Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race

Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race
Founded 1960
Organizer  Royal Western Yacht Club
Start Plymouth
Finish Newport, RI
Type single-handed offshore race
Most recent champion(s) Jeroboam
Jonathan Green
Official website

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 United States, 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 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.

Hasler sought sponsorship for a race, but by 1959, no-one had been prepared to back the race. 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 changes 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

OSTAR Line Honours from 1960 to 2013

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 United Kingdom 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]

United Kingdom Francis ChichesterGipsy Moth IIIMono-4040 days 12 hours 30 min
United Kingdom Blondie HaslerJesterMono-2648 days 12 hours 02 min
United Kingdom David LewisCardinal VertueMono-2555 days 00 hours 50 min
United Kingdom Val HowellsEIRAMono-2562 days 05 hours 50 min
France Jean LacombeCap HornMono-21.574 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]

France Éric TabarlyPen Duick IIMono-4427 days 03 hours 56 min
United Kingdom Francis ChichesterGipsy Moth IIIMono-4029 days 23 hours 57 min
United Kingdom Val HowellsAkkaMono-3532 days 18 hours 08 min
United Kingdom Alec RoseLively LadyMono-3636 days 17 hours 30 min
United Kingdom Blondie HaslerJesterMono-2637 days 22 hours 05 min
Australia Bill HowellStardriftMono-3038 days 03 hours 23 min
United Kingdom David LewisRehu MoanaCat-4038 days 12 hours 04 min
United Kingdom Mike EllisonIlalaMono-3646 days 06 hours 26 min
France Jean LacombeGolifMono-2246 days 07 hours 05 min
United Kingdom Bob BunkerVanda CaeleaMono-2549 days 18 hours 45 min
United Kingdom Mike ButterfieldMisty MillerCat-3053 days 00 hours 05 min
United Kingdom Geoffrey ChaffeyEricht 2Mono-3160 days 11 hours 15 min
United Kingdom Derek KelsallFolatreTri-3561 days 14 hours 04 min
Denmark Axel PendersonMarco PoloMono-2863 days 13 hours 30 min
United Kingdom Robin McCurdyTammie NorieMono-40retired

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 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. Another was the first woman to have taken part, the West German Edith Baumann, aboard her 39-foot trimaran "Koala III".[12]

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][13]

The top seven finishers:

United KingdomGeoffrey WilliamsSir Thomas LiptonMono-5725 days 20 hours 33 min
South Africa Bruce DallingVoortrekkerMono-5026 days 13 hours 42 min
United States Tom FollettCheersProa-4027 days 00 hours 13 min
United Kingdom Leslie WilliamsSpirit of Cutty SarkMono-5329 days 10 hours 17 min
Australia Bill HowellGolden CockerelCat-42.531 days 16 hours 24 min
United Kingdom Brian CookeOpusMono-3234 days 08 hours 23 min
United Kingdom Martin Minter-KempGancia GirlTri-4234 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 finishers, 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][14]

The top ten finishers:

France Alain ColasPen Duick IVTri-7020 days 13 hours 15 min
France Jean-Yves TerlainVendredi TreizeMono-12821 days 05 hours 14 min
France Jean-Marie VidalCap 33Tri-5324 days 05 hours 40 min
United Kingdom Brian CookeBritish SteelMono-5924 days 19 hours 28 min
United States Tom FollettThree CheersTri-4627 days 11 hours 04 min
France Gerard PestyArchiteuthisTri-5528 days 11 hours 55 min
United Kingdom Martin Minter-KempStrongbowMono-6528 days 12 hours 46 min
France Alain GliksmanToucanMono-34.528 days 12 hours 54 min
Italy Franco FaggioniSagittarioMono-50.528 days 23 hours 05 min
United States James FerrisWhisperMono-53.529 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.[15] Although about the same overall length as HMS Victory (which had a crew of 820),[16] this modern boat was expressly designed for easy handling.

