OSTAR - The Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race was founded in 1960 by Blondie Hasler and Francis Chichester. One of the first offshore single-handed races of its time, the organisers initially found difficulty gaining sponsorship. Sponsors viewed OSTAR as a dangerous innovation compared to more traditional full-crewed or ‘cruise in company’ races. However, OSTAR was eventually granted sponsorship by the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC).
OSTAR is a prestigious event amongst the yachting community, with challenging conditions testing the best yachtsman. In 2017, the fifteenth race was memorable for multiple reasons. It was the first time OSTAR had been run in conjunction with the TWOSTAR (two crew) and the extreme weather that was experienced.
The fleets made up of twenty-one boats, was hit by one of the worst storms experienced in the history of the OSTAR. This later became known as OSTAR’s ‘Perfect Storm’ and had a devastating effect on the race. Out of the twenty-one boats that started ten retired, four were abandoned and only seven made it across the finish line.
In the early hours of the morning on 9th June, 60 knot winds combined with 15 metre seas were experienced by competitors. Such conditions were caused by an extremely low depression (967mb – 15mb); lower than the fateful Fastnet storm of 1979.
Three emergency beacons were triggered with several boats badly damaged. The Canadian coastguard reacting to calls, sent both air support and ships to assist all of those in distress. The coastguard later praised the fleet on how well they reacted to the conditions - heaving to and riding out the storm. Had they not, the outcome could have been very different.
A good customer of ours, the owner of Suomi Kudo, a Swan 41, was one of the competitors involved in the 2017 race. Suomi Kudo suffered mainsail problems and was among the ten boats that retired. The crew electing to return to Falmouth, were met by the Mylor Rigging team who delivered a bespoke service to survey and repair Suomi Kudo’s rig.
This year Suomi Kudo will once again be competing in the OSTAR along with A J Wanderlust a Sun Odyssey 45 - another highly valued customer of Mylor Rigging who has competed recently in both the Round Britain and AZAB race.
OSTAR usually runs every four years, but has been brought forward a year to mark the 60th anniversary of the first race first ran in 1960.
For more information about OSTAR, visit: https://rwyc.org/ostar/