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Plymouth’s Royal Western Yacht Club has confirmed that it will run its OSTAR and TWOSTAR transatlantic races in 2020 from Britain’s Ocean City as it has done every four years since the first race in 1960.

“These races from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island will continue to be sailed as originally envisaged by Cockleshell hero Blondie Hasler, a test of skipper and boat against the North Atlantic Ocean,” said the club, which will next year celebrate 60 years since it introduced short-handed oceanic racing.

The OSTAR and TWOSTAR events will also be supported by Plymouth City Council as part of next year’s Mayflower 400 celebrations.

“Unfortunately the French organisers of The Transat 2020 have now decided to start their race in Brest rather than Plymouth,” the Plymouth club added. “This deprives the skippers and public of the opportunity to meet and share in the 60th anniversary of the OSTAR.”

The RWYC explained that The Transat was first sailed in 2004 when it decided it could no longer afford the cost or responsibility of running a ‘Grand Prix’ type event for the larger, one-design, highly sponsored and professionally skippered boats.

“The RWYC selected a commercial events organisation to run this part of the race while they continued to run the OSTAR, for professional and experienced skippers alike sailing any class of boat, as the corinthian event envisaged by the original participants 60 years ago.”

Published in Solo Sailing

The next edition of The Transat will now start in the French port city of Brest instead of Plymouth, race organisers have announced.

Plymouth on the Devon coast was originally confirmed over a year ago as the start venue for the 2020 edition of the four-yearly event, the first and oldest single-handed transatlantic race in history.

No explanation has been given for the switch away from Britain’s Ocean City, other than race owners and organisers OC Sport Pen Duick saying that the change comes as it looks “for innovative ways to secure the future of The Transat”.

“We are really pleased to be partnering with Brest for The Transat, and together we share a strong desire to continue developing the race in 2020 and beyond,” OC Sport CEO Hervé Favre said.

“We have seen from races such as the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe [also owned by OC Sport Pen Duick] just how engaged the French public are with offshore sailing where we had over two million visitors to the race village.

“Staging the start from Brest is a real opportunity for our sponsors and the teams to capitalise on this captive audience and we expect it to open up many new commercial opportunities which are essential to guarantee the longevity of the race. I’d like to thank Plymouth for their support of the race up until this point.”

The Transat will celebrate its 60th anniversary when the world’s top solo sailors gather to race 3,500 nautical miles across the North Atlantic this time next year.

While the race was born in the UK, its organisers say it has always attracted the French elite of offshore sailing, who in recent years have dominated the race.

Last year Plymouth was also the focus of rumours that it might lose out as the traditional start of the Rolex Fastnet Race to a French port, though that speculation was swiftly shot down by the RORC which said it was working to make the Plymouth start even “bigger and better”.

Published in Offshore

Plymouth's historic Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club is set to go up for sale. Built in 1688 as part of the Royal Citadel, the imposing property that has its own access to the water, has been used as a clubhouse since 1896 and it is the first time in living memory it has ever gone on the market reports Devon Live.

It is looking for bids above the guide price of £750,000.

Michael Easton, Director at JLL in Exeter, which is handling the sale, said: "The sale will attract considerable interest due to its truly outstanding position on the waterside. This is to secure the long-term future of the club and members will be looking for alternative premises, or to continue in some capacity in the existing building if the marketing programme allows for this."

The Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club has a long history of organising Dinghy and Yacht racing in and around Plymouth.

The yacht club is thought to be one of the last remaining privately owned freehold sites on the water's edge in Plymouth Sound. It has direct access to the water from its own dinghy park and has outstanding 180-degree views across the sea from Mount Batten to Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall.

More from www.devonlive.com here

Published in Waterfront Property
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Plymouth City Council and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have confirmed that Plymouth will host the finish of the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race.

Plymouth has marked the end of the renowned biennial offshore yacht race since its inception in 1925, and was the subject of speculation earlier this year that it could lose out on its traditional race-hosting duties to a coastal port in France.

As regular readers will recall, Afloat.ie was one of the earliest sources of the possible Fastnet Race change of format here

Starting in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, competitors in the Fastnet Race cover a course of 608 nautical miles and round the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland before returning via the Isles of Scilly to finish in Plymouth.

The race has a huge worldwide following and has seen continued growth over recent years, with the limit of 300 boats having to be increased to over 340 due to high demand.

Deputy leader of the council, Pete Smith said: “I’m delighted that the Rolex Fastnet is returning to its historic home once again in 2019.

“We are working closely with the organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, to enhance the experience of the thousands of sailors who arrive in Plymouth after competing in the race.”

Yachts come from all over the world to compete in the race which will start in Cowes on Saturday 3 August. The first yachts are expected to arrive in Plymouth in the early hours of Monday 5 August.

The Plymouth race village will be located at Yacht Haven at Mount Batten and will be open to the public from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 August, with live music, family-friendly activities and opportunities for local people to try their hand at on-water activities like sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Cllr Smith continued: “The race is hugely significant for the city, helping to put Plymouth on the map and attracting visitors to see the finish of one of the world's most famous yacht races.

