OSTAR (Photo by Colin Merry)

Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry in Plymouth for the start of the Ostar Transatlantic Race.

The eagerly anticipated OSTAR (Original Single-handed Trans Atlantic Race) 2009 will set off from Plymouth on Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May.  The skippers are undertaking their final preparations before commencing on their 2,800 mile journey to Rhode Island, USA.   Challenge and Adventure’s Correspondent has been in Plymouth checking out the fleet and will be onhand to bring you coverage and Images of the start on May 25th.

Here are his thoughts on the event today “The overwhelming thought in my mind as I wander amongst the boats taking part in this Ostar is ”they have gotten larger since the last race”. The open forties looking short compared to some! Not only larger but very much more race oriented!

The usual signs of last minute activity, storing up,  repairs and late modifications were all  in evidence. The weather this weekend will be more of the same as today. Good settled weather ensuring a hopefully trouble free send off on Bank holiday Monday. A chance for the Skippers to relax and get to know each other on Friday as they are all invited to Pentillie Castle in Cornwall for cocktails and a BBQ. Then Sunday will be a chance for us (the press) to get a group shots of all participants.
More as it all unfolds, Colin Merry for C&A.

Photos By Colin Merry

(click on image to enlarge)

Thirty-four boats are expected at the start line at Queen Anne’s Battery, Plymouth, home to the hosts of the race, the Royal Western Yacht Club. H.R.H, The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T. will be starting the race at 12.30pm from the Trinity House Vessel, Galatea.

Competitors from all over the globe have entered, with entrants from as far afield as the USA, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Holland and of course, the United Kingdom. Each competitor has been supported by award-winning whisky favourite, Talisker, which has provided them with a bottle for their solo Atlantic crossing. With strong, prevailing winds, an adverse Gulf Stream, hazardous icebergs and dense fog, the drink is sure to be a welcome luxury.

It is expected that the boats will move out from Queen Anne’s Battery Marina into Plymouth Sound at around 10.30am in preparation for the race start. All are welcome to see the boats set sail, with the best views to be found on the historic Barbican, near the Mayflower Steps, or from the Hoe.


David Southwood, Race Director of OSTAR 2009, commented: “With just a week left until the race start you can really feel the tension building. This is one of the most exciting events in the maritime calendar and the world will be watching the progress of the skippers. The RWYC is also thrilled to have Talisker whisky supporting the race and providing the competitors with a bottle for their crossing.”

Brand Manager for Talisker, Steve Wood, comments: “We’re delighted to be the first ever official whisky of OSTAR as it is such an iconic race within the calendar and presents us with a great opportunity to build on Talisker’s heritage with the sea. We send our best wishes and fair winds to all of those taking part in the race!”

The Royal Western Yacht Club has organised a number of spectator boats which have spaces available to the public. These will depart from the Barbican at 10.30am and return at 2pm, providing spectacular views across the Sound and of the competitors. Tickets cost just £6 for children and £12 for adults.

The OSTAR, run exclusively by the Royal Western Yacht Club since its inception in 1960, is the Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race. This event, which is the oldest solo ocean race in history and Corinthian in nature, is primarily for amateur sailors and aspiring professionals and follows in the tradition of the original ‘half crown’ bet between Blondie Haslar and Francis Chichester. The OSTAR 2009 will be the thirteenth edition of the race and follows the traditional route from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island.