Mini Transat

Richard Hewson winning the start of the 2013 Mini

Richard Hewson winning the start of the 2013 Mini

Richard Hewson the campaigned in 2012 and 2013 for the Mini Transat race sailing the RG650 AUS 816 nicknamed “Taz” after the Tasmanian Devil, the only carnivorous marsupial remaining in Tasmania, more commonly known for its appearance in the Warner Bros luny tunes cartoon Taz!


Richard Hewson made world headlines when he was leading the first stage of the Mini Transat in the Series Class, and was close in the wake of the leading pack of prototypes when the race was cancelled only 40nm from the finish due to storms that were forecasted to decimate the majority of the fleet.  An Australian leading the fleet of Mini’s attracted world wide press and everybody from Australia to Greenland, Caribbean to Africa were talking about his amazing efforts.
The 2013 edition of the Mini Transat was indeed a tough one, with only 40 percent of the yachts finishing the race in Guadalupe, 5 boats being lost and skippers rescued, numerous dismastings, and countless amounts of damage.  Sadly the RG650 AUS 816 proudly sponsored by Zhik, pro furl, harken, yacht moving, equip yacht,, Boatbooks Australia was one of the statistics and was forced to abandon the Mini Transat due to keel and rig problems.


Richard hopes to one day race in the Mini Transat class again one day but for now family life is a priority, perhaps he will race with his daughter Isabelle when she is older!  Solo  and short handed sailing has always been a great interest to Richard, and he has raced and cruised single handedly around Australia and European waters since 1997.816 VALENCIA KITE

The 2013 Race
Even while faced with incredibly rough weather, Richard overcame constant setbacks as his desire to firstly win and then finish the race and was so obsessed he was willing to put everything on the line.  Richard was able to repair his keel after it was nearly ripped out of the boat from a passing fishing trawlers illegal long line, only to be back in the water racing again less than 12 hours later to break his rudder and witness first hand one of the most spectacular wipeouts in Mini history after the forces of the 21 foot yacht surfing down waves at over 18 kts became too extreme for the prototype series class.  Not giving up Richard replaced his rudder and continued racing, however the wipeout that occurred during the rudder breakage continued to rear its ugly head and continuous rig problems and the loss of wind instruments from the top of the mast forced Richard into Lanzarote for repairs.  Richard attempted to repair the boat within the allocated 72 hours maximum port stopover, however when he put to sea within the 72 hours to continue repairs and keep racing he realised that the boat was not fit to continue racing across the Atlantic and prudence overcame honour and pride, forcing him back into Lanzarote.
Richard Hewson starting the 2013 Mini Transat

Richard Hewson starting the 2013 Mini Transat

Richards dedication and obsession to win the Mini Transat was noticed by press world wide and numerous articles were published around the world attracting unprecedented and invaluable press.  The lessons learnt in the 2013 edition of the Mini Transat have only made Richard better, smarter and more determined to win the next edition of the Mini Transat.  “The AUS 816 “Taz” is one of the first RG650’s and we have used her as a test bed to improve all the RG650’s in the future.   When I started the 2013 Mini Transat AUS 816 Zhik was in fine form and we had made some awesome modifications to enhance the boats speed and performance.  As we raced in conditions I have never faced in the RG650 I continued to fine tune the boat and record data from the experience, and If I was not forced to abandon the race, or we re-started from Lanzarote as planned I think I could have won the Mini Transat!”

What is a Mini 650?
816profile pic

816profile pic


A mini 650 is a 6.5 meter sailing boat that is sailed shorthanded by one or two people. It is a very fast, exciting and progressive fleet that can attract over 100 boats on the start line at any given time. It is dominated by the French as is most of the shorthanded scene. The mini is regarded as the stepping stone for legends in our sport and attracts the best of the young talent today.

What is the Mini Transat Race

The Mini Transat is considered to be one of the most extreme single handed events in the world due to the race length and the boat’s small size.  These high performance 6.5m single handed yachts will race 4000nm across the Atlantic, starting on the 13th of October 2013.Richard Hewson Mini 816

The Mini Transat race is a hosts the best single handed sailors in the world including the majority of the skippers in this years Vendee Globe Yacht race.

“A demanding race and a true test for the best sailors as the route covers difficult and adverse weather conditions”

The Mini Transat is an extremely demanding race and a true test for a sailors ability to not only sail the boat to the best of its ability but also manage sleep deprivation in a variety of extreme conditions.

The 2013 Mini Transat race starts from Douarnenez in France, racing 1250nm down the west coast of France, across the Bay of Biscay and down to Arrecife in the Canary Islands where the fleet will regroup, before starting the second race of the Mini Transat where they will race 2770 nm across the Atlantic to Point Pitre in Guadeloupe”.

In total the Mini transat race will be over 4000nm in rumbline sailing, and could possibly take over 35 days of racing solo across one of the largest oceans in the world – Alone!

Richard Hewson and Mini 650

Richard commenced training for the 2008 Mini Transat race back in 2006 however  was unable to compete in the 2008image007-1 race.  “It has always been a dream of mine to race in the Mini Transat and be involved in Mini 650 racing.  After Richard completed the Clipper RTW race, Katabatic gave him an opportunity to race their RG650 in the Mini Transat qualification races the Mini Valencia and the Barcelona race providing some fantastic results in a new and untested series class boat.

The boat

The RG-650 One Design ocean racing boat is the newest member of the Mini 6.50 production class family and is the first one to be built in the southern hemisphere.  Designed by Argentinean Nicolas Goldenburg, commissioned by Katabatic Sailing in Spain, and built in Argentina this is the latest generation in Class Mini sailing.

The RG-650 features all the latest’s’ high performance design trends: a high performance chine hull. high aspect ratio appendages, big sail area and asymmetric spinnakers; the result is a very stable and powerful boat.

•Name  RG 650 
•Design  G Yacht Design
•Yard  RioTecna
•Type  Serie Mini 650
•LOA  6.50 m
•BOA  3.00 m
•Draft  1.60 m
•Displacement  950 kg
•Ballast  420 kg
•Main  27 m2
•Jib  16 m2
•Spi  74 m2
•Spi small  58 m2
•C5  38 m2

C0  25 m2




RG 650:


The unofficial Mini Transat site: