The race returns

Following the 2009 OSTAR it was proposed that the Twohanded race be revived. There was much interest from regular competitors in the RWYC’s oceanic events and from the French multihullers who would race across in the TwoSTAR and return in the Quebec-St Malo. So the fifth edition of the Twohanded Transatlantic Race was announced, with a start on 3 June 2012. The race was open to mono- and multi-hulls between 27 and 60 feet in length sailing on handicap, and an Open 40 class.

Unfortunately many potential competitors dropped out due to conflicts in schedule and sponsorship, and in the event only nine monohulls made it to the start line. However the starters all had a strong background in oceanic races. Andrea Mura, in his Open 50, had a class win in the Route du Rhum, Michel Kleinjans, in Roaring Forty II, had class wins in his three RB&Is and three OSTARs, and the other entries had raced several RB&Is and OSTARs.

Following a clean start the larger boats headed out into the Channel while the lighter displacements boats hugged the shore before heading out into the Atlantic. Ruffian (Pete McIntyre, Emma Nutt) suffered engine failure and were unable to generate electricity. They retired in Falmouth when they were unable to fix the problem quickly. Roaring Forty (Hans Plath and Thibault Reinhart) lost radar and AIS when a spinnaker pole got loose and caused damage on deck; they were concerned that their boat (with little metal on board) would not show in the fogs to be expected on the Grand Banks and so retired home. Quid Non had alternator problems and put in to Kinsale for repairs but were on their way after 24 hours. On day 5 Change of Course (Keith Gibbs and Janet Sainsbury) experienced a forestay roller reefing failure that forced them to turn back and retire.

The Race brought one surprise – the reduction of the usual headwinds. With the leaders able to seek out favourable winds thoughts turned to the record. The monohull record, 15 days and 31 minutes, had been set by Halvard Mabire and Christine Guillou in the Open 60 Cherbourg Technologies in 1994. Not all had it easy; fast moving lows brought their usual excitement, then David Perkins and Alistair Auckland (Suomi Kudu) were caught in the Azores high, decided they had no hope of finishing in time, and retired to Horta.

Andrea Mura and Riccardo Apolloni sailed Vento di Sardegna across the finish line at Newport RI at 23:47: GMT on 16th June 2012 completing the transatlantic crossing from Plymouth in a record 13 days 12 hours and 47 minutes at an average velocity made good of 8.6 knots

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