OSTAR returns to its origins

Small boats and big boats allowed back into the Royal Western Yacht Club's classic solo event

Friday January 11th 2013, Author: Robin Price, Location: United Kingdom

The fleet in this year’s Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR), is all set to leave Plymouth in little over four months from now on Monday, 27 May.

This will be the 14th edition of the Royal Western Yacht Club’s historical singlehanded battle across the North Atlantic. The event remains the focus for every adventurous solo sailor who can not resist the unique challenge of sailing the 3,000 upwind miles westward to the finish in Newport, Rhode Island.

The last winner, Dutch sailor Jan-Kees Lampe, racing his Open 40 La Promesse set a new record in 2009 of 17 days and 17 hours for the 40ft class. Lampe has committed to defend his title in May and will head a strong entry of boats from the Netherlands, where solo racing has always been well supported.

The Royal Western Yacht Club has made two important changes to this edition. Firstly, they have re-opened the small boat class for boats from 27 to 30 feet. There has always been a strong tradition of small boats competing in the ‘big races’ and many of the best sailors have cut their ocean teeth in this class including Mike Golding, Safran skipper Marc Guillemot and Pete Goss just a few have all raced the OSTAR previously in boats of under 30ft. The move will again provide a great opportunity for young sailors to gain valuable experience in the Atlantic.

The second is the inclusion again for boats up to 60 feet. This is the first time the big boats have raced since 2000 when, a very young Ellen MacArthur first showed her potential, winning the 60ft monohull class in a time of 14 days and 23 hours in her then brand new IMOCA 60 Kingfisher.

Race Director for the second time, David Southwood, will lead an experienced race management team for this edition. Southwood said: "The addition of the small boats and the 60s is going to open up some very exciting racing for this year’s race. I am also very pleased that several other veteran OSTAR skippers from earlier races plan to join Jan-Kees on the start line, in addition to others so far from, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, USA and of course the UK. Once again it’s a truly international event and were all looking forward to another great race."


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