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Home » Sailing » Cliipper Race winner Richard Hewson takes on a new challenge

Cliipper Race winner Richard Hewson takes on a new challenge


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Tasmanian master mariner and winning skipper of Gold Coast Australia in the 2011-2012 Clipper Round the World Race, Richard Hewson, will be taking on another world yachting challenge, starting on 13 October this year.

He will sail a tiny 6.5m yacht in the 2013 Mini Transat Race – one of the longest, toughest and most challenging ocean races in the world.

The Mini Transat is considered the most extreme single-handed race in the world. Yet up to 80 “minis”, 6.50 m. (21ft) boats, from 18 different countries will race from Douarenez, France, starting on October 13, via Lanzarotte (Canary Islands) and then roar across the Atlantic to the finish line at Pointe a Pitre, Guadelopue in the Caribbean.

The yachts are expected to arrive between November 22 and 30 after spending over a month racing solo at sea.

Hewson, who grew up sailing at Hobart’s Lindisfarne Sailing Club, Sandy Bay Sailing Club and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, last year skippered Gold Coast Australia to a remarkable victory the 2011-2012 Clipper Round the World Race.

Working with a crew of amateur sailors, Hewson skippered Gold Coast Australia to first place in 12 of the 15 legs, achieved 15 podium positions and broke records in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Southern Ocean.

“That’s fantastic news about this year’s Clipper Race fleet using the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race as part of their course around the world,” the Tasmanian yachtsman said.

The Mini Transat is a long way from Hewson’s earliest attempts at long distance solo sailing – in a tiny Sabot dinghy on the Derwent and later with a friend with their wooden on extended voyages up the East Coast.

Describing the Mini Transat, Hewson said some critics considered the race across the Atlantic in small boats a ‘mad’ event and potentially dangerous.

“The Mini Transat combines the hazards of solo ocean racing in a very small craft, about the same size as a family mini van, with a grueling test of the skipper to conquer pure physical and mental exhaustion,” Hewson explained.

“With the boats potentially reaching over 20 knots, peak performance and sound tactical decisions have to be made despite snatching sleep 10-20 minutes at a time.

“Navigation equipment is minimal and no external weather or advice is allowed, including information gained from satellites or communications, so competitors need to be very proficient with their meteorology, using only the clouds, thermometers and a barometer to decide on the best tactical strategy.”

Hewson will be racing a new RG650 series yacht, designed by Argentinean Nikolas Goldenberg, with the project is managed by fellow Australian Brett Perry.

The RG650 it is the first mini series boat to be built in the Southern Hemisphere and has demonstrated itself to be a very powerful and fast boat.

Hewson has spent the last 12 months completing the grueling qualifying races in the Mediterranean. This month he is moving the boat to the north coast of France for further racing and preparation.

The Mini Transat can be tracked by satellite trackers through the mini website www.minitransat.fr. Richards’s blogs are available on his website www.hewsonracing.com

By Peter Campbell


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