Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race

Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race

The Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or STAR, is an east-to-west yacht race across the North Atlantic. When inaugurated in 1960, it was the first single-handed ocean yacht race; it is run from Plymouth to the USA, and is held every four years.

The race is organised by the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC) and was originally sponsored by the UK-based Observer newspaper, and known as the Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or OSTAR; due to changes in sponsorship, it has been known as the CSTAR, Europe 1 STAR, and the Europe 1 New Man STAR. After the race in 2000 the RWYC took the decision to split the race into two events, one using smaller boats and intended for amateurs and young sailors, the other for professionals. The "amateur" event was raced as The OSTAR (meaning "the Original STAR") from 2005.[1] The "professional" version was raced as The Transat from 2004.[2]



The Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race was conceived by Francis Chichester and Herbert "Blondie" Hasler in 1956. The whole idea of a single-handed ocean yacht race was a revolutionary concept at the time, as the idea was thought to be extremely impractical; but this was especially true given the adverse conditions of their proposed route — a westward crossing of the north Atlantic Ocean, against the prevailing winds.

Chichester and Hasler sought sponsorship for a race, but by 1959, no-one had been prepared to back the race; the two men eventually decided that they would race for a half-crown bet if all else failed. Finally, though, The Observer newspaper provided sponsorship, and in 1960, under the management of the Royal Western Yacht Club of England, the Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race, or OSTAR, was on.[3][4][5]

The first run of the race was a great success; since then, it has run every four years, and has become firmly established as one of the major events on the yachting calendar. The name of the event has changed several times due to changed in main sponsor; it has been known as the CSTAR, Europe 1 STAR, and the Europe 1 New Man STAR. The professional event has been run as The Transat from 2004, while the race smaller boats is run as the OSTAR. Throughout its history, however, the essentials of the race have remained the same. It has also become known as a testbed for new innovations in yacht racing; many new ideas started out in "the STAR".

The race

The course of the race is westwards against the prevailing winds of the north Atlantic over a distance of around 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km). The first edition of the race was from Plymouth to New York City; the editions from 1964 to 2000 were sailed from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island; the 2004 event sailed from Plymouth to Boston, Massachusetts.[5][6][7]

The actual course steered is the decision of the individual skipper, and the result of the race can hinge on the chosen route:[8]

Rhumb line 
The shortest route on paper — i.e. on a Mercator projection chart — is a route which steers a constant compass course, known as the rhumb line route; this is 2,902 nautical miles. This lies between 40 degrees and 50 degrees north, and avoids the most severe weather.
Great circle 
The actual shortest route is the great circle route, which is 2,810 nautical miles (5,200 km). This goes significantly farther north; sailors following this route frequently encounter fog and icebergs.
Northern route 
It is sometimes possible to avoid headwinds by following a far northern route, north of the great circle and above the track followed by depressions. This is a longer way, though, at 3,130 nautical miles (5,800 km), and places the sailor in greater danger of encountering ice.
Azores route 
A "softer" option can be to sail south, close to the Azores, and across the Atlantic along a more southerly latitude. This route can offer calmer reaching winds, but is longer at 3,530 nautical miles (6,540 km); the light and variable winds can also lead to slow progress.
Trade wind route 
The most "natural" way to cross the Atlantic westward is to sail south to the trade winds, and then west across the ocean. However, this is the longest route of all, at 4,200 nautical miles (7,780 km).

This variety of routes is one of the factors which makes an east-to-west north Atlantic crossing interesting, as different skippers try different strategies against each other. In practice, though, the winning route is usually somewhere between the great circle and the rhumb line.

Past races

The OSTAR, 1960

The Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race of 1960 was a milestone in sailing, being the first single-handed ocean yacht race. 115 people expressed an interest in the race, and there were eight entries, of whom five actually took part. Only four were at the starting line on June 11, however, as Jean Lacombe arrived late and started three days after the others. All of the boats were monohulls; this was to be the only edition of the race without multihulls. It was also the only edition of the race sailed from Plymouth to New York City.

