by The Transat
The next installment of The Transat, the original solo race across the North Atlantic that was born as the OSTAR, will start in its historical time slot in May 2016 from the UK to North America. Start and Finish Host Cities will be invited in January to put their case forward for hosting this event that is both steeped in history, and that helped create a sector of sailing that is now one of the major forces in the professional sport. Traditionally, The Transat has started from the iconic sea-faring port of Plymouth in the UK and finished in the USA. In New York in the first edition in 1960, then Newport, Rhode Island in the intervening years, before Boston became the arrival port in the last two editions in 2004 and 2008.
The start of The Transat 2008 from Plymouth, UK to Boston, USA.
OC Sport renamed the race ‘The Transat’ in 2004, and added Artemis as Title Partner in 2008, focusing in that year on the IMOCA 60 Class, the boats that compete in the Vendée Globe in the same year. The 2012 edition was deferred at the request of the Class. 'OC Sport has remained active in putting in place the foundations for the next edition in May 2016,' said Rémi Duchemin, CEO of OC Sport. 'Two of those key foundations are the start and finish Host Cities and we are fully focused in our discussions with existing and potential host venues. OC Sport’s expanding business means we are in constant discussion with many venues around the world for our existing sailing, running and cycling projects, including both in the UK and the USA and Canada, which means we can potentially open new doors and offer added value to host cities.'
With the next edition of The Transat planned for May 2016 in its traditional pre-Vendée Globe slot, consideration is now also being given to the classes that could be invited to compete. The outstanding history of this race has many different types of yachts from monohull to multihull – from the tiny 25-foot Jester in 1960 to the gigantic 236ft Club Mediterranée in 1976. When OC Sport acquired the rights to the race in 2004, it was determined to serve the needs of the professional end of the sport, whilst the Royal Western Yacht Club continued to run a Corinthian race for non-professional sailors restricted to boats of up to 50 feet. The 2004 edition was open to 50ft monohulls and the IMOCA class (60ft monohulls) and the ORMA class (60ft multihulls). In 2008, with the demise of the ORMA class, entry was restricted to the IMOCA class and the Class 40 (40ft monohulls) only. 'Since the last edition of the race in 2008, the ocean racing scene has witnessed the arrival of new classes, such as the MOD70 (70ft multihulls) and the Maxi-Multihulls (80ft+),' commented Duchemin. 'We can expect to see an exciting mix of classes competing in future editions of The Transat.' The decision on classes invited to participate will be taken by December 2014.
The 2016 competitors will follow the race’s traditional tough North Atlantic course from the UK to North America, facing the perils of storms, ice and dense fog over the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, all alone.