Memories from the 2009 OSTAR – inspiring sailors since 1960

The OSTAR has inspired many sailors since its first edition in 1960. The winner of the first event, Francis Chichester, went on to complete the first circumnavigation with a stop-over in Australia opening up the race for the first non-stop circumnavigation, the Golden Globe. The OSTAR has inspired generation of sailors, below you will find a documentary of the 2009 edition with many familiar faces including Vendée  Globe 2020 competitor Pip Hare and Event Director Marco Nannini.

They say the greatest result of any OSTAR is getting to the start line. In 2009 there were 67 entries but only 31 starters due to the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. It was may 2009, during the worst financial crisis the world had seen since the great depression. Finding sponsors was impossible.

OSTAR 2009 - Premiazione
OSTAR 2009 – Prize Giving

The younger skippers could not take the time off work to prepare and participate. One of the skippers quit his job to do the race with an uncertain future ahead of him on his return.

Every skipper had to complete a 500 miles qualifier. Not every skipper managed on their attempt. Among the competitors one Multi 50 favourite for line honours. It was instead the Dutch Jannkees Lampe on his Open 40 La promesse to cross the finish line first establishing a new 40′ record in the process.

OSTAR - Jankees Lampe - La Promesse
OSTAR – Jankees Lampe – La Promesse

The 2009 OSTAR

At 11:30 UTC on May 25th His Royal Highness Prince Phillip of Edinburgh gave the order for the starting gun to be fired. To fire the cannon were two Vendée Globe veterans: Dee Caffari and Mike Golding. After 24 hours of navigation the race was following its script with the Multi 50 leading the race.

OSTAR 2009 - Partenza

OSTAR 2009 – Start

It was then that the fleet was hit by the first of several North Atlantic Depressions. The stormy sea when the fleet had not yet made much progress away from the continental shelf cause the first few retirements. Both trimarans retired. Pip Hildesley (Hare) had to pull into port in Ireland for damage to her standing rigging.

Jacques Bouchacourt with his Open 50 sailed into first place but suddenly retired for unknown reasons. Pio returned in the race with a tremendous performance gaining position after position. It is no wonder that she is now competing in the 2020 Vendée Globe.

Great surfing and icebergs

After the first storm the fleet enjoyed extraordinary sailing condition with strong easterly winds. An unusually southerly depression gave surfing conditions to the fleet and it was already in the air that records could be set. However the limit of all known ice was very south that year and everything was complicated.

OSTAR - Partenza - Marco Nannini - British Beagle
OSTAR 2009 – The Start – Marco Nannini – British Beagle

A new deep depression forced the competitors to keep north of its centre to avoid strong headwinds. They were scary times as the fleet decided to sail through known icebergs.

OSTAR 2009 - Roberto Westermann e Marco Nannini
OSTAR 2009 – Roberto Westermann and Marco Nannini

OUT THERE – A film about the OSTAR 2009

You can live the emotions of this epic race in this documentary about the 2009 edition. Marco Nannini went on to compete in the 2011/2012 Global Ocean Race, several skippers have returned to the start of the OSTAR and Pip Hare is competing in the Vendée Globe 2020/21. As for each edition of this great race it is the inspiration for ventures to come. We are sure that many past competitors of the OSTAR are considering entering the Global Solo Challenge.