The skippers tried a variety of routing strategies. Hasler chose the northern route, to avoid the depressions; Chichester and Lewis stayed closer to the great circle; Lacombe and Howells chose more southerly routes. Hasler sailed his junk-rigged Jester; Chichester had by far the longest boat, his 40-foot (12 m) Gipsy Moth III, and this was reflected in the results:[4][5]

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Francis Chichester Gipsy Moth III  United Kingdom Mono-40 40 days 12 hours 30 min
Blondie Hasler Jester  United Kingdom Mono-26 48 days 12 hours 02 min
David Lewis Cardinal Vertue  United Kingdom Mono-25 55 days 00 hours 50 min
Val Howells EIRA  United Kingdom Mono-25 62 days 05 hours 50 min
Jean Lacombe Cap Horn  France Mono-21.5 74 days ?? hours ?? min

The race had a huge impact on ocean sailing, and in particular solo sailing. Hasler's wind-vane self-steering gear revolutionised short-handed sailing, and his other major innovation — using a junk rig for safer and more manageable shorthanded sailing — influenced many subsequent sailors.[9][10]

The OSTAR, 1964

Thirteen competitors started the next edition of the race in 1964, which by now was firmly established on the racing scene. All of the five original competitors entered, and all five improved their original times; but the show was stolen by French naval officer Éric Tabarly, who entered a custom-built 44-foot (13 m) plywood ketch, Pen Duick II. The days of racers sailing the family boat were numbered following Tabarly's performance, for which he was awarded the Légion d'honneur by president Charles de Gaulle. It is also noteworthy that Tabarly and Jean Lacombe were the only French entrants in this race; Tabarly's success was instrumental in popularising the sport in France, the country which in future years would come to dominate it.

This was to be the year in which several future trends were established. Multihulls made their first appearance — sailing in the same class as the other boats; and the race featured the use of radio, for the first time, by several competitors who gave daily progress reports to their sponsors.[4][6][11]

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Éric Tabarly Pen Duick II  France Mono-44 27 days 03 hours 56 min
Francis Chichester Gipsy Moth III  United Kingdom Mono-40 29 days 23 hours 57 min
Val Howells Akka  United Kingdom Mono-35 32 days 18 hours 08 min
Alec Rose Lively Lady  United Kingdom Mono-36 36 days 17 hours 30 min
Blondie Hasler Jester  United Kingdom Mono-26 37 days 22 hours 05 min
Bill Howell Stardrift  Australia Mono-30 38 days 03 hours 23 min
David Lewis Rehu Moana  United Kingdom Cat-40 38 days 12 hours 04 min
Mike Ellison Ilala  United Kingdom Mono-36 46 days 06 hours 26 min
Jean Lacombe Golif  France Mono-22 46 days 07 hours 05 min
Bob Bunker Vanda Caelea  United Kingdom Mono-25 49 days 18 hours 45 min
Mike Butterfield Misty Miller  United Kingdom Cat-30 53 days 00 hours 05 min
Geoffrey Chaffey Ericht 2  United Kingdom Mono-31 60 days 11 hours 15 min
Derek Kelsall Folatre  United Kingdom Tri-35 61 days 14 hours 04 min
Axel Penderson Marco Polo  Denmark Mono-28 63 days 13 hours 30 min
Robin McCurdy Tammie Norie  United Kingdom Mono-40 retired

The OSTAR, 1968

The race was by now acquiring a reputation for pushing forward the technology of ocean sailing, and the 1968 edition featured the first ever use of computer-based weather routing. A far cry from today's laptop-laden yachts, this consisted of a land-based mainframe computer, the English Electric KDF9, linked by radio to Geoffrey Williams in his boat Sir Thomas Lipton. Although outside private routing advice of this kind is no longer permitted in most "unassisted" races, it is now routine for ocean sailors to do similar analyses using their on-board computers to process public weather information.

Williams created another story by his use of the "shortcut" through the Nantucket Shoal. This dangerous route was supposed to be illegal, but due to an error the race instructions required skippers only to keep south of Nantucket, instead of Nantucket Light. Williams successfully navigated the treacherous route in a gale. Gales were a major feature of the race, with a large storm on the 11th of June, and Hurricane Brenda, both contributing to the large number of retired and abandoned boats; one casualty was Éric Tabarly, aboard his new trimaran Pen Duick IV.

Although won by a monohull, this race saw the multihulls firmly established on the scene. Thirteen of the 35 boats entered were multihulls, led by the controversial proa Cheers; many observers felt that a proa was entirely unsuitable for ocean sailing, but she made a fast time along the Azores route.[4][12]

The top seven finishers:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Geoffrey Williams Sir Thomas Lipton  United Kingdom Mono-57 25 days 20 hours 33 min
Bruce Dalling Voortrekker  South Africa Mono-50 26 days 13 hours 42 min
Tom Follett Cheers  United States Proa-40 27 days 00 hours 13 min
Leslie Williams Spirit of Cutty Sark  United Kingdom Mono-53 29 days 10 hours 17 min
Bill Howell Golden Cockerel  Australia Cat-42.5 31 days 16 hours 24 min
Brian Cooke Opus  United Kingdom Mono-32 34 days 08 hours 23 min
Martin Minter-Kemp Gancia Girl  United Kingdom Tri-42 34 days 13 hours 15 min

The 17 non-finishers included Éric Tabarly on Pen Duick IV, and Alex Carozzo of Italy on San Giorgio. Carozzo went on to compete in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the other major single-handed sailing event of the year.

