Isabelle Joschke is a name to watch out for in the forthcoming Mini Transat which starts on Sunday 14/9/07

French female sailor Isabelle Joschke is one of the top ranked competitors at this year’s Transat 6,50 Charente Maritime Bahia (Mini Tranast) and has every chance of knocking Isabelle Autissier (the French sailor who finished third in 1997) off the perch as top female Mini sailor.

Joschke, who’s been racing Open 6,50s for four seasons, competed in the 2005 event aboard the boat formerly sailed by British sailor Sam Davies, and finished a creditable 15th overall.

Now, two years on, she’s back, with one aim – to win. And with a new boat and some extremely good recent results including a win in the in the Mini Pavois and the Select, plus a second in the Trophy Marie-Agnes Péron and a third in the grueling 550-mile Transgascogne, Joscheke is definitely one to put your money on.

Speaking to Joscheke on the dockside in La Rochelle, it became clear just now focused this young French sailor is. Four years ago she’d never done any racing. She spent her time as a delivery skipper. But now has, “a passion for these boats. I love racing them and I love being out in the open sea,” said Joscheke.

The new boat, a Finot design with rotating and canting mast, canting keel, daggerboards and water-ballast is one of three brand new boats in the fleet and was completed in January. A fairly tight schedule but Joscheke managed to complete her qualification in her first two races and is now ready for the big one, commenting: “I am very happy with my current form year and I am as prepared as I’ll ever be. I now have all the tools to be able to do my best so I am really looking forward to getting out on the racecourse. Although the first bit, where they [the organisers] send us round a short, round the cans, course before we set off down the coast, will not be so enjoyable, there a lot of work to do on these boats so the sooner we set off on the long leg south, the better.”