Royal Western Yacht Club
1st September 2015
OSTAR and TWOSTAR combine start for 2017
The Royal Western Yacht Club has announced a combined start date for the Corinthian Yachtsman's two most iconic trans-Atlantic races. The OSTAR (The Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race) founded by Cockleshell hero Blondie Hasler in 1960 and run every four years since and the TWOSTAR, first held in 1981, will both start from Plymouth heading for Newport RI on 29th May 2017.
Event Chairman and former OSTAR Race Director, John Lewis, explained: “We believe there are many amateur yachtsman who want to achieve what is still considered the Everest of singlehanded sailing, also interest in two handed racing is on the increase. It therefore makes sense to combine the logistics and administration of the two events making them both financially viable for the RWYC and our partner the Newport Yacht Club in America. In addition there will be no increase in entry fees from past events”
The last winner of both the OSTAR and TWOSTAR races and 2016 Vendee Globe competitor Italian Andrea Mura, commented: “Racing across the three thousand miles of the North Atlantic is the ultimate short-handed challenge. For me both these events have provided invaluable experience so that I could progress in our sport.”
The RWYC, established in 1827, is proud to remain the only yacht club organising trans-ocean shorthanded racing. These events have produced some of the world’s greatest yachtsmen including Eric Tabarly, Loick Peyron, Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding.
International interest in these races is already building with over twenty skippers from ten different countries on the short list.
Further details including the Notice of Race can be found at: www.rwyc.org/ostar
e-mail and entries for both races: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsorship enquiries: email@example.com
In 1959, at the request of Lt.Col. H.G. (Blondie) Hasler, the Royal Western Yacht Club decided to organize a single-handed transatlantic race – and so a tradition was born.
Blondie Hasler had for some time been trying to promote the idea of a single-handed race across the Atlantic against the prevailing winds and currents. His press release of November 1959 proclaimed:
“Described by one experienced yachtsman as ‘the most sporting event of the century’ a transatlantic race for single-handed sailing boats will start from the south coast of England on Saturday 11th June 1960 and will finish off Sheepshead Bay, in the approaches to New York, at least a month later”.
He had interested Francis Chichester – hence the story of the half crown (twelve and a half pence/twenty five cent) wager – and several others, but was unable to find an organizer or sponsor willing to move from the familiar full-crewed or ‘cruise in company’ racing to such a dangerous sounding innovation. But Blondie persevered and, with Francis Chichester, approached the RWYC whose Commodore at the time was Sir Winston Churchill and got a positive response.
With a yacht club of repute to take on the organization of the race, Blondie then obtained the sponsorship of The Observer newspaper and so the RWYC Observer Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or OSTAR, came about.
Of the eight entries for that first race, four crossed the start line on 11 June 1960 and a fifth, Jean Lacombe, started three days later. Forty days later Francis Chichester, in Gipsy Moth III, crossed the finish line to great media and public acclaim. All five competitors finished successfully with Jean Lacombe finally crossing the line in his 21ft Cap Horn some 76 days after the start.
The OSTAR was established and has been sailed every four years since.
The Royal Western Yacht Club of England is partnered with the Newport Yacht Club to bring you this exciting race again in 2013. The race which begins outside the break water in Plymouth Sound, Devon, UK finishes off of Castle Hill Light here in Newport.
This race is supported by the Rhode Island State Yachting Committee.