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Next OSTAR and TWOSTAR editions sail in 2020

by Neil Dunkley on 31 Oct 31 October 2017
OSTAR start © Paul Gibbins

At the prize giving ceremony for this year's transatlantic race winners the Royal Western Yacht Club announced the next editions of the OSTAR (the Original Singlehanded TransAtlantic Race) and the TWOSTAR (for two handed yachts) will sail in 2020.

The races will be the 16th edition of the OSTAR and the 7th edition of the TWOSTAR. The starts have been brought forward one year (they normally run every four years) to mark the 60th anniversary of the OSTAR.

The OSTAR, conceived by Cockleshell hero Blondie Hasler, was first run in 1960 when it was won by Francis Chichester later knighted for his exploits. In 1964 the second race was won by Frenchman Eric Tabarly, awarded the Legion d'Honneur by President de Gaulle, who ignited a love of oceanic shorthanded sailing amongst the French. There have been many copies of the OSTAR but none have outlived the original race which has been run by the Royal Western Yacht Club continuously for 60 years. The TWOSTAR, the two handed equivalent of the OSTAR, was first sailed in 1981 and has continued with only a short break in the early 2000s.

Neil Dunkley, the Race Director for the 2020 OSTAR and TWOSTAR who is an RWYC Club member and RYA official commented, "the races attract two types of sailors, those with a passion for short handed racing and have a lifelong ambition to tackle this extremely challenging race for their own personal satisfaction. Those that wish to use the event as a stepping stone toward a professional short handed sailing career. Either way, you need to be tough, extremely well prepared both mentally and physically with a yacht that can withstand a month of upwind sailing in the north Atlantic. Two challenges confront the sailors – getting to the start line and completing the race".

The races conform to the Corinthian ethos envisaged by Hasler, who saw the races as being sailor against the weather, into the prevailing North Atlantic winds and currents, as much as against the other boats. Especially true this year which saw the worst weather since the 1976 race.

Further information is available from and at rwyc.org/ostar.

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