By: Royal Western Yacht Club
As we draw the offshore season to a close for 2023, we now turn our focus to 2024 and a very busy year once again in the RWYC offshore/ oceanic calendar.
Sunday 5 May 2024 sees the 17th edition of the famous OSTAR race along with the 7th edition of the TWOSTAR race.
The making of legend’s, the pathway to professional sailing careers, or simply the challenge of a lifetime, the OSTAR has the history to support such a status. From Francis Chichester to Loick Peyron, Eric Tabarly to Andre Mura, and more recently Jankees Lamp (who went on to win the TWOSTAR last year with his son Floris) and Marcus Moser, each have their story to tell on how they won this epic challenge of almost 3000 miles across some of the hardest waters to navigate in the world. It is truly the mother of all oceanic races, the first, the Everest of our sport.
As with the OSTAR, the TWOSTAR faces the same colossus. Unlike the OSTAR where it is one against the elements, some would say an equal challenge is having to work on a solid watch system to ensure both crews are able to dovetail with their opposite number for the entire journey and not effect their co-skipper’s ability to function at 100% during their watch. The TWOSTAR then is no less of a challenge and deserves to be alongside the original solo oceanic race.
Then, we have the 2 handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. This year sees the 16th Edition of the original RB&I. Again, the winners board reflects the ‘who’s who’ of our short-handed offshore history. Robin Knox Johnston, Chay Blyth, Rob and Naomi James, Tony Bullimore, Steve Fossett, Ross Hobson and Michael Kleinjans are some of the greats that have their names on the famous winner’s board. In 2022 we saw Darren Baker and Dan Fellows join them in what was a record-breaking win on their Dazcat ‘Hissy Fit’.
As with the TWOSTAR joining the OSTAR, in 2022 the club introduced a supporting act to the RB&I which will feature heavily in 2024 and beyond, this being the 4 Handed RB&I. Along with the Fastnet Race in 1925, the RWYC is proud of its history being the originator of such races. In recent times, short-handed sailing is becoming a huge part of our sport. The 4H RB&I is the latest in a long and impressive line of ‘firsts’ and will offer a challenge to those who are setting out in short-handed offshore racing. This class also allows for more crew changes. Where the 2H RB&I allows for a single change at just one of the 3 stop overs, the 4H RB&I will allow for 2 crew to change at Galway and at Blyth. So, an 8-crew team can be part of this fabulous race without the need for 4 weeks off work!
In a change for 2024, the Fully crewed RB&I will also feature for the first time. With the flexibility of ½ crew changes at Galway and Blyth and a course distance equal to that of 3 Fastnet Races, this will become a great way to be introduced to long distance offshore racing – perfect for privately run boats and charter boats alike!
Finally, the Plymouth Fastnet ‘500 makes a welcome return on 11 August 2024. Set to run in alternate years to the RORC event, this sees the added benefit of starting and finishing from the same UK port, the home of the Fastnet race for so many years. Starting from Plymouth and heading out to the Eddystone Lighthouse ensures that the teams are away from land, which does away with tidal gates such as is seen at Hurst Castle, Portland Bill and Start Point. This has its huge advantages for solo and 2 handed entries who can settle into the race straight from the off. Experience the iconic rounding of the Fastnet Rock Light House and also finishing in Plymouth Sound to the spectacle of the National Fireworks Display and enjoy the famous Barbican hospitality. What’s there not to like?!?
For more information and to enter please go to;