The OSTAR, 1972

Tabarly's trimaran Pen Duick IV made a return to the race in 1972, sailed by Alain Colas, at the head of a strong French contingent; of the 55 entrants, 12 were French, and the top three finishers were all French.

The average boat size was increasing rapidly, as longer boats are capable of higher speeds. A sign of the changing times was that the rules had a minimum size, to deter unsafe entries, but no maximum; and so the star of the monohull fleet was Vendredi Treize (Friday the 13th), a 128-foot (39 m) three-masted schooner — a huge boat for a single-hander. However, the race was now dominated by the multihulls, with a trimaran winning and four of the top six finishers being multis.

The 55 entrants included the first female competitors, two French and one Polish. Sir Francis Chichester, now 70 years old, sailed with the fleet in Gipsy Moth V; however, he was unable to complete what was to be his last race, and he died later the same year. Peter Crowther made the longest crossing in the race's history while sailing the oldest boat, the 66 year old gaff cutter Golden Vanity; his crossing took 88 days.[4][13]

The top ten finishers:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Alain Colas Pen Duick IV  France Tri-70 20 days 13 hours 15 min
Jean-Yves Terlain Vendredi Treize  France Mono-128 21 days 05 hours 14 min
Jean-Marie Vidal Cap 33  France Tri-53 24 days 05 hours 40 min
Brian Cooke British Steel  United Kingdom Mono-59 24 days 19 hours 28 min
Tom Follett Three Cheers  United States Tri-46 27 days 11 hours 04 min
Gerard Pesty Architeuthis  France Tri-55 28 days 11 hours 55 min
Martin Minter-Kemp Strongbow  United Kingdom Mono-65 28 days 12 hours 46 min
Alain Gliksman Toucan  France Mono-34.5 28 days 12 hours 54 min
Franco Faggioni Sagittario  Italy Mono-50.5 28 days 23 hours 05 min
James Ferris Whisper  United States Mono-53.5 29 days 11 hours 15 min

There were eleven retirements, and one boat was abandoned.

The OSTAR, 1976

1976 saw the biggest edition of the race, in all senses. 125 boats entered, and the 128-foot (39 m) Vendredi Treize returned as ITT Oceanic. However, the all-time size record for the race, and probably for any single-hander, was set by Alain Colas, sailing the 236-foot (72 m) four-masted schooner Club Mediterranée.[14] Although about the same overall length as HMS Victory (which had a crew of 820),[15] this modern boat was expressly designed for easy handling.

The race was organised into three classes: Jester (J): up to 38 ft (12 m); Gipsy Moth (G): 38 to 65 ft (20 m); and Penduick (P): over 65 ft, unlimited. Monohulls and multihulls were not segregated. It is notable that the second-placed boat overall was a trimaran of the smallest class; and perhaps even more so that third place went to a monohull from the same class.

Two major depressions hit the race and caused a record fifty retirements; Tony Bullimore was rescued by a passing ship after his boat caught fire, and American Mike Flanagan was lost overboard from Galloping Gael. A particularly sad story was that of Mike McMullen, whose wife Lizzie was electrocuted and killed while helping him to prepare Three Cheers for the race, just two days before the start. Believing that Lizzie would have wanted him to go on, he started the race, but was never seen again.

Colas in Club Mediterranée was plagued by halyard problems; although 330 miles (531 km) in the lead, he was forced to pull in to Halifax, Nova Scotia to make repairs, and was penalised 58 hours for accepting help. The race then went to Éric Tabarly, whose win, on the 73-foot (22 m) Pen Duick VI, was his second; it was also the last win for a monohull.[4][16]

Clare Francis in Robertson's Golly (Ohlson 38) finished 13th and broke the women's single-handed transatlantic record by three days.