At the start of the race during login in it was discovered that one of the entrants David Sandeman was under age at 17 years and 176 days which was 189 days or 6 months under the youngest age permitted at the time. He had entered "Sea Raider" a 35 ft monohull which had very carefully been equipped and prepared in Jersey, Channel Islands for this race. David was not allowed to officially start but he crossed the line unofficially after the last boat had left. Halfway across the Atlantic a Russian trawler ran into him in the dark during a storm after being warned with a red spotlight. The Russian crew never saw him but their ship damaged the starboard mast halyards which required substantial work by the Russian crew to repair the boat sufficiently to allow it to continue. David Sandeman was later listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the youngest person to single handedly sail the Atlantic between Jersey, UK and Rhode Island.

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 into 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][17]

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):

France Éric TabarlyPen Duick VIMono-73(P)23 days 20 hours 12 min
Canada Mike BirchThe Third TurtleTri-32(J)24 days 20 hours 39 min
Poland Kazimierz JaworskiSpanielMono-38(J)24 days 23 hours 40 min
United States Tom GrossmanCap 33Tri-53(P)26 days 08 hours 15 min
France Alain ColasClub MediterranéeMono-236(P)26 days 13 hours 36 min
France Jean Claude ParisisPetrouchkaMono-47(G)27 days 00 hours 55 min
United Kingdom David PalmerFTTri-35(J)27 days 07 hours 45 min
United States Walter GreeneFriendsTri-30(J)27 days 10 hours 37 min
France Jaques TimsitArauna IVMono-38(G)27 days 15 hours 32 min
France Alain GabbayObjectif Sud 3Mono-38(J)28 days 09 hours 58 min
United States Francis StokesMoonshineMono-40(G)28 days 12 hours 46 min

The 1/OSTAR, 1980

The 1980 race introduced a length limit of 56 feet overall, 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][18][19]

Dame Naomi James, who became the first lady to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly in 1977/78 was reunited with the Express Crusader (fitted out and renamed Kriter Lady) for the race. She was the first woman back and broke the women's speed record. Her husband Rob James also competed in that race, finishing twelfth in the trimaran Boatfile.

The top ten finishers:

United States Philip WeldMoxieTri-51(P)17 days 23 hours 12 min
United Kingdom Nick KeigThree Legs of Mann IIITri-53(P)18 days 06 hours 04 min
United States Philip SteggallJeans FosterTri-38(G)18 days 06 hours 45 min
Canada Mike BirchOlympus PhotoTri-46(P)18 days 07 hours 15 min
United States Walter GreeneChaussettes OlympiaTri-35(G)18 days 17 hours 29 min
Poland Kazimierz JaworskiSpaniel IIMono-56(P)19 days 13 hours 25 min
Italy Edoardo AustoniChica BobaMono-56(P)20 days 02 hours 30 min
France Daniel GilardBrittany Ferries IMono-44(G)21 days 00 hours 09 min
Czech Republic Richard KonkolskiNike IIMono-44(G)21 days 06 hours 21 min
United States Tom GrossmanKriter VIITri-56(P)21 days 08 hours 01 min
Poland Czesław GogołkiewiczRaczyński 2Mono-56(P)retired - collision

Canadian skippers Mike Birch and Bob Lush were the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary Singlehanders, released in 1982.[20]

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][21]

The top ten finishers:

France Yvon FauconnierUmupro Jardin VTri-53(I)16 days 06 hours 25 min
France Philippe PouponFleury MichonTri-56(I)16 days 12 hours 25 min
France Marc PajotElf Aquitaine IICat-59(I)16 days 12 hours 48 min
France Éric TabarlyPaul RicardTri-60(I)16 days 14 hours 21 min
United Kingdom Peter PhilipsTravacrest SeawayTri-60(I)16 days 17 hours 23 min
France Daniel GilardNantesTri-60(I)16 days 17 hours 51 min
France Olivier MoussyRegion CentreTri-45(II)16 days 19 hours 16 min
France Bruno PeyronL'AiglonCat-60(I)16 days 20 hours 21 min
France Francois BoucherKer CadelacTri-50(I)16 days 21 hours 48 min
United States Warren LuhrsThursday's ChildMono-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. Mike Richey's 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][22]

