From Mini to IMOCA 60 via the Class 40

James Boyd Photography /
One of the favourites in the race, German Jorg Riechers tells us of his solo offshore campaigns
17 nations taking part in the Charente Maritime Bahia Transat 6.50 (Mini Transat) is a great indicator of the take-up of singlehanded offshore racing around the world, with competitors from as far afield as China, Australia, Canada and USA. Leading the charge for Germany is Jörg Riechers, sailing his second Mini Transat after his 2009 race was unfortunately cut short. As the 43 year old from Hamburg explains: “I had to pull out at La Coruna after three days when I broke the keelbox and my boat was full of water. The electronics were underwater. I think I hit something soft which angled the keel and because there were no safety strops on the keel, the keel broke the side of the keelbox...” Riechers' 2011 attempt on the Transat nearly came acropper when he was T-boned any another competitor shortly before the start. However he carried on regardless and last week Riechers was leading the Proto fleet and this morning is back into second place, although in reality he is probably third (as the transponder on one of the boats has stopped working). Thank heaven for duct tape Riechers comes from a sailing family. His father campaigned Half Tonners and after sailing this, aged 18, Jörg moved into the Laser which he campaigned for many years, particularly at Kieler Woche, on the Eurocup circuit and at Travemunde Week, which he won in 1991. In 1993 he crewed for David Bedford at the J/24 Europeans, where they finished second. In 1998 he sailed with Terry Hutchinson in the J/24, the same year that the Artemis Racing skipper won the World Championship. Riechers’ move into solo offshore racing came in 2005 when he competed in the Figaro class’ Generali Solo in the Mediterranean. His campaign was helped in 2007 when he met Nikolaus Gelpke, founder of