steps to the decision-making process
Since we were both already somewhat familiar with the topic of Mini Transat, we started brainstorming directly without a more extensive research. The rough steps to ABC’s decision sound quite simple:
1. brainstorming (incl. creating a mind map)
2. evaluating the topics on the mind map / gap analysis
3. brainstorming for the issues marked as “serious problems”
4. ABC’s decision.
1. Brainstorming: everything that comes to mind regarding a Mini Transat project
In a very entertaining session, we wrote down numerous topics on a flipchart. We then sorted them on a mind map and made a first quick assessment (delete or keep).
A few items we detailed in a table for better clarity (including possible costs and budget). This kind of detailed work should not normally be part of a brainstorming session, but for us it was important at this point.
2. Evaluation of the topics on the mind map
All the things we had thought of during the brainstorming we looked at again after a few days. Some things were added, corrected, deleted, then it was time to evaluate all (!) the listed points.
ABC was now supposed to mark each point on the mind map in one of three different colours:
- green: no problem, I can do it already or I know an easy solution to it
- yellow: more effort required or a medium problem, but manageable and solution is known
- red: a showstopper, a really serious problem for which no solution can be seen at the moment.
Marking items in green was quite easy for ABC. More difficult and involving some discussion was the subdivision into yellow/red.
In the end it became clear that the issues of costs and time are dark red, everything else can be managed or worked on somehow.
3. Finding ideas for the serious problems
Not enough money and definitely not enough time for the Mini Transat, whereby the time problem seemed to weigh even more heavily than the monetary problem.
I asked ABC to keep her hands (and mind) off this project for a fortnight and instead spend a few minutes each day on the 10 Ideas Method. The aim here is to get practice for finding ideas and to increase creativity.
Then, a good two weeks later:
Generate at least ten ideas for the time problem.
Then find at least ten ideas for the money problem.
Afterwards, we broke down these ideas even further and linked them to a very simple activity plan.
4. ABC’s decision
Finding ideas for the issues marked in red seemed to have set in motion a renewed momentum of positive motivation in ABC.
ABC tackled the biggest problem directly and clarified it (family time). This was followed by a joint decision with the family: Yes, we will try.
The first follow-up activity for ABC was to seek talks with Mini Transat sailors and ask about their experience, especially in terms of family, time and costs.
ABC has also already started other activities. The goal has remained the same, only the timing has been adjusted to the Mini Transat 2027.
This topic “Mini Transat for ABC” did not sound like my typical project topics – and yet I considered it as such: a project.
- There was a clear objective,
- we drew up a rough list of requirements, did a gap analysis,
- and defined the first steps to be taken towards the goal,
- including decision-making on whether the project should take place or not.
ABC is now much more relaxed and happy. It has become clear what the important next steps are, everything else will be worked out eventually.
Methodologically, this was kept quite simple, it was just a small structured framework for decision-making. The impact, however, especially for ABC and her surroundings, has been and will be (very likely) positive throughout.
I am very pleased that ABC was able to make a decision based on my support. And I am looking forward to the end of 2027.
By the way: if you are also thinking of planning and sailing a Mini Transat, then feel free to use the mind map above. And if you have any additions (or questions), please let me know.
And for you, are you stuck somewhere, somehow?
The steps taken for and with ABC may seem simple and logical to people who think and act in a structured way. However, if you either don’t relate to a structured approach or simply don’t know how to move forward, for whatever reason, an independent view from the outside can reveal new ideas and paths.
Are you stuck on a project, one of your big wishes, and cannot get any further? Whatever the topic, feel free to contact me.
This Post Has One Comment
I’ve just read your article in which you described how you helped someone with the decision-making process for a Mini Transat Campaign. It is not sailing I have in mind but something else which requires a lot of preparation and planning. Can you help me sort it out? (I mean structure all information so I can make a decision).
many many thanks for your help, now I will be able to sleep again 🙂 Your help was vital in seeing the full picture, instead of just bits and pieces circling around in my mind.
Feel free to publish this on your website: it only took a couple of hours but your guidance and support have been invaluable!
Thank you, once again!
(based on various emails from one customer)