OSTAR 2013 Leaves From Plymouth
The famous Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) set off from Plymouth Sound, heading for Rhode Island with strong winds and a heavy swell in Plymouth Sound made for an exciting start to a 2,700 mile yacht race.
Seventeen competitors are competing in hope of finishing in first place when they hit the shores of USA.
It marks the start of a series of prestigious sailing events being hosted by Plymouth this year including the Route des Princes, the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race in the city in August and the Class 40 race also taking place that month.
The race, the 14th OSTAR since the event was first held in 1960, finally got away with 16 starters.
The fastest boats could be passing the finish line in a little over two weeks, weather permitting.
There was plenty of drama at the start as Polish born competitor Asia Pajkowska, in her catamaran Cabrio 2, suffered a loss of steering hydraulic fluid and had to be towed into port for repairs.
Then a boat skippered by Peter Crowther, in Suomi Kudu collided with another competing yacht as the boats fought for a position at the start line inside Plymouth breakwater.
Seasoned yachtsmen, watching the drama unfold from the deck of HMS Somerset disagreed about who was to blame for the minor collision.
OSTAR race director David Southwood, said the weather had been challenging for the start and would get worse before it got better.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two have a difficult night and it might make them wonder if they are ready for a crossing of the Atlantic,” he said.
One of the smallest yachts in the race, Lexia, was taking shelter in the Yealm estuary and will set off again today. A second, Anarchy, has retired.
“For most of these boats, the winds are perfectly manageable going through the rest of the week.”
He said he had warned all the competitors that with 3,000 miles to go there was no need to be jockeying for position at the start.
“The excitement mounts and they get carried away – that’s why there was a collision but I don’t believe it will have been too serious,” he said.
“They will get out past the Eddystone lighthouse and then head off towards The Lizard. It will be lively, but once they get a few days in the weather will be calming down again.”