The top finishers (including the top three of each class):

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Éric Tabarly Pen Duick VI  France Mono-73(P) 23 days 20 hours 12 min
Mike Birch The Third Turtle  Canada Tri-32(J) 24 days 20 hours 39 min
Kazimierz Jaworski Spaniel  Poland Mono-38(J) 24 days 23 hours 40 min
Tom Grossman Cap 33  United States Tri-53(P) 26 days 08 hours 15 min
Alain Colas Club Mediterranée  France Mono-236(P) 26 days 13 hours 36 min
Jean Claude Parisis Petrouchka  France Mono-47(G) 27 days 00 hours 55 min
David Palmer FT  United Kingdom Tri-35(J) 27 days 07 hours 45 min
Walter Greene Friends  United States Tri-30(J) 27 days 10 hours 37 min
Jaques Timsit Arauna IV  France Mono-38(G) 27 days 15 hours 32 min
Alain Gabbay Objectif Sud 3  France Mono-38(J) 28 days 09 hours 58 min
Francis Stokes Moonshine  United States Mono-40(G) 28 days 12 hours 46 min

The 1/OSTAR, 1980

The 1980 race introduced a length limit of 56 feet overall, in order to curb the excesses of previous races. The class sizes were adjusted downwards: Jester (J): up to 32 ft (10 m); Gipsy Moth (G): 32 to 44 ft (13 m); Penduick (P): 44 to 56 ft (17 m). The new restrictions were unpopular with some sailors, particularly the French, many of whom opted to sail instead in the new Route du Rhum race.

The race was once again dominated by multihulls, with the top five places all taken by trimarans, and marked the end of even competition between monos and multis. Éric Tabarly was to compete, aboard the hydrofoil trimaran Paul Ricard, but was unable to enter due to injury. The race continued its history of innovation with the first use of the Argos satellite-based tracking system; this system allows boats to be tracked during the race, and can also be used to signal distress. The use of this system has now become a major feature of many ocean races, such as the Vendée Globe. The cost of the system was covered by introducing a new race sponsor, the radio station Europe 1, in conjunction with the Observer.

The winner was American Phil Weld, in only his second OSTAR, whose trimaran Moxie was custom built to the 56-foot (17 m) limit; he set a new course record of 18 days. Many were impressed by this popular sailor's win at the age of 65. The preponderance of larger boats, and particularly multihulls, left the smaller Jesters seriously outclassed; the highest-placed was Free Newspapers, sailed by John Chaundy, who finished in 29th place, with a time of 28 days.,[4][17][18]

The top ten finishers:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Philip Weld Moxie  United States Tri-51(P) 17 days 23 hours 12 min
Nick Keig Three Legs of Mann III  United Kingdom Tri-53(P) 18 days 06 hours 04 min
Philip Steggall Jeans Foster  United States Tri-38(G) 18 days 06 hours 45 min
Mike Birch Olympus Photo  Canada Tri-46(P) 18 days 07 hours 15 min
Walter Greene Chaussettes Olympia  United States Tri-35(G) 18 days 17 hours 29 min
Kazimierz Jaworski Spaniel II  Poland Mono-56(P) 19 days 13 hours 25 min
Czesław Gogołkiewicz Raczyński 2  Poland Mono-56(P) Collision
Edoardo Austoni Chica Boba  Italy Mono-56(P) 20 days 02 hours 30 min
Daniel Gilard Brittany Ferries I  France Mono-44(G) 21 days 00 hours 09 min
Richard Konkolski Nike II  Czech Republic Mono-44(G) 21 days 06 hours 21 min
Tom Grossman Kriter VII  United States Tri-56(P) 21 days 08 hours 01 min

The 1/OSTAR, 1984

The 1984 race saw the pace of technical innovation continue to accelerate. Custom-built trimarans were again the main force, but the monohulls also advanced, with the introduction of water ballast and other innovations. Some controversy over the size limitations in the previous race resulted in slightly larger classes, and the removal of restrictions on bow and stern overhangs; yachts were divided into five classes, but still with no distinction between monohulls and multihulls. Europe 1 continued to support the race, and Argos beacons were again used by all boats.

The first day of the race saw several dismastings in strong gales, and several skippers were awarded time for rescuing other racers. This resulted in an upset at the finish — Philippe Poupon, sailing the 56-foot (17 m) trimaran Fleury Michon VI, arrived first with a time of 16 days 12 hours, and went to bed thinking that he had won. But the race was awarded to Yvon Fauconnier, who finished 10 hours later but was given a 16-hour time allowance for rendering assistance to Philippe Jeantot, whose catamaran Credit Agricole had capsized. The winner among the monohulls was Warren Luhrs, in his 60-footer Thursday's Child.[4][19]

