Jonathan Snodgrass

Jonathan Snodgrass 1Jonathan Snodgrass and Lexia

Jonathan is a retired Army Officer and Chartered Engineer, aged 65.  He and his wife Jane live in beautiful Derbyshire in an old cheese factory.

In early 2009 Jonathan and Jane bought a neglected junk rigged schooner, Lexia, truly a cruiser not a racer.  After a hectic restoration, some adventures on his qualifying passage, and increasingly frantic race preparations, Lexia and Jonathan  staggered across the start line of OSTAR 2009.  Neither of them was fully prepared and they were early retirees, although they were not the only ones.  Jonathan learned a lot!

Jonathan Snodgrass 2In AZAB 2011 Jonathan and Lexia, finished last with less than a day to spare.  But many did not actually finish.   They were kindly awarded the Sally May Trophy by their fellow competitors for “Corinthian Spirit”.  Jonathan learned a lot more!

Having struggled in 2009 and 2011, Jonathan tried to ignore OSTAR 2013!  However, by finishing the AZAB, both he and Lexia were qualified.   Lexia was berthed one mile from the start.  Jonathan had his US visa from 2009.  Lexia was pretty much good to go.  There was ‘unfinished business’.  Then, with the extension of the time limit from 40 to 60 days, his last excuse was removed.  In truth it would have taken a braver man to walk away!  Jonathan finally put in an entry, late as usual, thus ensuring a couple of months of rushed preparation – again.  However, he has entered in the spirit of  “Always a little further …” .  He wonders if he will ever really learn!

Lexia will fly the burgees of the Humber Yawl Club, the REME Yacht Club and the Junk Rig Association.

Jonathan and Lexia do not expect to come anywhere other than last.  Indeed, reaching the finish before it closes would represent 100% success.  But the cherry on the top would be to break an OSTAR record.  Watch out Peter Crowther! Jonathan says that your record of 88 days for the slowest ever OSTAR crossing could be under threat, particularly if he goes via the Canaries.




James Taylor

James Taylor 1.1James Taylor

Finishing the OSTAR became a lifelong ambition when in 1964 James read about the race and of Chichester, Lewis and Taberly as schoolboy heroes. James learnt to sail on the river Thames at Cookham and as a crew progressed through national and Olympic classes before moving offshore on Half Ton and Admiral Cup boats. With other responsibilities he stopped sailing in 1976 with the OSTAR quietly forgotten.


James Taylor 2Following a short haul flight in December 2006, James was wrongly diagnosed by three doctors as having pneumonia. The reality was that he was suffering a life threatening clots on both lungs. A Pulmonary Embolism. In hospital, the OSTAR ambition returned and it’s taken five years to buy and equip Anarchy, his Contessa 32, and to qualify for the 2013 event.

Lifeblood, the Thrombosis Charity, is James’s nominated charity for which donations are welcome at The aim of the charity is to improve the education of health professionals (amazingly!) and awareness of the general public to the symptoms and dangers of blood clots.

On the race start day, and after nearly forty four years of work, James takes redundancy, retires from full time employment, and races off into the sunset in the direction of Newport RI. He will Tweet as he goes in support of Lifeblood as @thejamestay and on #OSTAR2013.


Jonathan Green

Jonathan GreenJonathan Green and Jeroboam

Jonathan entered his first single handed race in 2007 and was immediately hooked. Newport Yacht Club offers the best shorthanded events on the US east coast, the most exciting of which is Bermuda 1-2, a 635 nm single handed race to Bermuda followed by an equidistant double handed race back to Newport. Jonathan’s entries in 2009 and 2011 provided vital experience and conditioning for his pursuit of OSTAR and also served as a proving ground for his boat Jeroboam and its ability to compete among more serious race boat designs such as the Class 40, Open 40, Figaro II and others.

Jonathan Green 2Jeroboam, an Oceanis 351, is a Jean Berret designed boat built by Beneteau between 1994 and 1996. The boat is sloop rigged with an aluminum Z-Spars mast. The sail design and construction was performed by North Atlantic Sails in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.    Jeroboam’s competitiveness in shorthanded racing is closely linked to the simplicity of her rigging and ease of handling by a crew of one.

Jonathan has partnered with Sail for Kids, led by Joe Cooper of Newport, and the non-profit Storm Trysail Foundation to use the experience as a teaching tool to get kids engaged in the classroom. Curriculum has been developed by Sail for Kids covering the gamut of science, the ocean/environment, resource planning and conservation, technology and many more, reaching classrooms primarily in the Northeast US. Jonathan will provide reports from sea both on the delivery to Europe and the race back that mirror the lesson plans with real world applications.

Mervyn Wheatley

Mervyn WheatleyNewton Ferrers based Mervyn Wheatley and Tamarind

Mervyn, 69, retired from the Royal Marines in 1994 and was a skipper in the first of the Clipper Round the World races in 1996 and then stood in for some legs of the 05/06 race.

