The Transat is Back

Publish date:
Social count:
Experienced Frenchman Thomas Coville is a favorite to win the rejuvenated Transat race. Photo courtesy of Sodeb’O

Experienced Frenchman Thomas Coville is a favorite to win the rejuvenated Transat race. Photo courtesy of Sodeb’O

Back in the late 1950s a small group of British sailors got together and came up with the crazy idea of racing each other across the Atlantic, singlehanded. The Observer newspaper stepped in with sponsorship, and in May 1960 five intrepid sailors started the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, or OSTAR—the genesis of singlehanded ocean racing.

Sir Francis Chichester won that inaugural race from Plymouth, England, to New York. The race was held quadrennially from then until 2008. It grew in popularity through the 1960s and 1970s, peaking in the 1972 edition when an amazing 125 skippers entered the race.

In 2004, the Observer’s involvement ended, as did the race’s Corinthian aspect. Renamed the Transat, the event was restricted to professional sailors. Forty boats entered the race, which finished in Boston instead of New York. In 2008, just nine skippers entered, and with advent of the recession that was the end of that.

Until now. The rejuvenated Transat has a new sponsor in French baked goods company Bakerly LLC. It will again finish in New York, where it will be hosted at the One 15 Brooklyn Marina. At time of writing it had attracted 24 entries, including five Multi 50s and three Ultime class trimarans—the most powerful racing sailboats on the planet.

These 105ft boats cost in excess of $8 million and can hit speeds of 50 knots. They can be sailed fully crewed, doublehanded or solo, and require skills of the highest order. Their skippers are some of the most talented sailors in the game. Young superstar Francois Gabart, on MACIF, set a new record while winning the last Vendée Globe race. Thomas Coville on Sodeb’O has broken records in both monohulls and multihulls. Yves Le Blevec (Team Actual) is an accomplished Multi 50 sailor who has stepped up into the big league.

You can follow the race on, but be quick because the big boats will only be on the water for a little over a week—a far cry from the 40 days it took the 1960 race winner to cross the Pond.

MHS Summer 2016



Charter: Historic Croatia

Heaps of history—that’s not usually what comes to mind when you plan a sailing charter, but if you like a bit of culture mixed with your cruising, Croatia is the place to go. Caught between two worlds, (the whitewashed laid back vibe of the Mediterranean and the brash demeanor of more


Gear: Pan-Pan man-overboard Locator

There He Goes!The Pan-Pan man-overboard locator won a Pittman award for 2017 as a great idea, and now it is in production as the Weems & Plath CrewWatcher. It’s a two-part system that employs a smartphone app to locate a small personal beacon that triggers automatically should more


SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.comAnd don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter.Check back for updates!This was taken from half way across the 26 mile crossing more

Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there more