The top ten finishers:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Yvon Fauconnier Umupro Jardin V  France Tri-53(I) 16 days 06 hours 25 min
Philippe Poupon Fleury Michon  France Tri-56(I) 16 days 12 hours 25 min
Marc Pajot Elf Aquitaine II  France Cat-59(I) 16 days 12 hours 48 min
Éric Tabarly Paul Ricard  France Tri-60(I) 16 days 14 hours 21 min
Peter Philips Travacrest Seaway  United Kingdom Tri-60(I) 16 days 17 hours 23 min
Daniel Gilard Nantes  France Tri-60(I) 16 days 17 hours 51 min
Olivier Moussy Region Centre  France Tri-45(II) 16 days 19 hours 16 min
Bruno Peyron L'iglon  France Cat-60(I) 16 days 20 hours 21 min
Francois Boucher Ker Cadelac  France Tri-50(I) 16 days 21 hours 48 min
Warren Luhrs Thursday's Child  United States Mono-60(I) 16 days 22 hours 27 min

The CSTAR, 1988

With Carlsberg taking over as main sponsor, the Carlsberg Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race of 1988 saw 95 entrants, with custom-built multihulls again dominating. Favourable weather made ideal conditions for a fast pace, and indeed Philippe Poupon's winning time set a new race record of 10 days, 9 hours and 10 minutes. One of the main hazards of the race was damage by whales; Mike Birch's Fujicolor was damaged by a whale, forcing him to retire from the race; and David Sellings was forced to abandon Hyccup after she was sunk by an aggressive pod of whales. The original Jester, which had taken part in every edition of the race, was lost in heavy weather in the tail-end of the fleet.[4][6][20]

The top eleven finishers were all Class 1 multihulls. The top five were:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Philippe Poupon Fleury Michon  France Tri-60(I) 10 days 09 hours 15 min
Olivier Moussy Laiterie Mt St Michel  France Tri-60(I) 11 days 04 hours 17 min
Loïck Peyron Lada Poch II  France Tri-60(I) 11 days 09 hours 02 min
Philip Steggall Sebago  United States Tri-60(I) 11 days 09 hours 55 min
Bruno Peyron VSD  France Cat-60(I) 12 days 23 hours 20 min

The fastest monohull, UAP 1992, finished 13th. The top five monohulls:

Skipper Boat Nationality Class Time
Jean Yves Terlain UAP 1992  France Mono-60(I) 17 days 04 hours 05 min
John Martin Allied Bank  South Africa Mono-60(I) 17 days 08 hours 18 min
Jose Ugarte Castrol Solo  Spain Mono-60(I) 17 days 21 hours 47 min
Titouan Lamazou Ecureuil d'Aquitaine  France Mono-60(I) 18 days 07 hours 00 min
Courtney Hazelton Mariko  United States Mono-45(III) 21 days 05 hours 44 min

The Europe 1 STAR, 1992

The Europe 1 Star of 1992 saw the fleet beset by a full range of hazards — storms, icebergs, trawlers, fog and whales hit boats on the northern route, before they were finally becalmed off Newfoundland. The monohulls managed the heavy conditions and crosswinds quite well, but the multis were plagued with capsizes and damage. Yves Parlier was the top monohull skipper in a new Open 60, setting a monohull record time of 14 days 16 hours.[4][21]

The top ten finishers included two monohulls:

Skipper Boat Class Time
Loïck Peyron Fujicolor Tri-60(1) 11 days 01 hours 35 min
Paul Vatine Haute-Normandie Tri-60(1) 12 days 07 hours 49 min
Francis Joyon Banque Populaire Tri(1) 12 days 09 hours 14 min
Hervé Laurent Took Took Tri-60(1) 13 days 04 hours 01 min
Laurent Bourgnon Primagaz Tri-60(1) 13 days 07 hours 40 min
Yves Parlier Cacolac d'Aquitaine Mono-60(1) 14 days 16 hours 01 min
Etienne Giroire Up My Sleeve Tri-40(4) 16 days 06 hours 45 min
Mark Gatehouse Queen Anne's Battery Mono-60(1) 16 days 11 hours 30 min
Hervé Cléris C L M Tri-50(2) 16 days 12 hours 17 min
Pascal Hérold Dupon Duran Tri-50(2) 16 days 20 hours 16 min

The Europe 1 STAR, 1996

Loïck Peyron had a new 60-foot (18 m) trimaran, Fujicolor II, for the 1996 edition of the race; and he led at the start, passing the Eddystone lighthouse at 28 knots (52 km/h). However, Francis Joyon dominated the race, and 600 miles (970 km) from the finish seemed set to win, at which point he was 24 hours ahead of his nearest rival; but his trimaran Banque Populaire was capsized by a gust off Nova Scotia, leaving the race to Peyron.

