OSTAR 2020

The Royal Western Yacht Club of England in Plymouth will run its major transatlantic races, the Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) and the Two-handed Transatlantic Race (TWOSTAR), again in 2020.

The start of the OSTAR has been brought in one year (it normally runs every four years) to mark the 60th anniversary of the first race run in 1960, and to form part of the Mayflower 400 commemoration year.

The TWOSTAR will again sail in conjunction with the OSTAR. With the two races we will be celebrating 60 years of shorthanded trans-oceanic racing in the Royal Western Yacht Club.

The first transatlantic 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 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).

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.

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