OC Events have officially announced today that there will be a 2008 edition of The Transat, formerly the OSTAR, the first ever single-handed ocean race that began in 1960.
This will be the 13th edition of the race and although the sport of sailing has come a long way since 1960, the oceanic challenge remains the same. The race has always generated great deal of media and public interest but it is the sailors themselves who have become the legends. In 1960 only five boats started the race and Sir Francis Chichester won in just over 40 days. Four years later, it was Frenchman Eric Tabarly who stole the line honours, instantly becoming a national hero and awarded the Légion d’Honneur by General de Gaulle.
The Transat 2008 will run from a UK port to a North American port, in May 2008. A number of city bids are under consideration, and in particular in the UK the shortlist has been narrowed down to two - including Plymouth, the city from which the race has started ever since Sir Winston Churchill agreed to host the race as Commodore of the Royal Western Yacht Club. ’We have been very pleased with the response to our tender document. The quality of city bids returned has been excellent and as a result we have had to extend the decision date for the host start city but a decision will be made before the 1st May to allow us complete the evaluation work,’ commented John McKenna, Commercial Director from OC Events.
The Transat is known for its demands on both the skipper and their boats as they race against the prevailing winds across the North Atlantic which, even in early summer, can propel huge storms and gale force winds into the paths of the competing boats. Then as the fleet close on the Newfoundland coast, the threat of icebergs becomes a reality making the final section of this 2,800-mile race a stressful one for the skippers who are already in a state of mental and physical exhaustion.
As it has always done, The Transat 2008 will see the very best of the worlds ocean racing skippers competing. The Notice of Race will be published in May, defining the other invited classes, exact course, dates and conditions. The Transat was ’saved’ by OC Events in 2004, but in 2008 is set to be restored to its former glory as ’the’ original transatlantic race, the toughest of them all - the North Atlantic Alone.