A week to go until the OSTAR

21 singlehanded sailors to compete in the Royal Western YC's classic offshore transatlantic race

Monday May 20th 2013, Author: Sam Joseph, Location: United Kingdom

A week from today the 14th OSTAR will leave Plymouth bound for Newport, Rhode Island.

This classic singlehanded transatlantic race, first run by Plymouth's Royal Western Yacht Club in 1960 attracts a mix of amateur and professional sailors. This year 21 skippers have entered this year, including 69-year-old Mervyn Wheatley, a retired Royal Marine from Newton Ferrers in South Devon competing for the fourth time.

Wheatley commented: “I enjoy the opportunity to sharpen myself up and I also enjoy meeting the other competitors, some of whom I have known for many years. This race has many challenges, getting to Newport is the main one! Also the knowledge that, if anything goes wrong, it is up to you to sort it out. I am not a good cook so freeze dried food is my main meal. However, I take lots of goodies: cake, flapjacks, banana bread, fruit, cheese, eggs and bacon. I have a glass of Sherry with peanuts every evening and, quite often, a glass of Merlot with the freeze dried meal!”

The 2,700 mile race attracts a wide variety of boats, skippered by sailors from all over the world. This year seven nations will be represented. Polish sailor Asia Pajkowska will be the only yachtswomen taking part and Dutchman, Nico Budel will be the oldest competitor at 74 years of age.

American sailor, Jonathan Green will be using the race to get home! The 42 year old from Newport has been racing single-handed since 2007 but crossing the Atlantic is a new adventure for 2013.

Green commented: “Getting my boat from Newport to Plymouth was my first transatlantic crossing and OSTAR will be my first transatlantic race so there are lots of firsts for me this spring! The biggest challenge for me is to find the right balance of competitively pushing myself and the boat as hard as we can without risk of major equipment failure that might prevent me from finishing. As I learned on the delivery here, there are limits to what the boat can take and I need to sail as fast as possible within those limits to be competitive. I'm really looking forward to racing with and competing against the other OSTAR entrants. This will definitely be the highlight of the year, if not the decade for Jeroboam and I.”

The OSTAR takes place every four years. David Southwood, Race Director in 2009 is in charge again this time. He commented: "The 'Corinthian' spirit of the OSTAR, which began in 1960 as a race for keen amateurs, remains strong and this year's fleet, comprising boats between 30ft and 50ft, provides a real mix of highly experienced international sailors, one or two of whom are professional sailors. It's an amazing event, and in a way the Corinthian element – open to all – from the biggest to the smallest of yachts, the hardened professional to the courageous amateur, is that which makes it as exciting as many of the professional races.”

John Lewis, Commodore of the Royal Western Yacht Club added: “We’re delighted that OSTAR 2013 has attracted so many entrants and we are looking forward to their arrival in Plymouth prior to the start. This event is one of many prominent international sailing events the Club and the City of Plymouth is hosting this year, including the Classe Mini 6.50 Fastnet Race, the Route des Princes and the Class 40 Championship later in the year.”

The fleet of 21 boats will leave Plymouth Sound at midday on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 May. Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC DL, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon, will start the race from onboard the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset. The first boats will be arriving in Newport towards the end of June.


Skipper Sail No. Boat Name Type
Geoff Alcorn 16 C Wind of Lorne 2 Saltram 36
Nicholas Budel 44 sec Hayai Class 40
Christian Chalandre FRA 4497 Olbia Stephens SS34
Peter Crowther 8758 Suomi Kudu Swan 38
Charles Emmett GBR 3936 British Beagle Sigma 36
Jonathan Green USA 51013 Jeroboam Beneteau
Roger Langevin FRA 38 Branec IV Multi 50
Richard Lett GBR 932 R Pathways to Children Koopman’s 32
Chris Mincham GBR 67 Spliff Class 40
Andrea Mura ITA 159 Vento Di Sardegna Open 50
Asia Pajkowska POL 7006 CABRIO 2 Format 400 Multi
Jac Sandberg NED 8652 Spirit Corby 30
Jonathan Snodgrass GBR 7054R Lexia Sunbird 32
Krystian Szypka POL 32521 Sunrise Farr 37
James Taylor 754 Anarchy Contessa 32
Ralph Villiger GBR 5819 R Ntombifuti Ed Dubois
Keith Walton N490-16 Harmonii Najad 490
Mervyn Wheatley GBR 6049 T Tamarind Formosa 42

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