Charles Emmett – British Beagle – Finished 23rd June 08:30 EDT

Photos by Billy Black

Less than three hours after Asia Pajkowska’s arrival, the wind had picked up and blew Charles Emmett across the line on his Sigma 36, British Beagle. Charles has suffered with power generation issues during the race and after long stints of hand steering, he crossed the finish line in high spirits and enjoyed a warm reception at the Newport Yacht Club. He completed his first OSTAR in 27 days, 1 hour and 30 minutes. Congratulations Charles!

Interview with Richard Lett – Pathways to Children

Photo by Billy Black

By Jill Southwood

Solo Transatlantic Skipper – MUMBAI TO MINNESOTA

This astonishing year in Richard’s life began in Mumbai where he met his beautiful wife Margaret whose home is on the coast of Lake Superior in Minnesota, USA.  His home port was Southampton, England and after leaving and heading west for Plymouth he encountered only the odd teething problem, with the autopilot playing up.  Nothing was left to chance. His preparation was exceptionally thorough.

At the beginning of May was the Royal Western Yacht Club’s Plymouth to Falmouth to Fowey and back to Plymouth triangle race.  Almost every boat was fully crewed up (6 or more) with the exception of Pathways to Children which Richard sailed singlehanded.  There were strong winds, heavy showers and a blink or two of sunshine, but for Richard it was a good chance to check all his equipment and his boat before embarking on his first OSTAR.

On the 19th May Richard married his lovely wife in England.  On the 21st May he was presented with his Member of the Royal Victorian Order decoration at Buckingham Palace by HM Queen Elizabeth II. On the 27th May he was on the start line for OSTAR 2013.  This was going to be some honeymoon!

Just before the start Pathways snagged a line around the propeller. Weighing up his options he decided to cut it down to about 10 feet and tow it all the way to Newport, R.I.  To turn back, lift the boat out or find a diver would have cost too much time.  Every call of nature reminded Richard it was still with him as it trailed out behind him!

His fastest speed was 15 knots in 45 knots of wind. With three reefs in the main and just the staysail he was probably up to the limit of racing the boat upwind. The Number 3 jib was the real workhorse.  He suffered very little damage – just a few nicks in the sails but nothing serious. This was very surprising considering the course distance was 2,779 miles and Pathway’s final log reading was 3,733 miles,  a further 954 miles!!

Richard’s worst moments were probably near the Grand Banks – he had battled for 8 days with 30 knot winds. He was exhausted. The relentless weather and huge seas wore him down.  The forecast gave 15 knot winds for the night which would have given him a chance to rest for an hour or so but this was not to be.  As night approached the wind whipped up to 35 knots, Force 8 gusting 9.  He was very cold, wet and miserable on this dark and stormy night.


At last, the finishing line was in sight but he was to have an agonisingly slow sail to it as the wind almost completely died away.  Creeping in inch by inch on a glassy sea he covered only 3 miles in over 6 hours, eventually crossing the line at 1.3 knots!


What did this awesome race teach him?  Never to forget good seamanship, this was paramount to his success.

He may snatch the odd day off before heading up to the Great Lakes to compete in the Chicago to Mackinac Race, the longest fresh water race in the world. Then he will continue his honeymoon with Margaret sailing the length of Lake Superior and on to his future home port of Duluth, Minnesota.

Jonathan Green – Jeroboam – Finished 19th June 14:16 EST

Photo credits

Jonathan Green was the only American in this year’s OSTAR. He was met by friends and fans as he approached Newport. Jonathan is renowned locally for being a formidable tactician and methodical sailor. He and the custom rigged Beneteau Oceanis 351 Jeroboam appeared in great shape as he crossed the line at 14:16 EST (18:16 UTC).

Congratulations Jonathan!

News Update

Jonathan Snodgrass in Lexia has turned back and announced his retirement at at 16:00 UTC on the 18th June.

Mervyn Wheatley aboard Tamarind has put into Halifax, Nova Scotia for auto pilot repairs. He intends to continue to Newport, RI once they are complete.

