OSTAR 1980

The Americans oust the French

Under pressure from the ‘experts of the day’, and concerns of possible intervention by the Board of Trade, the organisers had imposed a restriction on length (56ft) and on the number of entries (110 boats) following the 1976 edition. The race committee chairman, Jack Odling-Smee announced that the decision had been reached for three reasons, the final one being “We have set the class limits to try to adhere to the original concept of the race, which is to defeat the ocean rather than the other competitors.”

However the use of the expensive ARGOS tracking system, primarily for safety reasons, resulted in the sponsors (the Observer and radio station Europe 1) using the regular position reports to reinforce the competitive nature of the race. A number of the new transmitters failed during the race causing some concern over the ‘missing’ yachts – a problem that continues to the present.

Many potential competitors had to be turned away and, in the event, ninety competitors started. Incidents came immediately. Most unfortunate was Florence Arthaud who lost her mast before even reaching the start. Tom Grossman (Kriter VII) collided with Garuda but after hurried repairs to a float managed to restart the following afternoon.

There was a noticeable drop (26 to 16) in French participation who, upset by the restrictions in force, favoured the new solo transatlantic race, the Route du Rhum, created by Frenchman Michael Etevenon. Only one French skipper, Daniel Gilard, appeared in the top 10 finishers; although in 14th was a new rising star Olivier de Kersauson on Kriter VI. What did dominate the top 10 finishers, were the multihulls including the unofficial entry of Marc Pajot racing Tabarly’s “futuristic” foiler Paul Ricard. Tabarly had to withdraw from the race due to a skiing injury and Pajot, unable to complete the qualification in time, raced as an unofficial entry crossing the line in fifth. In fact, the top five slots were filled with multihulls but it was, above all, the “American Multihull School” that emerged victorious with the veteran of the race, the 100% ‘Corinthian entry’ Phil Weld (Moxie) who finished in 17 days, 23 hours and 12 minutes, plus Phil Steggall (Jeans Foster) and Walter Greene (Cassettes Olympia).

Phil Weld had carried a detailed study of North Atlantic weather and, balancing this with the known abilities of Moxie, he came up with his own route: south of 45°N 35°W and through 43°N 50°W – the Weld Waypoints.

The weather conditions were ideal at the start with a northerly flow for almost ten days enabling the leaders to sail more than half the course with the wind abeam, an extremely favourable situation for the trimarans. Seventy-two boats finished and the course record dropped by six days in one go – it was fast approaching the two-week barrier.

