The OSTAR – the premier Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, following the time-honoured course from Plymouth in England to Newport, Rhode Island – inevitably goes on for so long that even the most dedicated followers can sometimes allow a day or two to elapse before they check in on how their favourite contenders are doing.
But when the world’s news media reported on June 9th that the fleet – which had started racing westward on May 29th – had been struck by such a severe mid-Atlantic storm that the famous liner Queen Mary 2 had to divert to provide assistance to craft in trouble, the entire Irish sailing community clicked in to see how Conor Fogerty was faring in the ferocious conditions.
To say that the new was good is under-stating it. And the regular supporters of the Howth sailor with his Sunfast 3600 Bam! were well aware that he’d been sailing such an almost perfect race that not only was he well on the way to win the Prize of Prizes, the Gipsy Moth Trophy, but he had gone so well he was a good bit west of the very worst of the weather.
Bam and her lone skipper did get a pasting, but not so serious that they couldn’t keep going, where his closest opposition astern in the storm had been brought to a stop. They still had nearly 500 miles to go when Bam! triumphantly reached Newport. And when Conor Fogerty returned home to Howth Yacht Club on Monday June 26th, he got the hero’s welcome he so richly deserved.