Peyron's time of 10 days, 10 hours and 5 minutes, was just 50 minutes short of the course record. Peyron was the first person to win two successive editions of the race, and only the second to win twice. Gerry Roufs won the monohull division, sailing the 60-foot (18 m) Groupe LG2. Italian Giovanni Soldini won the 50-foot (15 m) monohull class, in Telecom Italia.[4][6][22]

Only three multihulls overcame the conditions to make the top ten finishers:

Skipper Boat Class Time
Loïck Peyron Fujucolour II Tri-60(1) 10 days 10 hours 05 min
Paul Vatine Region Haute Normandie Tri-60(1) 10 days 13 hours 05 min
Mike Birch Biscuits la Trinitaine Tri-60(1) 14 days 12 hours 55 min
Gerry Roufs Groupe LG 2 Mono-60(1) 15 days 14 hours 50 min
Giovanni Soldini Telecom Italia Mono-50(2) 15 days 18 hours 29 min
Josh Hall Gartmore Investments Mono-60(1) 16 days 15 hours 56 min
Vittorio Malingri Anicaflash Mono-60(1) 16 days 19 hours 24 min
Hervé Laurent Groupe LG1 Mono-60(1) 17 days 00 hours 55 min
Eric Dumont Café Legal le Gout Mono-60(1) 17 days 01 hours 11 min
Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool-Vital-Europe 2 Mono-60(1) 17 days 06 hours 43 min

The Europe 1 New Man STAR, 2000

With sponsorship from Europe 1 and New Man, a French sportswear manufacturer, the fortieth anniversary edition of the OSTAR was run under the title Europe 1 New Man STAR.[23]

A surprising total of 24 Open 60 monohulls entered the race; most of these were using the event as a qualifying run for the Vendée Globe starting later in the year. One of these was the youngest racer in the fleet at age 23, Ellen MacArthur in her Open 60 Kingfisher; she beat the big names to become the surprise winner of the monohull division, and the youngest ever winner of the race. The overall winner was Francis Joyon, in his trimaran Eure et Loir.[4][24][25][26]

Skipper Boat Nationality Time
ORMA 60 Multihulls
Francis Joyon Eure et Loir  France 9 days 23 hours 21 min
Marc Guillemot Biscuits la Trinitaine  France 10 days 1 hours 59 min
Franck Cammas Groupama  France 10 days 2 hours 40 min
Alain Gautier Foncia  France 10 days 8 hours 37 min
Jean-Luc Nelias Belgacom  France 10 days 19 hours 35 min
Yvan Bourgnon Bayer en France  France 16 days 6 hours 21 min
Lalou Roucayrol Banque Populaire  France lost a hull
IMOCA 60 Monohulls
Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher  United Kingdom 14 days 23 hours 1 min
Roland Jourdain Sill Beurre le Gall  France 15 days 13 hours 38 min
Mike Golding Team Group 4  United Kingdom 15 days 14 hours 50 min
Thierry Dubois Solidaires  France 15 days 15 hours 33 min
Giovanni Soldini Fila  Italy 16 days 4 hours 10 min
Catherine Chabaud Whirlpool  France 16 days 10 hours 19 min
Michel Desjoyeaux PRB  France 16 days 15 hours 51 min
Marc Thiercelin Active Wear  France 17 days 15 hours 44 min
Dominique Wavre Union Bancaire Privee  France 17 days 17 hours 2 min
Joe Seeten Nord Pas de Calais  France 18 days 2 hours 22 min
Xavier Lecoeur GEB  France 19 days 13 hours 3 min
Didier Munduteguy DDP 60me Sud  France 21 days 7 hours 18 min
Patrick Favre Adrenalines  France 31 days 5 hours 19 min
Yves Parlier Aquitaine Innovations  France dismasted
Thomas Coville Sodebo Savourons la Vie  France dismasted
Eric Dumont Services Euroka  France dismasted
Dirk Gunst Tomidi  Belgium autopilot failure
Richard Tolkien This Time  United Kingdom sail damage
Bruce Burgess Hawaiian Express  United States personal reasons

The Transat, 2004

After the 2000 event, the RYC decided to split the race into two separate events. The 2004 professional edition of the race featured a new title — The Transat — and a new finish, at Boston, Massachusetts. 37 boats entered, in four classes: ORMA 50 and 60-foot (18 m) multihulls; and IMOCA 50 and 60-foot (18 m) monohulls. Despite stormy conditions, all four classes of boats broke records; seven of the Open 60 monohulls broke the previous monohull record. Several boats suffered damage, however.[7]

