While the sailing world is looking to Bermuda on the third day of the America's Cup qualification, 21 yachts on the local side of the Atlantic also went on a special regatta course today: 15 solo sailors are starting the oldest transatlantic single-handed race, the original single-handed trans-Atlantic race, or Ostar for short. For the first time, the starting shot has also been given for the two-handed offshoot of the regatt, the Two-handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or Twostar for short.
German circumnavigator at the Twostar
Twostar crew with German skipper: Pajkowskund Röttgering
An old acquaintance of the German high seas scene is in the two-hand competition: Uwe Röttgering and AsiPajkowsk from Poland have reported that they are sailing on Class 40 "Rote 66". Round-the-world sailor Röttgering (2001 - 2003) has already contested the Ostar 2009 with his single aluminum construction "FanFan", it took him 26 days.
As a purely German crew, Berk Plathner (Trans-Ocean Medal 2014) and Werner Scholz start the race across the North Atlantic, they sail on Plathner's trimaran "Hikari", a Corsair 28EC. The remaining Twostar crews come from France, the Netherlands and Bulgaria.
The colorful mix of amateur crews becomes clear when you look at the yachts of the Ostar sailors: Among them is the Najad 490 by Briton Keith Walton as well as a Swan 38 or the Open 50 "Vento die Sardegna" by AndreMura, the winner of the last Ostar 2013. He needs 20 days for the route. According to the organizing Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC), Murnach is said to have vowed his last participation not to participate in the Ostar again; the five storms on the route to Rhode Island were too hard.
While the goal of the transatlantic regatt that was launched in 1960 was New York City, the course of the four-year race since 1964 has mainly led to Rhode Island on the US east coast. The skippers are free to choose which exact course they choose - but on the shortest (almost 3000 nautical miles) and therefore obvious courses they sail in high latitudes and against the prevailing westerly winds of the North Atlantic.
In front of the yachts lie almost 3,000 miles over the rough North Atlantic
The first Ostar was organized by RWYC in 1960, when five yachts sailed across the Atlantic. The winner was Francis Chichester with his "Gipsy Moth III" in 40 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes. Eric Taberly won the second Ostar in 1964 with "Pen Duick II", and since then the race has seen professional sailors take part again and again. In 1981 the Twostar for two-hand crews was launched due to the great demand. The 15th Ostar and the 6th Twostar are already running in 2017.
Guest of Honor "Gipsy Moth IV"
This year's start of the two Transat regattas also coincides with an important anniversary for British sailing: On yesterday, Sunday 50 years ago, on May 28, 1967, Sir Francis Chichester returned from his legendary first one-handed circumnavigation of the world to Plymouth. On the occasion of the anniversary, yachts escorted the "Gipsy Moth IV" across Plymouth Sound.
Follow the yachts
Which routes the crews at the Ostar and Twostar decide on and where they are currently located can be followed in the race tracker.
The fleets of the Ostar and Twostar in Plymouth Sound