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

France Philippe PouponFleury MichonTri-60(I)10 days 09 hours 15 min
France Olivier MoussyLaiterie Mt St MichelTri-60(I)11 days 04 hours 17 min
France Loïck PeyronLada Poch IITri-60(I)11 days 09 hours 02 min
United States Philip SteggallSebagoTri-60(I)11 days 09 hours 55 min
France Bruno PeyronVSDCat-60(I)12 days 23 hours 20 min

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

France Jean Yves TerlainUAP 1992Mono-60(I)17 days 04 hours 05 min
South Africa John MartinAllied BankMono-60(I)17 days 08 hours 18 min
Spain Jose UgarteCastrol SoloMono-60(I)17 days 21 hours 47 min
France Titouan LamazouEcureuil d'AquitaineMono-60(I)18 days 07 hours 00 min
United States Courtney HazeltonMarikoMono-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][23]

The top ten finishers included two monohulls:

France Loïck PeyronFujicolorTri-60(1)11 days 01 hours 35 min
France Paul vatineHaute-NormandieTri-60(1)12 days 07 hours 49 min
France Francis JoyonBanque PopulaireTri(1)12 days 09 hours 14 min
France Hervé LaurentTook TookTri-60(1)13 days 04 hours 01 min
Switzerland Laurent BourgnonPrimagazTri-60(1)13 days 07 hours 40 min
France Yves ParlierCacolac d'AquitaineMono-60(1)14 days 16 hours 01 min
FranceUnited States Etienne GiroireUp My SleeveTri-40(4)16 days 06 hours 45 min
United Kingdom Mark GatehouseQueen Anne's BatteryMono-60(1)16 days 11 hours 30 min
France Hervé ClérisC L MTri-50(2)16 days 12 hours 17 min
France Pascal HéroldDupon DuranTri-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][24]

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

France Loïck PeyronFujucolour IITri-60(1)10 days 10 hours 05 min
France Paul VatineRegion Haute NormandieTri-60(1)10 days 13 hours 05 min
Canada Mike BirchBiscuits la TrinitaineTri-60(1)14 days 12 hours 55 min
Canada Gerry RoufsGroupe LG 2Mono-60(1)15 days 14 hours 50 min
Italy Giovanni SoldiniTelecom ItaliaMono-50(2)15 days 18 hours 29 min
United Kingdom Josh HallGartmore InvestmentsMono-60(1)16 days 15 hours 56 min
Italy Vittorio MalingriAnicaflashMono-60(1)16 days 19 hours 24 min
France Hervé LaurentGroupe LG1Mono-60(1)17 days 00 hours 55 min
France Eric DumontCafé Legal le GoutMono-60(1)17 days 01 hours 11 min
France Catherine ChabaudWhirlpool-Vital-Europe 2Mono-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.[25]

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 Owen-Clarke designed 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][26][27][28]

ORMA 60 Multihulls
France Francis JoyonEure et Loir9 days 23 hours 21 min
France Marc GuillemotBiscuits la Trinitaine10 days 1 hours 59 min
France Franck CammasGroupama10 days 2 hours 40 min
France Alain GautierFoncia10 days 8 hours 37 min
France Jean-Luc NeliasBelgacom10 days 19 hours 35 min
Switzerland Yvan BourgnonBayer en France16 days 6 hours 21 min
France Lalou RoucayrolBanque Populaireretired - lost a hull
IMOCA 60 Monohulls
United Kingdom Ellen MacArthurKingfisher14 days 23 hours 1 min
France Roland JourdainSill Beurre le Gall15 days 13 hours 38 min
United Kingdom Mike GoldingTeam Group 415 days 14 hours 50 min
FranceThierry DuboisSolidaires15 days 15 hours 33 min
Italy Giovanni SoldiniFila16 days 4 hours 10 min
France Catherine ChabaudWhirlpool16 days 10 hours 19 min
France Michel DesjoyeauxPRB16 days 15 hours 51 min
France Marc ThiercelinActive Wear17 days 15 hours 44 min
Switzerland Dominique WavreUnion Bancaire Privee17 days 17 hours 2 min
France Joe SeetenNord Pas de Calais18 days 2 hours 22 min
France Xavier LecoeurGEB19 days 13 hours 3 min
France Didier MunduteguyDDP 60me Sud21 days 7 hours 18 min
France Patrick FavreAdrenalines31 days 5 hours 19 min
France Yves ParlierAquitaine Innovationsretired - dismasted
France Thomas CovilleSodebo Savourons la Vieretired - dismasted
France Eric DumontServices Eurokaretired - dismasted
Belgium Dirk GunstTomidiretired - autopilot failure
United Kingdom Richard TolkienThis Timeretired - sail damage
United States Bruce BurgessHawaiian Expressretired for personal reasons