Skipper Boat Nationality Time
ORMA 60 Multihulls
Michel Desjoyeaux Geant  France 8 days 8 hours 29 min
Thomas Coville Sodebo  France 8 days 10 hours 38 min
Franck Cammas Groupama  France 8 days 14 hours 16 min
Alain Gautier Foncia  France 9 days 7 hours 5 min
Karine Fauconnier Sergio Tacchini  France 9 days 12 hours 36 min
Lalou Roucayrol Banque Populaire  France 9 days 14 hours 5 min
Giovanni Soldini TIM Progetto Italia  Italy 10 days 6 hours 26 min
Philippe Monnet Sopra  France 10 days 9 hours 28 min
Fred Le Peutrec Gitana XI  France 11 days 9 hours 20 min
Steve Ravussin Banque Covefi  Switzerland 12 days 4 hours 27 min
Yves Parlier Mediatis Region Aquitaine  France 13 days 7 hours 11 min
Marc Guillemot Gitana X'  France 'broken centre board
IMOCA 60 Monohulls
Mike Golding Ecover  United Kingdom 12 days 15 hours 18 min
Dominique Wavre Temenos  Switzerland 12 days 18 hours 22 min
Mike Sanderson Pindar Alphagraphics
12 days 20 hours 54 min
Nick Moloney Skandia
13 days 9 hours 13 min
Conrad Humphreys Hellomoto
13 days 20 hours 24 min
Marc Thiercelin Pro-Form  France 14 days 1 hours 41 min
Hervé Laurent UUDS  France 14 days 3 hours 58 min
Sebastien Josse VMI  France 14 days 10 hours 2 min (corrected)
Karen Leibovici Atlantica-Charente Maritime  France 17 days 17 hours 12 min
Norbert Sedlacek Austria One
17 days 18 hours 35 min
Charles Hedrich Objectif 3  France 18 days 4 hours 12 min
Anne Liardet Quicksilver  France 19 days 14 hours 27 min
Jean-Pierre Dick Virbac  France dismasted
Vincent Riou PRB  France dismasted
Bernard Stamm Cheminees Pouj. Armour Lux  Switzerland capsized
ORMA 50 Multihulls
Eric Bruneel Trilogic
14 days 1 hours 23 min
Rich Wilson Great American II
15 days 0 hours 19 min
Dominique Demachy Gify
15 days 13 hours 13 min
Etienne Hochede PiR2
19 days 13 hours 45 min
Franck-Yves Escoffier Crepes Whaou!  France broke centreboard
Mike Birch Nootka
autipilots broke
IMOCA 50 Monohulls
Kip Stone Artforms
15 days 5 hours 20 min
Joe Harris Wells Fargo
16 days 14 hours 21 min
Jacques Bouchacourt Okami
17 days 23 hours 17 min
Roger Langevin Branec III
over time limit

Faraday Mill OSTAR 2005

The 2005 event was the first held for smaller boats, again under the name OSTAR, sponsored by Faraday Mill.

35 boats took part with 16 forced to retire. Franco Mozoli won the race in Cotonella, taking 17 days and 21 hours to finish. The 2005 race featured the first single-handed, trans-atlantic crossing by a profoundly deaf person: Gerry Hughes.[27]

Skipper Boat Nationality Time
Franco Manzoli Cotonella  Italy 17 days 21 hours 41 min
Roger Langevin Branec IV  France 18 days 6 hours 7 min
Pierre Antoine Spirit  France 18 days 8 hours 43 min
Leon Bart Houd van Hout  Netherlands 25 days 16 hours 45 min
Aurelia Ditton Shockwave  United Kingdom 27 days 9 hours 19 min
Anne Caseneuve Acanthe Ingeniere  France Retired - injured knee
Etienne Giroire Up My Sleeve  United States Retired
Ross Hobson Mollymawk  United Kingdom Retired - broken daggerboard
Steve White Olympian Challenger  United Kingdom 20 days 5 hours 24 min
Yves Lepine Atlantix Express  Canada 21 days 4 hours 40 min
Nico Budel Hayai  Netherlands 21 days 18 hours 17 min
Philip Rubright Echo Zulu  United States 23 days 22 hours 50 min
Lionel Regnier Trois Mille Sabords  France 25 days 23 hours 48 min
Mervyn Wheatley Tamarind  United Kingdom 26 days 2 hours 48 min
Peter Keig Zeal  United Kingdom 27 days 11 hours 31 min
Stephen Gratton Amelie of Dart  United Kingdom 30 days 4 hours 32 min
Richard Hatton Chimp  United Kingdom 30 days 18 hours 7 min
Huib Swets Vijaya  Netherlands 32 days 5 hours 4 min
Gerry Hughes Quest II  United Kingdom 34 days 4 hours 15 min
Paul Heiney Ayesha of St Mawes  United Kingdom 35 days 14 hours 19 min
Groot Cees Reality  Netherlands 41 days 16 hours 15 min
Tony Waldeck Adrienne May  United Kingdom Retired - mainsail luff cars failed
Michel Jaheny Chivas III  France Retired
Patrice Carpentier VM Materiaux  France Retired
Bart Boosman De Franschman  Netherlands Retired - broken shroud
Hannah White Spirit of Canada  United Kingdom Retired - auto helm broken
Peter Crowther Suomi Kudu  United Kingdom Retired - broken forestay
Michel Kleinjans Roaring Forty  Belgium Retired - bulkhead problems
Pieter Ardiaans Robosail  Netherlands Retired - boom, vang problems
Ronny Nollet La Promesse  Belgium Retired - previous back injury
Pierre Chatelin Destination Calais  France Retired - problems with boat
Bertus Buys Sea Beryl  Netherlands Retired - mainsail damage
Bram Van De Loosdrecht Octavus  Netherlands Retired - dismasted
Jacques Dewez Blue Shadow  France Retired - damaged at start