OSTAR 1980

SkipperYachtTypeLOAClassH/capElapsed TimeCorrectd TimeRankClass RankCorr RankNation
Weld, PhilipMoxieT51P17 23 1211USA
Keig, NickThree Legs of Mann IIIT53P18 06 0422GBR
Steggall, PhilipJeans FosterT38GM18 06 4531USA
Birch, MikeOlympus PhotoT46P18 07 1543CAN
Greene, WalterChaussettes OlympiaT35GM18 17 2952USA
Jaworski, KazimierzSpaniel IIM56P19 13 2564POL
Austoni, EdoardoChica Boba IIM56P20 02 3075ITA
Gilard, DanielBrittany Ferries IM44GM21 00 0983FRA
Konkolski, RichardNike IIM44GM21 06 2194CZE
Grossman, TomKriter VIIT56P21 00 11106USA
Wanders, WolfgangStadt KrefeldM44GM21 14 22115GER
Versluys, GustafTyfoon VIM44GM21 15 01126BEL
Labbe, AlainHydrofolieT42GM21 15 51137FRA
de Kersauson, OlivierKriter VIM54P22 04 20147FRA
Sicouri, PierreGuia FilaM44P22 02 34158ITA
James, RobBoatfileT31GM22 22 55168GBR
Gliksman, DenisFrance LoisirsM44GM23 10 00179FRA
Reed, BertieVoortrekkerM49P23 12 42189RSA
Riguidel, EugèneV.S.DT52P24 01 271910FRA
Fournier, PhilippeHaute-NendazM36.5GM24 03 052010FRA
Millet, Jean-PierreOpen SpaceM52P25 01 052111FRA
Sagi, VictorGarudaM48P25 08 232212ESP
Stokes, FrancisMooneshineM40GM25 14 072311USA
James, NaomiKriter LadyM53P25 19 122413GBR
Homewood, BillThe Third TurtleT32GM25 20 132512USA
Bocinsky, RobertAmbergrisM37GM26 00 392613USA
Jaouen, Jean-JacquesLes MenuiresM44GM26 15 212714FRA
Rakowicz, JerzySpanielM38GM26 19 292815POL
Chaundy, JohnFree NewspapersM32J28 00 56291GBR
Doelger, WilliamEdithT31GM28 04 103016USA
Hylen, UnoYoldiaM37GM28 05 483117SWE
Hampton, DesmondWild RivalM34GM28 13 443218GBR
Charnley, JohnAtlantic HarpM43GM29 06 213319GBR
Radford, IanJabulisiweM28J30 14 38342GBR
Oswald, JohnMoonshadow BasildonM37.5GM30 15 303520GBR
Debra, OscarCrumpy NutM43GM30 16 323621BEL
Clifford, RichardWarrior ShamaalM35GM30 16 453722GBR
Jukkema, HenkVictoriaM31J30 18 02383NED
Smith, ChrisSadler BluejacketM25J30 19 20394GBR
Butler, ChrisAchilleaM28J30 20 49405GBR
Roemers, KeesBollemaat IVM44GM30 21 244123NED
Primrose, AngusDemon of HambleM33GM30 23 084224GBR
Forkert, RogerParisien LibéréT38GM31 10 454325USA
Bernardin, GuyRatso IIM38GM31 11 454426FRA
Kyle, JamesDream WeaverM27J31 23 05456USA
Veyron, AlainCat MarineT28J32 02 50467FRA
Clark, DonAbacusM41.5GM32 07 174727GBR
Gochberg, ThomasMistralM41.5GM32 18 354828USA
Tonizzo, LuisEgretM27J33 05 25498USA
Djambazov, NikolayTangraM36GM34 10 535029BUL
van der Zee, WijtzeBlack PearlM41GM35 11 205130NED
Ugarte, JoseNorth WindM39GM36 06 435231ESP
van de Weg, HenkTjisjeM29.5J36 22 22539NED
Rodgers, PaulChristian SaulT34GM37 03 115432GBR
Quix, WolfgangJeantexM31J38 03 025510GER
Venturin, GiampaolaCeccoM26J38 08 555611ITA
Guiu, JuanCrisanM38GM38 13 435733ESP
Verwoerd, J.RSeagull IIM33GM38 17 005834NED
Lush, BobOlympus SailingM25J39 01 465912CAN
Lush, TonyOne Hand ClappingM32J39 06 566013USA
de Jong, AndreLa PeligrosaM30.5J39 16 556114NED
Lengyel, BobProdigalM25J40 06 096215USA
Ryan, TomPeggyT31GM40 20 166335USA
Sonne, ErnestElbeM36GM41 10 456436USA
Hunt, JohnCrystal CatfishM31J41 13 186516USA
Beharrell, JohnMiscinM38GM42 10 006637GBR
Panada, BeppeMu LatM56P42 18 206714ITA
Mustelin, PerMareM30J43 03 346817FIN
Wallace, WilliamNoviaM30J44 10 426918USA
Wills, MartinCasperM31J46 13 527019GBR
Veenemans, BurgPytheasM47P49 08 167115NED
Cartwright, JerryLe FirstM32JDSQUSA
Richey, MikeJesterM26JOTLGBR
Vassiliadis, AnthonyOld Navy LightsM34.5GMOTLGRE
ter Laag, PietLady DonaM34GMSickNED
Timsit, JacquesMotorolaM38GMSankFRA
Schulte, HansSilkeM38GMDamagedGER
Clifton, NicholasFleury MichonP42GMCapsizedGBR
Loizeau, EricGauloise IVM53PDamagedFRA
Parisis, Jean ClaudeCharles Heidsieck IIM48PDamagedFRA
Horeau, MichelMaurice LidchiT51PDamagedFRA
Luhrs, WarrenTuesday's ChildM54PDamagedUSA
Hunter, SimonJomadaM30JInjuredGBR
Cockerell, TheoRoundaboutM36.5GMFireGBR
Pallard, BernardBrittany Ferries IIM29.5JDamagedFRA
Phillips, PeterLivery DoleT35GMCapsizedGBR
Gogolkiewicz, CzeslawRaczynski IIM56PCollisionPOL
Smith, MacSea QuestM39GMDamagedUSA
Chioatto, AntonioMattia IIIT36GMCapsizedITA
Lawson, JudithSerta Perfect SleeperM32GMDamagedUSA