The Transat, 2004

After the 2000 event, the RWYC 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. Of the first four IMOCA Open 60's, Ecover, Pindar AlphaGraphics and Skandia (ex Kingfisher) were all designed by the British designers, Owen Clarke Design. This office also designed the first IMOCA 50, Artforms, which broke the 'Class 2' record. Several boats suffered damage, however.[7]

ORMA 60 Multihulls
France Michel DesjoyeauxGeant8 days 8 hours 29 min
France Thomas CovilleSodebo8 days 10 hours 38 min
France Franck CammasGroupama8 days 14 hours 16 min
France Alain GautierFoncia9 days 7 hours 5 min
France Karine FauconnierSergio Tacchini9 days 12 hours 36 min
France Lalou RoucayrolBanque Populaire9 days 14 hours 5 min
Italy Giovanni SoldiniTIM Progetto Italia10 days 6 hours 26 min
France Philippe MonnetSopra10 days 9 hours 28 min
France Fred Le PeutrecGitana XI11 days 9 hours 20 min
Switzerland Steve RavussinBanque Covefi12 days 4 hours 27 min
France Yves ParlierMediatis Region Aquitaine13 days 7 hours 11 min
France Marc GuillemotGitana Xretired - broken centerboard
IMOCA 60 Monohulls
United Kingdom Mike GoldingEcover12 days 15 hours 18 min
Switzerland Dominique WavreTemenos12 days 18 hours 22 min
New Zealand Mike SandersonPindar Alphagraphics12 days 20 hours 54 min
Australia Nick MoloneySkandia13 days 9 hours 13 min
United Kingdom Conrad HumphreysHellomoto13 days 20 hours 24 min
France Marc ThiercelinPro-Form14 days 1 hours 41 min
France Hervé LaurentUUDS14 days 3 hours 58 min
France Sebastien JosseVMI14 days 10 hours 2 min (corrected)
France Karen LeiboviciAtlantica-Charente Maritime17 days 17 hours 12 min
Austria Norbert SedlacekAustria One17 days 18 hours 35 min
France Charles HedrichObjectif 318 days 4 hours 12 min
France Anne LiardetQuicksilver19 days 14 hours 27 min
France Jean-Pierre DickVirbacretired - dismasted
France Vincent RiouPRBdismasted
SwitzerlandBernard StammCheminees Poujoulat Armour Luxcapsized
ORMA 50 Multihulls
France Éric BruneelTrilogic14 days 1 hours 23 min
United States Rich WilsonGreat American II15 days 0 hours 19 min
France Dominique DemachyGify15 days 13 hours 13 min
France Etienne HochedePiR219 days 13 hours 45 min
France Franck-Yves EscoffierCrepes Whaou!retired - broke daggerboard
Canada Mike BirchNootkaretired - broken autopilot
IMOCA 50 Monohulls
United States Kip StoneArtforms15 days 5 hours 20 min
United States Joe HarrisWells Fargo16 days 14 hours 21 min
France Jacques BouchacourtOkami17 days 23 hours 17 min
France Roger LangevinBranec IIIover 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.[29]

