ROYAL WESTERN YACHT CLUB RECEPTION AT THE NEWPORT YACHT CLUB ON 25TH JUNE 2013
SPEECH BY DAVID SOUTHWOOD - RACE DIRECTOR OSTAR 2013
Mayor Henry Winthrop, Commodore Lauren Anton, Ladies and Gentlemen.
As Chairman of the Race Committee, and Race Director of OSTAR 2013, I would like to welcome you to our Reception and reintroduce the Royal Western Yacht Club team here to day. They are Commodore John Lewis and his wife Biddy, my Assistant Alex Burgis, Commodore of the Plymouth University Yacht Club, and my wife Jill. Also in our team are Norm Bailey, who is a member of both the Newport Yacht Club and the Royal Western Yacht Club, and Dianne Stewart.
No-one can run a major international event like the OSTAR without a lot of help. I am indebted, not only to the team here, but also to the other members of my Race Committee back in Plymouth who have devoted their time and expertise during many months to this classic race.
Alex has done a fantastic job on the website and on media relations while assisting me in a 1,000 ways.
As always, my wife Jill has backed me to the hilt in running OSTAR 2013.
Norm Bailey has been of tremendous assistance dealing with arrivals, customs and berthing. He has been our linchpin here in Newport and we are extremely grateful for his tremendous contribution to the success of OSTAR 2013.
Diane Stewart, apart from assisting Norm and us, has produced superb goodie bags for all the competitors.
I would like to show our appreciation to Tom Bandoni who has taken us out to meet every arrival, no matter what time of day or night, in his 36’ RIB. On board has been Billy Black, the professional yacht photographer, who has taken superb images and video.
I would also like to thank the wonderful people of Newport who have been so kind and generous to us. Dr Robin Wallace, Chairman of the Rhode Island State Yachting Committee, has lent us equipment and has rendered valuable advice. The Newport Harbourmaster Tim Mills and his staff and the US Customs and Border Protection personnel have been superb.
Evan Smith and Kathryn Farrington and their colleagues at Discover Newport have gone overboard to arrange our accommodation and attend to all our administrative needs.
Claire Ernsberger, a member of the Newport Yacht Club, has also so kindly provided accommodation in her home.
I would like to thank Pantaenius Yacht Insurance for their magnificent support.
Commodore Lauren Anton, the Members and Staff of the Newport Yacht Club under Rudi Borgueta have been generous to a fault in making us welcome in their club. I wish the Royal Western Yacht Club served gins and tonic of the same size as Fran and his bar team. George Houlihan and his dock staff have been extremely patient and helpful.
Now to the Race. And what a race it was!
They say the major achievement of any OSTAR competitor is to get to the start. There were 26 potential competitors for OSTAR 2013 but in the end just 18 boats crossed the start line. This was during the worst financial recession for a generation when sponsors and money have been almost impossible to raise. Vento Di Sardegna was the only sponsored boat. Younger competitors found it difficult to take such a long break from their jobs. Skippers had to complete a 500 nm qualifier. The starters ranged from an Open 50 mono and a Class 50 trimaran down to a junk rigged monohull which were expected to be first and last to Newport.
At 1100 UT on 27th May the Lord Mayor of Plymouth ordered HMS Somerset to fire the start gun and the OSTAR fleet was off. Asia Pajkowska in Cabrio 2 suffered a steering failure and was towed back into Plymouth for repairs. James Taylor aboard Anarchy retired on the first day unable to be fully prepared in time. The remaining fleet set off down the Channel into a fresh headwind. One or two boats went inside the Eddystone Lighthouse but retraced their steps to round it. Off the Lizard Jonathan Snodgrass in Lexia suffered a broken foremast and was forced to put into Falmouth. The weather deteriorated, resulting in Keith Walton in Harmonii incurring a torn mainsail. Both Keith and Jonathan both restarted only to retire later. Christian Chalandre in Olbia experienced a generator problem and retired to Brittany. Ralph Villiger’s Ntombifuti had a leak and a bilge pump failure, so he put into Brest for repairs. He restarted at the back of the fleet.
The Atlantic was not kind to the competitors in this race. The fleet faced depression after depression with mostly strong headwinds and several ferocious gales. One of these was the aptly named Tropical Storm “Andrea”. The routines of eating and sleeping were impossible to carry out. Most boats suffered damage. The Grand Banks south of Newfoundland and the coast off Nova Scotia were freezing cold and foggy. Every skipper has a story to tell of severe deprivation. In these conditions deficiencies on the boat exacerbate the extreme challenge posed by the North Atlantic.
Charles Emmett in British Beagle had problems charging his batteries to power his autohelm. He was forced to enter Halifax to take on more fuel. Mervyn Wheatley in Tamarind also had big problems with his auto pilot. This necessitated hand steering for day after day. Being understandably very tired, he tripped on a line in the cockpit and broke his nose. He also put into Halifax to effect repairs. Both rejoined the race.
It is of great credit to Jac Sandberg, in the smallest boat Spirit, that he arrived safely in Newport looking as if he, and his smart Corby 30, were on a Sunday morning sail.
Some great results were achieved;
Andrea Mura became the first competitor to win both the TWO STAR and the OSTAR. He did this in successive years.
Roger Langevin completed his second OSTAR beating his previous time by one hour.
Nico Budel also completed his second OSTAR and beat his previous time by one day.
Jac Sandberg’s lapsed time was only one day and sixteen minutes outside the record for his size of boat.
Asia Pajkowska, is the first Polish woman to complete two OSTARs.
As we celebrate today I would ask you to think about the skippers still at sea on their way to Newport. They are:
Geoff Alcorn, Peter Crowther, Krystian Szypka, Mervyn Wheatley and Ralph Villiger.
We wish them a safe completion to their voyages.
I ask the OSTAR 2013 skippers who are here to come forward when announced and receive a Newport medallion from the Commodore Anton.
- Nico Budel
- Charles Emmett
- Jonathan Green
- Roger Langevin
- Richard Lett
- Andrea Mura
- Asia Pajkowska
- Jac Sandberg
Ladies and Gentlemen please join me in congratulating the winners of their classes. They will receive their prizes at the Prize giving Dinner in Plymouth on 26th October.
- Multihull Class – Roger Langevin – Branec VI
- Gypsy Moth Class – Richard Lett – Pathways to Children
- Jester Class – Jonathan Green – Jeroboam
- IRC Overall – Jonathan Green
The City of Newport has kindly presented a trophy for the Line Honours Winner of OSTAR 2013.
It will now be presented by Mayor Winthrop
This goes to Andrea Mura from Sardinia, Italy in Vento Di Sardegna.
Mayor Winthrop, ladies and gentlemen thank you very much.
Photos by Billy Black