We are expecting Jonathan Green to arrive in Newport at 13:20 EST.

Jac Sandberg – Spirit – Finished 19th June 04:10 EST

Photos by Billy Black, Text by Jerry Freeman

Congratulations to Jac Sandberg on the completion of his first Ostar at 08:10 UTC,19th of June, Spirit was the fifth boat to finish and the smallest in the fleet at 30 feet loa.

Jac has steered a very brave course taking Spirit to the north of the great circle route and enjoying very remote areas rarely visited under sail let alone in a small boat and singlehanded.

Their time of 22 days 20 hours for a thirty footer stands very well against the 20 days 15 hours class record set by Michel Kleinjans back in 1996 when the fleet enjoyed very favourable wind directions compared to 2013.

Spirit has undergone significant modifications under the care of Jac Sandberg and Richard Versteegh since 2007 following the unplanned replacement of the mast and rig in Galway during the last Round Britain and Ireland race in 2010. A new carbon mast was acquired courtesy of Richard Lett and trucked to Galway, the lifting keel was abolished to be replaced with a fixed keel, twin rudders added and the water ballast reduced to 200kg per side . The resulting boat is much more powerful and stiff to weather. The addition of a cuddy to improve cockpit protection for the crew has made the boat almost unrecognisable from the John Corby 30 that started the RBI with Will Mumford in 1993.

Richard commented while en-route to Newport to sail the boat back to Amsterdam; ‘In the preparations we had much help from many people, like Huib Swets who built our website, Arjen Kooij our sail maker from Haarlem built all the sails for Spirit, great flying shape and even better quality (very durable!)  Efoy supplied the amazing fuel cell generator and most of all our families for letting us spend a ridiculous amount of time on our passions: working on the boat and sailing them!

Interview with Roger Langevin


Photo by Billy Black

by Jill Southwood

Roger Langevin left Le Havre, France for Plymouth, England for his second OSTAR race in Branec IV.

His crossing of the English Channel was fair with a brief stop at Cherbourg to check the ‘solent’ (genoa).  One man, one boat, no sponsors – TOUT SEUL  (all alone).  He is a calm and gentle man on the outside but with a steely determination on the inside and totally focused on achieving his goal.  His aim;  to be the first boat across the line in Newport, R.I., and the fastest trimaran in the OSTAR 2013. His preparation is always meticulous. Fail to prepare then prepare to fail.

Roger has already raced over 100,000 miles singlehanded – equivalent to approximately four times around the world.

Branec IV is almost as wide as it is long, 40ft x 50ft so no available marina berth for her in Queen Anne’s Battery but Roger was happy to be away from the melée and razamatazz on a safe mooring just off shore.

A great start over the line in difficult conditions.  Just what Roger expected. “I like the Atlantic crossing, a Force 6/7 on the nose is normal for the North Atlantic”.  Only after 24hours was he able to prepare something to eat, the sea was too rough and it was impossible to sleep. Fresh food to start with which would last about one week.  The oranges last a bit longer then it is on to tinned food – tuna, rice, sometimes spaghetti, preparing enough at a time to last for three meals.

Two ferocious storms hit Branec IV, huge waves crashed over the boat filling the cockpit and down below with sea water and spray.  As the second storm with winds of 55 knots finally abated – Roger felt a huge sense of relief in a very safe and well prepared boat.  His fastest speed recorded was 22 knots off Newfoundland, he had headed north hoping for north easterly winds of 30 – 35 knots – instead the wind veered round to southwest and almost stopped Branec IV dead in its tracks.  Becalmed off Nova Scotia felt worse than a force 7 and it wouldn’t let him go. The conditions were miserable, morale was very low.

Then along came tropical storm “Andrea”, another force 7. Just another normal north Atlantic storm for Roger.  He could only use the small trinquette  sail, the genoa was ripped, the gennaker halyard snapped, autopilot No.1 and the VHF antennae were not working.  Sleep deprivation endless.  If he was lucky, perhaps 20 minutes, setting the alarm which forced him to get up to turn off.