Italy Franco ManzoliCotonella17 days 21 hours 41 min
France Roger LangevinBranec IV18 days 6 hours 7 min
France Pierre AntoineSpirit18 days 8 hours 43 min
Netherlands Leon BartHoud van Hout25 days 16 hours 45 min
United Kingdom Aurelia DittonShockwave27 days 9 hours 19 min
France Anne CaseneuveAcanthe Ingeniereretired - injured knee
FranceUnited States Etienne GiroireUp My Sleeveretired
United Kingdom Ross HobsonMollymawkretired - broken daggerboard
United Kingdom Steve WhiteOlympian Challenger20 days 5 hours 24 min
Canada Yves LepineAtlantix Express21 days 4 hours 40 min
Netherlands Nico BudelHayai21 days 18 hours 17 min
United States Philip RubrightEcho Zulu23 days 22 hours 50 min
France Lionel RegnierTrois Mille Sabords25 days 23 hours 48 min
United Kingdom Mervyn WheatleyTamarind26 days 2 hours 48 min
United Kingdom Peter KeigZeal27 days 11 hours 31 min
United Kingdom Stephen GrattonAmelie of Dart30 days 4 hours 32 min
United Kingdom Richard HattonChimp30 days 18 hours 7 min
Netherlands Huib SwetsVijaya32 days 5 hours 4 min
United Kingdom Gerry HughesQuest II34 days 4 hours 15 min
United Kingdom Paul HeineyAyesha of St Mawes35 days 14 hours 19 min
Netherlands Groot CeesReality41 days 16 hours 15 min
United Kingdom Tony WaldeckAdrienne Mayretired - broken mainsail luff cars
France Michel JahenyChivas IIIretired
France Patrice CarpentierVM Materiauxretired
Netherlands Bart BoosmanDe Franschmanretired - broken shroud
United Kingdom Hannah WhiteSpirit of Canadaretired - broken autopilot
United Kingdom Peter CrowtherSuomi Kuduretired - broken forestay
Belgium Michel KleinjansRoaring Fortyretired - bulkhead problems
Netherlands Pieter ArdiaansRobosailretired - boom, vang problems
Belgium Ronny NolletLa Promesseretired - previous back injury
France Pierre ChatelinDestination Calaisretired - problems with boat
Netherlands Bertus BuysSea Berylretired - mainsail damage
Netherlands Bram Van De LoosdrechtOctavusretired - dismasted
France Jacques DewezBlue Shadowretired - 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 8.7 knots), thus improving previous record of 12 days, 15 hours, 18 minutes and 8 seconds, which was held by Mike Golding (Ecover).

IMOCA 60 Monohulls
1 France Loïck PeyronGitana Eighty12 days 8 hours 45 min
2 France Armel Le Cleac'hBrit Air12 days 12 hours 28 min
3 France Yann ElièsGenerali13 days 14 hours 30 min
4France Marc GuillemotSafran14 days 21 hours 18 min
5United Kingdom Samantha DaviesRoxy15 days 10 hours 00 min
AbFrance Vincent RiouPRBretired - broken keel
AbFrance Sébastien JosseBTretired - sail damage
AbFrance Michel DesjoyeauxFonciaretired - broken skeg
AbBasque Country (autonomous community) Unai BasurkoPakea Bizkaia

