OSTAR & TwoSTAR Races Battered by Storm — Dismasting, Sinking and Mid-Atlantic Rescues

Graphic: RWYC & YachtingWorld

Sailors competing in the Royal Western Yacht Club’s Original Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) and the Twohanded Transatlantic Race (TwoSTAR) were battered by a North Atlantic storm with 60 knot winds and 45′ seas, 900 miles miles east of Newfoundland. One boat sank, two were abandoned and several competitors retired from the races. Fifteen single-handed sailors set off from Plymouth in the UK bound for New port, RI on May 29th. Twelve sailors also set off in six boats in the doublehanded race.

The yacht Furia, a Danish-built Luffe 37.09, competing in the double-handed race, sank. The crew, Bulgarian Finn champion Mihail Kopanov and co-skipper Dian Zaykov were rescued by the survey vessel Thor Magna. The rescue was coordinated by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Mervyn Wheatley, solo skipper of Tamarind, a Formosa 42, was rescued by the RMS Queen Mary 2, en route to Halifax, after the yacht suffered severe damage in the storm. Wheatley is a highly experienced sailor, a former Royal Marine who has sailed over 260,000 miles. This race was his 19th Atlantic crossing. He also sailed as skipper in the first Clipper Round the World Race and has done five Round Britain & Ireland Races, seven Azores and Back (AZAB) races and many previous OSTARs.

The yacht Happy, a 37ft Jeanneau Sun Fast, was dismasted. Dutch sailors Wytse Bouma & Jaap Barendregt were rescued by the oceangoing tug APL Forward.

Two other boats were damaged and retired from the race. Peter Crowther, sailing in his tenth OSTAR race, reported mainsail damage on his Swan 38, Suomi Kudu.  Crowther did not seek help and is returning to the UK.

British sailor Keith Walton, sailing Harmonii, a Najad 490, suffered mainsail and track damage and is heading toward the Azores under engine.

Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported. 

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