In early January there were doubts about whether OSTAR 2013 could go ahead. There was no sponsor and only five possible entries. The Race Director had resigned. The core of the OSTAR 2009 Committee stepped in and convinced the Royal Western Yacht Club Board to proceed. Luckily, there was considerable financial and other vital support from the Mayor and City of Newport without which we have struggled.
In the end we received 25 potential entries of which 21 became confirmed. Charlie Storr came through very bad weather on his qualifier off Sicily and withdrew. Maarten Ruuschen was half way from Holland to Plymouth days before the start when he was recalled to his office. Kass Schmitt and her boyfriend Rupert worked extremely hard to prepare Zest but conceded defeat when Rupert injured himself. Kass gallantly sailed down from Southampton to Plymouth to join us for the start.
So, on 27th May there were 18 boats on the start line. Olbia and Vento di Sardegna, sailed by Christian Chalandre and Andrea Mura, came flying around the start frigate HMS Somerset’s stern on starboard tack to find Peter Crowther’s Suomi Kudu static on the start line. Olbia went upwind but there was a minor collision between Vento and Suomi. Fortunately, both yachts still managed to reach Newport without repair. It appeared that Asia’s Pajkowska’s catamaran Cabrio 2 had gone aground in Jennycliffe Bay. In fact her steering system had failed due to loss of hydraulic fluid. She was towed back to Plymouth and restarted later.
When the Race Officer shouted “Gun” there was total silence for 20 seconds. HMS Somerset’s ashen faced Gunnery Officer reported that his salute gun crew had suffered two misfires. Nonetheless, no yacht had crossed the line early.
James Taylor had struggled to get Anarchy ready for the race and made a very mature decision to retire. Subsequently, he completed a Jester race to Ireland.
Three boats went inside the Eddystone Lighthouse, which was a mark of the course, but all returned to round it eventually. AIS tracks proved they had.
Keith Walton in Harmonii suffered a torn mainsail and returned to Plymouth. He set off again only to tear the replacement sail and retire. Jonathan Snodgrass’s junk rig Lexia broke a mast off the Lizard. It is of much credit to him that he got into Falmouth without assistance. He did restart weeks later only to retire due to sea sickness.
Christian Chalandre had a great race in 2009 but sadly was forced to retire back home to France with a wind generator problem. Ralph Villiger in Ntombifuti put into Brest to fix a defective bilge pump. He restarted a few days later and completed the course.
In 2009 the fleet enjoyed a week of easterlies. Not so in 2013. Boats remaining in the race had to fight all the way across the Atlantic against contrary winds, several times up to gale force.
By tradition the OSTAR winner is the first boat to Newport. Therefore, the primary interest was to see if Roger Langevin’s 50’ multi Branec VI could get there before Andrea Mura’s 50’ mono Vento di Sardegna while the three classes raced against each other on handicap. Roger took a more northerly route while Andrea went further south as he was suffering from the boat’s motion as she pounded through rough sea. In the end the mono got to the finish line in 17 days, one day ahead of the multi. Andrea thereby added the OSTAR to his TwoSTAR win in 2012. Roger beat his previous OSTAR by one hour. Nico Budel, at the grand age of 74, came in third finishing three days later in sec.Hayai beating his previous OSTAR time by one day.
Within two of the classes there was keen competition. Luckily for Geoff Alcorn, the other boats in Eira retired one by one leaving him to battle with the Atlantic for 58 days as he struggled to finish by the deadline. Asia on her third Atlantic crossing this year in her catamaran Cabrio got across in 26 days. She became the first Polish woman to complete two OSTARs.
In the Gipsy Moth Class Spirit, the smallest boat in the race sailed by the tallest skipper, Jac Sandberg, had a close race with Richard Lett in Pathways to Children coming in only 14 hours behind. Spirit’s time was only one day outside the record for a 30’ boat.
Jester Class comprised the cruising boats. Peter Crowther completed his 9th OSTAR in a graceful 30 days. Charles Emmett in British Beagle and Mervyn Wheatley in Tamarind both had equipment failures which required putting into Halifax thereby incurring 24 hour penalties. Krystian Szypka managed to finish in 28 days. However, Jester Class was led all the way by Jonathan Green in Jeroboam. Jonathan had a tough Atlantic crossing from Newport to start the race but had a faultless passage back again in 23 days. He became the OSTAR 2013 IRC Overall Winner. Richard Lett came 2nd in this class.