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Race preview - THE TRANSAT CIC

Updated: May 8

The first race of the season is The Transat CIC Race from Lorient, France to New York.

Race Origins and Legacy

The Transat CIC, formerly known as the OSTAR (Original Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race), is the oldest of all the single-handed races and has a fascinating history dating back to 1960. It all began with a daring wager amongst a handful of British sailors to see who was capable of crossing the Atlantic ocean single-handedly.

Only 5 sailors took to the start line. The winner, British adventurer Sir Francis Chichester, completed the race in 40 days and 12 hours on board the famous Gypsy Moth III, demonstrating incredible human endurance and seamanship. What many people do not know, was at that time he was recovering from lung cancer after being given just 6 months to live. He was nursed back to health by his wife who then sent him to do the race!

Today, the leading sailors are expected to finish in just 8-10 days.

The race Route

This year will be the 15th edition, after the pandemic prevented the 2020 race from taking place.  Starting from the French port of Lorient, widely considered the home of offshore racing, the competitors will follow a northerly route across the Atlantic, before reaching the iconic skyline of New York City some 3,500 nautical miles later.

This route is a challenge usually characterised by a series of low pressure weather systems which sweep across the north Atlantic, creating brutal, upwind sailing conditions for most of the race. Ice and fog are frequent threats as well as cargo ships and fishing boats.

Solo Endeavour

The Transat CIC is a solo race so Oliver will need to navigate the elements alone. Without anyone to share the responsibilities with, Ollie will need to manage his sleep, nutrition and health alongside navigation, keeping an eye out for hazards and the physical demands of sailing.

The Significance of this Race

As well as the prestige of completing such an iconic race, it is a crucial step in Ollie’s preparation for the single-handed Vendée Globe later this year.

With gruelling conditions expected to push participant to their limits, it will be an excellent opportunity for Ollie to test himself and the boat as part of the build-up to the round-the-world Vendée Globe race, frequently nicknamed the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

Completing the race will also secure Ollie vital points in the selection table. An excellent test of Ollie’s strategic thinking – as he needs to figure out how to maximise performance without compromising his chances of finishing the race, or being unable to take part in the return race which starts just a few weeks later from New York, returning back to France.

This will be Ollie’s first attempt at the Transat CIC and his second single-handed transatlantic race. Depending on the conditions, there is a possibility Ollie will finish the race on May 10th, which is his birthday, which would be a fantastic way to celebrate!

You can follow the race online using this race tracker on the Transat CIC website.

Or read this article for a full list of ways to follow the action at the start live!


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