He bought Tamarind , a Formosa 42, in ’97 and has now sailed over 100,000 nautical miles in her, including eight of his fourteen transatlantics. These have included OSTARs in 2000, 2005 and 2009.

Mervyn has also competed in five two-handed Round Britain and Ireland races and six Azores and Back races – including the first in 1975. Tamarind has achieved wins on handicap in both OSTAR and AZAB.

Mervyn Wheatley2Tamarind, designed by Robert Perry, is a heavy displacement cruising boat, built in Taiwan in 1985. She is cutter rigged and this will be her second OSTAR with a roller furling headsail.

The interior is solid teak and she is fitted with a bath!

Ralph Villiger

Ralph Villiger and his Ed Dubois- designed yacht Ntombifuti

Ralph started sailing in 1994and since then has cruised about 30,000 nm in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, mostly short-handedly. He has been the owner of a 40 Ed Dubois designed yacht, Ntombifuti, since 2003. In the same year he embarked on his first single-handed trip, out of necessity, because his co-skipper could not join. This trip from Portugal to England served as his qualification leg for the 2011 Azores and back race, where he definitely caught the bug of single-handed offshore sailing.

Ntombifuti is a 40 foot aluminium sloop, built in Germany by Dubbel and Jesse and finally equipped in Lymington in 1983. This will be her 3rd OSTAR, and she has competed in a TwoSTAR event and several AZAB and RB&I races. In 2003/4 she underwent a refit and was sandblasted revealing her aluminium hull. Her current looks are more of a battle ship than a race yacht! She has also been slightly modified to offer some more comfort and to allow sailing to more remote regions. Her name means “the other woman” or “another girl” in Zulu.

Christian Chalandre

christian_chalandre1Frenchman Christian Chalandre has entered his 1971-built Sparkman & Stephens 34

Christian has owned Olbia, a sistership to Morning Cloud, for 20 years, alternating cruising with racing.


Cruising has covered large areas of the Atlantic from northern Scotland to the West Indies, and races have included ‘round the buoys’ regattas and long distance events to the Azores and Iceland.

A competitor in the 2009 OSTAR, Christian is eager to repeat his exceptional experience in this year’s event

Andrea Mura

Andrea Mura - Photo1OPEN 50 joins the list of starters for the 2013 OSTAR event Italian yachtsman Andrea Mura has confirmed his entry with his Open 50  Vento di Sardegna

Andrea tells us that the OSTAR is the biggest race for him this year but extremely difficult to win in an Open 50 against the IRC ranking of other boats. He considers the race across the Atlantic to be one of the hardest, having to cope with prevailing head winds and high latitudes. Without the benefit of a professional shore team, Andrea relies on a few long-term friends to help him prepare his boat for the rigours of upwind sailing and rough seas. He enjoys the challenge of finding ways to make the boat faster.

Andrea is planning to leave his home port of Cagliari around the end of April to arrive in      Plymouth some 10 days before the start of the race.

We hope Andrea’s entry will be followed by other Open 50’s to create an exciting race within a race!

Krystian Szypka

Krystian Szypka 1Polish sailor Krystian Szypka enters the race in his Farr 37 ‘Sunrise’

A member of the Yacht Club of Poland and the Singlehanded Sailors Club, Krystian is an experienced single-handed sailor.

With three successful starts in the Polonez Cup singlehanded race (over 250 miles nonstop from Swinoujscie in Poland around the Christiansoe Islands), he has also competed in the challenging “Great Battle of Gotland” Polish/ Baltic singlehanded race (over 500 miles nonstop in stormy weather). In 2011 he completed the Sunrise Europe Challenge when he sailed around western Europe from Gibraltar in the Mediterranean to Swinoujscie in Poland.

Krystian’s race in the 2013 OSTAR is in tribute to the outstanding Polish and WNBA basketball player Malgorzata “Margo” Dydek-Twigg. Impressed by her personality, sporting achievements and social benevolence, by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean Krystian is paying tribute to this great woman who died young.

The project is called “OSTAR for Dydek”. One part of it is an educational programme promoting sailing and basketball which has involved children and teenagers from twelve cities in Poland and Hungary. Currently they are taking part in many interdisciplinary competitions, and later they will be following Kristian’s race. The website is at and on Facebook at displaying photos and updates on the project and Krystian’s race.

Krystian Szypka 2Kristian Szypka’s participation in the OSTAR regatta is under the honorary patronage of the Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism and the Polish Olympic Committee.

Kristian’s Farr 37 “Sunrise” is a high performance fiberglass sloop built by Dickerson Boatbuilders in Trappe, Maryland, for the famous designer Bruce Farr and Associates of Annapolis, Maryland, it had a distinguished racing career in the US and Europe before being acquired by Krystian in 2011. The boat has been extensively refitted specifically for the OSTAR race.