04 Oct Mervyn Wheatley enters 2020 OSTAR
Mervyn Wheatley has confirmed his entry for the 60th anniversary edition of the Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) departing Plymouth for Newport, Rhode Island, on the 10th May, 2020. This race celebrates the anniversary of the first OSTAR sailed in 1960, a race conceived by Cockleshell hero Blondie Hasler and run by the Royal Western Yacht Club of England (RWYC), which was won by Francis Chichester (who was later knighted for his exploits.
Mervyn is a veteran of five previous OSTARs but had to complete his last race on board Queen Mary 2 when he lost his beloved Tamarind in the OSTAR’s “perfect storm” of 2017. On his return Mervyn immediately sought a replacement boat and is now the owner of “Arethusa of Yealm”, a cutter rigged Bowman 40 he describes as heavy, slow and comfortable. He then had to qualify, for the first time in years (previous competitors sailing the same boat qualify automatically), which he did sailing single-handed to the Azores and back this year.
After serving for 33 years as a Royal Marines officer, Mervyn skippered one of 8 boats in the first Clipper Round the World Race in 1996 and also skippered several legs of the 05/06 Race. He has sailed over 260,000 nm in a variety of boats, including 5 RB&Is, 7 solo AZABs and two West Indies circuits. This will be his twentieth Atlantic crossing. Mervyn (74) is married, has two adult children and lives in Newton Ferrers, just East of Plymouth.
A member of the Royal Western Yacht Club for many years, Mervyn is looking forward to celebrating the 60 years during which Blondie Hasler and the RWYC first introduced, and then developed, the sport of short handed trans-oceanic yacht racing. The OSTAR and its two-handed sibling, the TWOSTAR, which runs alongside the OSTAR in 2020, are open to all – professional and amateur skippers alike, sailing any type of boat from a family cruiser to an ocean racer. The OSTAR is the only trans-oceanic race run by a yacht club continuously since its inception.