Mayflower Ocean Festival

The Mayflower Ocean Festival will celebrate Plymouth’s status as Britain’s Ocean City, bringing together the world-class transatlantic Transat, OSTAR and TWOSTAR races with city’s existing Pirates Weekend and a host of new activities that will get people on the water.

In 2020 the Royal Western Yacht Club of England, based in Plymouth, will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its introduction of singlehanded trans-oceanic racing to the world, and the 60 years since then during which it nurtured and developed short-handed oceanic racing. The highlight will be the running of the 16th OSTAR (the anniversary edition) and 7th edition of the TWOSTAR starting on 10 May.

The first trans-Atlantic race, conceived in 1960 by ‘cockleshell hero’ Blondie Hasler and organised by the RWYC, sailed from Plymouth to New York and was won by the intrepid yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester. It was an instant success and despite strong opposition from the sailing establishment saw the birth of singlehanded racing throughout the world. Since then the RWYC has run the OSTAR (the Original Singlehanded TransAtlantic Race) every four years from Plymouth to Newport. It was later joined by a sister event, the Twohanded TransAtlantic Race (which quickly became known as the TWOSTAR), when the demand grew for a twohanded race.

The OSTAR and TWOSTAR will be joined in Mayflower 400 by the TRANSAT (the professional ‘Grand Prix’ race for the larger one-design class boats) with all three races starting on the same day.  The many pre-race activities will create a unique occasion with the large race village on the RWYC’s doorstep. The TRANSAT competitors and their support teams will be rubbing shoulders with the OSTAR and TWOSTAR Corinthians in what promises to be an exciting social programme.

The OSTAR and TWOSTAR have been the proving ground for many internationally famous yachtsmen and women but the races have always remained true to Hasler’s vision – a Corinthian event in which seamanship and the development of new techniques and equipment are paramount. A race against the ocean as much as against other boats.  The races are open to all: aspiring sponsored professionals in their highly tuned machines out to break records, family skippers in cruisers/racers intending to complete the Everest of sailing, and the ‘more experienced’ skippers in their blue-water boats just to get there again (preferably ahead of their rivals).

Pirate weekend

Plymouth Pirate Weekend will return to the city's historic waterfront for a weekend of family fun in May 2020 - find more details in the dedicated Pirate Weekend listing.

This award-winning family event promises an adventure-filled day out with tall ships, a packed programme of children's activities and plenty of music and entertainment to get everyone involved.


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