As Roger said “ I love the sea, the supreme challenge, the wildness of it all and I may well come back for the next OSTAR – I’m thinking about it as I carry out repairs for my journey back to Le Havre!  This was  a fairly typical OSTAR with dreadful weather and ferocious headwinds making it a constant battle!”

Ca va tres bien!  Sinon la vie est belle! (How wonderful life is!).  Roger broke his own transatlantic record by 17 minutes!


Nico Budel Arrives in Newport – 18th June 00:02 EST

Photos by Billy Black and Myrna Budel

After sailing upwind more than 2750NM, Nico’s last 10miles to the finish was at a painful crawl as he was becalmed.

Finally he crossed a moonlit finish line at 00:02 (EST).
He was in good spirits and the boat in good shape. He’s very pleased to have completed his second OSTAR and now has his sights set firmly on the next target, the Global Ocean Race.


Jonathan Snodgrass 2Having dismasted off southwest Cornwall two days after the start in Plymouth, Jonathan managed to sail Lexia into Falmouth. From there he made his way back up the channel to Dartmouth where he carried out permanent repairs. Lexia is a 32 foot two masted junk rig boat. It was the foremast which required replacement, as well as a new boom, yard, sail and battens. Damaged stanchions and guardrails have also been replaced. He has stored provisions on board for 70 days. Jonathan set sail again this morning (Monday 17th June) in order to get back to the position 72 miles west of Dartmouth where he stopped racing.. Once there he intends to assess his situation before heading out into the Atlantic.

Race Update #11: Saturday 15th June

With the rush of activity surrounding the arrival of the first two boats Vento di Sardegna and Branec IV beginning to settle down, our attention here in the race office in Newport turns back to the rest of the fleet still on approach to the finish.

Richard Lett aboard Pathways to Children is now just under 330NM from the finish line and it looks like he’ll be arriving on the 18th June. He currently holds 1st place in the Gypsy Moth Class due to the substantial time owed to him by the other boats in the class based on IRC handicap. Having sailed neck and neck with Spirit, skippered by Jac Sandberg for the majority of the race, Richard has now pulled ahead and extended his lead on the Corby 30 who is due in later on the same day according to the tracker ETAs. Nico Budel and his Class 40 sec.Hayai is not far behind them. It’s still possible that he could catch up with the smaller boats in his class and possibly even overtake them before the finish. Both Jac and Nico have suffered technical difficulties with their trackers but thanks to great support from the team at Yellowbrick, we are still able to follow their progress by manually inputting their positions to the system.

Local favourite Jonathan Green aboard his Beneteau Oceanis 351 Jeroboam has continued to impress and further extended his lead on the other Jester Class boats. Here in Newport, Jonathan has a reputation as a formidable sailor from past performances in the Bermuda 1-2 event. He and Nico Budel are both around the 450NM to go mark and it would be a great achievement for Jonathan to match the Class 40′s elapsed time.

Asia Pajkowska, the only female skipper of the fleet now holds the Multihull Class lead position and is making good progress towards the Nova Scotian coast in very light conditions.

Charles Emmett aboard his Sigma 36 British Beagle is currently skirting the edge of the Canadian continental shelf and holds the 2nd place in the Jester Class and 8th place overall.
Mervyn Wheatley and Krystian Szypka have both chosen a similar northerly course which takes them very close to Newfoundland and have demonstrated a very consistent speed throughout the race.

Eight time OSTAR veteran Peter Crowther is just to the east of the continental shelf and continues along the rhumb line course that he has stuck to from the beginning of the race. When he arrives in Newport it will be the end of his ninth OSTAR campaign.

Ralph Villiger aboard Ntombifuti has now caught up with Geoff Alcorn’s Saltram 36 Wind of Lorne II and will no doubt have his sights firmly set on overtaking another boat before the end of his challenging OSTAR journey.