“We want to make sailing more accessible for people living here and encourage more participation in the sport. Hosting internationally renowned events like this is important to help motivate and inspire participation.”

RORC racing manager Chris Stone said: “Plymouth’s waterfront position is one of the most dramatic and beautiful in the UK and the city has amazing facilities for yachts and sailors. We are pleased to be working closely with Plymouth City Council to make the race bigger and better and provide a warm welcome for the 350-plus boats descending on the city.

“It is also a great opportunity for local people to come and experience our sport and understand how much fun it is and easily available to all.”

The Rolex Fastnet will be followed by the Britain’s Ocean City Blues n Jazz Festival from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 August, rounding off a week of celebration.

Published in Fastnet
Tagged under

#FastnetRace - Organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race have moved to shoot down rumours that the offshore classic was planning a move from its “ancestral home” in Plymouth to France, as the Plymouth Herald reports.

Earlier this month the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced a shakeup for next year’s Fastnet with the news that it would start two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, in order to avoid poor weather implications and clashes with the UK bank holiday.

But race organisers have said these changes won’t involve a move away from its traditional Plymouth finish in 2019, despite the idea being mooted some years ago.

Spokesperson Trish Jenkins said RORC executives “are working with [Plymouth’s] city council on the 2019 race to make it bigger and better”.

The Plymouth Herald has more on the story HERE.

This article was updated on Friday 28 September to clarify statements from the RORC in the Plymouth Herald's report

Published in Fastnet
Tagged under

#Offshore - BBC News reports that a sailor who went missing last week during a solo voyage from Plymouth to Portugal has been located and airlifted to hospital after falling overboard.

The 66-year-old man set off last Monday 10 June but apparently suffered chest injuries during the first night.

Falmouth Coastguard has difficulty contacting the man to determine his position but he was eventually found some 225km off the Isles of Scilly. He was later transported by helicopter to Cork for treatment.

Published in Offshore

#training – SeaRegs Training has opened a Maritime Training Centre based in Plymouth, Devon.

SeaRegs Training specialises in courses for people who want to work in the marine industry, offering internationally recognised MCA and STCW95 courses including STCW First Aid, STCW Personal Survival Techniques, STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, plus preparation courses for MCA Master 200/Officer of the Watch 500 and Boatmaster licences.

"We have a background in providing sound advice and solid training to people looking at coming into the industry or increasing their knowledge and certification. We hope to extend our range of courses over the coming year to ensure we fully reflect what skills the marine industry and the mariner require'. Simon Jinks, Managing Director of SeaRegs said.

"SeaRegs also offer online training for navigation and safety modules allowing seafarers to learn at their own pace or onboard ship. This is becoming an increasing popular way to learn with the increasing demands on people's time. Whilst the learning is online, help is only a phone call or email away" Jinks added.

SeaRegs also offer a host of professional RYA/MCA powerboat, motorboat and sailing training for people who work afloat so that they gain commercial endorsements and instructor courses for those who would like to teach in the industry.

SeaRegs M.D., Simon Jinks has over 25 years experience in the field of marine training, having previously run the RYA's Yachtmaster Training Scheme and also recently authored the RYA Commercial Regulations - Small Vessels book and ISAF Guide To Offshore Personal Safety For Racing And Cruising.

Courses run throughout the year in Plymouth and often in other areas and countries. For more information visit: www.searegs.co.uk or call 01392 580771

Published in Marine Trade
Tagged under

#OLYMPICS 2012 - The RNLI will play a "key role" during the Olympic torch relay ahead of the London games this summer, as Yachting and Boating World reports.

On 28 May the Olympic torch is set to visit Anglesey in north Wales, when it is taken along the Menai Strait on board the RNLI's Annette Mary Liddington.

The torch will again be carried by RNLI volunteers on 18 July when it is ferried to shore from a tall ship in Dover harbour aboard the all-weather lifeboat City of London II.

Dover RNLI's operations manager Roy Couzens said: “We are very much looking forward to being involved on the day – and believe me, when that torch is at sea in our lifeboat, it couldn’t be in safer hands!”

The Olympic torch relay begins in Plymouth on 19 May and finishes at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July. Its two-month-long journey will take it throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, and includes a visit to Dublin on Wednesday 6 June.

An interactive map of the complete torch relay route is available on the official London 2012 website HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012

Top sailing teams are training towards the 2013 America's Cup in Plymouth on the English South Coast this weekend. The new format, with an initial series in 45ft catamarans building up towards a final in 72ft cats, was supposed to attract wide public attention. But, as WM Nixon noted in yesterday's Irish Independent, during their first outing in European waters in Portugal last month, it emerged that even in New Zealand, the hotbed of AC talent, the high point of sailing interest during August was in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The series needs time to gain public attention of course and all the AC squads are now in Plymouth, where their next contest is getting under way. Southwest England has been experiencing the same fierce weather as Ireland, only more so.  Rick Tomlinson has sent photographs (BELOW) from the first day of the America's Cup World Series.

Published in Racing
The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.
An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.
The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.
The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.
Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.
www.fastnet.rorc.org
Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.

An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.

The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.

The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.

Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.

Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fastnet

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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