RB&I Yacht Race Background
Following the success of the first two OSTARs, Blondie Hasler proposed to the Royal Western Yacht Club that there should be a two-handed race around the British Isles. No doubt he considered a single-handed race, but the weather conditions and proximity to land necessitated two crew.
The Club considered the proposal and agreed to organise the first Round Britain and Ireland race in 1966. The course, of about 2000 miles, would be split into five legs separated by compulsory stop-overs of 48 hours each at Crosshaven in Ireland, Castle Bay, Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Lerwick in Shetland, and Harwich on the East Coast. It would circumnavigate Britain and Ireland and, with the exception of the Channel Islands and Rockall, all islands and rocks would be left to starboard.
The first race was a great success and the RB&I was established on a four year cycle (two years off the OSTAR cycle). Lowestoft replaced Harwich as the east coast port from the second race on. Except for 1993 in which Hartlepool was the east coast port, the course remained the same until Kinsale replaced Crosshaven in 2006.
The RB&I grew rapidly to a multinational entry of many boat sizes and types. In 1982 the 85 starters included an 80ft monohull, a 70ft catamaran, several 60 and 65ft trimarans, down to a 25ft monohull, and represented over a dozen nationalities.
The following race was sailed in 1985, since 1986 was given over to the second TWOSTAR so it could run two years apart from the OSTAR. The four year cycle continued with races in 1989 and 1993, but reverted to its original schedule in 1998 and has continued to the present.
For the history of the race go to RB&I Yacht Race History