OSTAR 2009

The 2009 OSTAR started on 25 May 2009.The skippers blogs were published on

SkipperBoatElapsed Time
NetherlandsJanKees LampeLA PROMESSE17 days 17 hours 40 min
United KingdomRob CraigieJbellino19 days 00 hours 10 min
ItalyRoberto WestermanSpinning Wheel19 days 03 hours 14 min
United KingdomHannah WhitePure Solo20 days 00 hours 22 min
Republic of IrelandBarry HurleyDinah20 days 22 hours 35 min
ItalyLuca ZoccoliIn Direzione Ostinata e Contraria20 days 22 hours 39 min
United KingdomJerry FreemanQII21 days 02 hours 49 min
United KingdomOscar MeadKing of Shaves21 days 12 hours 24 min
United KingdomKatie MillerBluQube21 days 18 hours 53 min
GermanyUwe RottgeringFanfan!21 days 22 hours 42 min
ItalyMarco NanniniBritish Beagle21 days 23 hours 44 min
NetherlandsHuib SwetsVijaya22 days 03 hours 41 min
NetherlandsDick KoopmansJager22 days 04 hours 35 min
NetherlandsBard BoosmanDe Franschman22 days 21 hours 04 min
United KingdomWill SayerElmarleen23 days 01 hours 30 min
United KingdomPip HildesleyCazenove Capital23 days 14 hours 05 min
FranceChristian ChalandreOlbia24 days 09 hours 06 min
United KingdomJohn FallaBanjaard24 days 20 hours 55 min
United KingdomMichael CollinsFlamingo Lady27 days 05 hours 31 min
United KingdomAndrew PettyJemima Nicholas28 days 15 hours 57 min
United KingdomPeter CrowtherSuomi Kudu29 days 02 hours 15 min
United StatesPeter Bourke"Rubicon"39 days 07 hours 56 min


OSTAR 2013

The 2013 OSTAR started on 27 May 2013.

Multihull Class
France Roger LangevinBranec VI
Poland Joanna PajkowskaCabrio 2
Gypsy Moth Class
United Kingdom Richard LettPathway to Children
Italy Andrea MuraVento Di Sardegna17 days 11 hours 12 min (elapsed)
Netherlands Jac SandbergSpirit
Netherlands Nico Budelsec. Hayai
Switzerland Ralph VilligerNtombifuti
Jester Class
United States Jonathan GreenJeroboam22 days 4 hours 25 min (corrected)
United Kingdom Charles EmmettBritish Beagle
Poland Krystian SzypkaSunrise
United Kingdom Mervyn WheatleyTamarind
United Kingdom Pether CrowtherSuomi Kudu
Eira Class
United Kingdom Geoff AlcornWind of Lorne II



  1. "Royal Western Yacht Club - A friendly club with full range of sailing and social activities, an excellent waterside venue for weddings and corporate events and home to famous oceanic races such as OSTAR, RB & I and Fastnet.".
  2. The Transat, the official web site
  3. All the Single handed Transatlantic Race history, from Team Woodbase
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race 1960–2000, by Peter Marsh
  5. 1 2 3 History — 11 June 1960, from Team Woodbase
  6. 1 2 3 4 Peyron Repeats STAR Triumph, from Sailing World
  7. 1 2 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. Foster, Lloyd (1989). OSTAR The full story of The Observer single-handed transtlantic and the two-handed round Britain races, p. 27. Haynes, Sparkford. ISBN 0854297308.
  13. History — 1 June 1968, from Team Woodbase
  14. History — 17 June 1972, from Team Woodbase
  15. Club Méditerranée: un géant parmi les monocoques (French), with a picture of the boat
  16. The Battle of Trafalgar Muster Roll, from the official HMS Victory website
  17. History — 5 June 1976, from Team Woodbase
  18. 1980 — Triumph of the Multihulls, from the official web site
  19. History — 7 June 1980, from Team Woodbase
  20. Shelagh Mackenzie and Kent Nason (co-directors) (1982). "Singlehanders" (49-minute film; requires Adobe Flash). Documentary film. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  21. History — 2 June 1984, from Team Woodbase
  22. History — 5 June 1988, from Team Woodbase
  23. History — 7 June 1992, from Team Woodbase
  24. History — 1996, from Team Woodbase
  25. The Race — This Year, from Team Woodbase
  26. 2000 — Open 60 battle, from the official web site
  27. Kingfisher Challenge 2000 — She Did It!, from Adverc Battery Management
  29. Gerry Hughes. "Gerry Hughes:".
  30. The Royal Western Yacht Club of England "OSTAR 2009", Retrieved on 1 October 2014.
  31. The Royal Western Yacht Club of England "OSTAR 2013 - Race Results"
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