The Artemis Transat, 2008

The 2008 Transat race was named after its sponsor, Artemis. On Thursday 15 May, Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) had to retire from the race after a collision with a whale. Sebastien Josse (BT), who was leading, had to retire owing to damage to the mainsail carriage on Saturday 17 May, leaving Vincent Riou (PRB) take the lead on the Sunday morning. Loïck Peyron, on Gitana Eighty, caught up with Vincent Riou, who had to abandon the race due to serious keel damage after a collision with a basking shark on the night of Monday 12 / Tuesday 13 May. The race jury decided to grant two and a half hours of bonus time to Loïck Peyron after he rescued Vincent Riou. Starting on 11 May from Plymouth, Peyron spent 12 days, 11 hours, 15 minutes and 35 seconds (not including the time bonus) to cover the 2,992 miles of the race (averaging 9,938 knots), thus improving previous record of 12 days, 15 hours, 18 minutes and 8 seconds, which was held by Mike Golding (Ecover).

Position Skipper Boat Nationality Time
IMOCA 60 Monohulls
1 Med 1.png Loïck Peyron Gitana Eigthy  France 12 days 8 hours 45 min
2 Med 2.png Armel Le Cleac'h Brit Air  France 12 days 12 hours 28 min
3 Med 3.png Yann Eliès Generali  France 13 days 14 hours 30 min
4 Marc Guillemot Safran  France 14 days 21 hours 18 min
5 Samantha Davies Roxy  United Kingdom 15 days 10 hours 00 min
Ab Vincent Riou PRB  France keel
Ab Sébastien Josse BT  France sail damage
Ab Michel Desjoyeaux Foncia  France skeg
Ab Unai Basurko Pakea Bizkaia  Spain
Class 40 Monohulls
1 - -
- days - hours - min

OSTAR 2009

The 2009 OSTAR started on 25 May 2009. It is currently underway. Visit the race website for more details. The skippers blogs are published on


  1. ^ RWYC
  2. ^ The Transat, the official web site
  3. ^ All the Single handed Transatlantic Race history, from Team Woodbase
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race 1960-2000, by Peter Marsh
  5. ^ a b c History — 11 June 1960, from Team Woodbase
  6. ^ a b c d Peyron Repeats STAR Triumph, from Sailing World
  7. ^ a b Records Tumble in Classic Transat Race, from the official web site
  8. ^ The Race — The Course, from Team Woodbase
  9. ^ The Golden Globe Race, by Barry Pickthall, from
  10. ^ Finding Beauty in a Junk, by Michelle Potter
  11. ^ History — 23 May 1964, from Team Woodbase
  12. ^ History — 1 June 1968, from Team Woodbase
  13. ^ History — 17 June 1972, from Team Woodbase
  14. ^ Club Méditerranée: un géant parmi les monocoques (French), with a picture of the boat
  15. ^ The Battle of Trafalgar Muster Roll, from the official HMS Victory website
  16. ^ History — 5 June 1976, from Team Woodbase
  17. ^ 1980 — Triumph of the Multihulls, from the official web site
  18. ^ History — 7 June 1980, from Team Woodbase
  19. ^ History — 2 June 1984, from Team Woodbase
  20. ^ History — 5 June 1988, from Team Woodbase
  21. ^ History — 7 June 1992, from Team Woodbase
  22. ^ History — 1996, from Team Woodbase
  23. ^ The Race — This Year, from Team Woodbase
  24. ^ 2000 — Open 60 battle, from the official web site
  25. ^ Kingfisher Challenge 2000 — She Did It!, from Adverc Battery Management
  27. ^ Quest II Sailing Project

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