History

How and why did AZAB begin?

The first British long-distance yacht race for solo sailors was the Single-handed Transatlantic Race which reputedly grew out of a half-crown wager and was first held in 1968. Just four yachts left Plymouth all of which reached New York safely. The winner was Sir Francis Chichester in Gypsy Moth II.

Sponsorship from the Observer and news from the Observer newspaper caused someone to coin the name Ostar a name that has stuck, much to the annoyance of subsequent sponsors. Since then the race has taken place every four years.

In 1981 the first two-handed transatlantic race was held and again around 100 yachts left Plymouth this time for Newport Rhode Island. However, for many yachtsmen, taking part in a transatlantic race is an impossible dream. Costs are high and three months or so are needed to prepare the boat, compete and then bring her home.

In 1972 Chris Smith wrote a letter to Yachting World magazine suggesting that a shorter solo ocean race should be held. As a result Andrew Bray, Spud Spedding and Colin Drummond met with Chris to discuss setting up such a race. The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club agreed to host the British end. The Azores archipelago was picked as an ideal destination – distant enough to provide a real challenge within a four to six week time-limit and to be pleasantly “foreign” on arrival, with a course clear of major shipping lanes. The first AZORES AND BACK RACE took place in 1975 with 52 starters.

With such a turnout, and so many competitors clamouring for a repeat event, it was decided to follow the lead of Ostar and hold AZAB at four yearly intervals. The second race in 1979 accepted two-handed as well as single-handed entries, an obviously popular decision, as in 1999 only about one yacht in 10 was sailed single-handed. The course covers just less than 2500 miles of ocean, approximately 1220 miles on each leg. The majority of yachts usually take between 7 and 10 days to reach the AZORES allowing a week or so to relax and restock for the return passage.

The race is for single/two handed yachts and every occurs every 4 years with the next event in 2019

Class 1 – The Michael Allum Trophy

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Croix du Sud

11:04:17:00

13:20:40:17

2 sec Hayai

12:00:20:25

14:21:49:49

3 Fastrak X

14:12:35:25

15:03:34:47

Class 2 – The Prince of Wales Cup

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Just Plain Krazy

13:15:40:03

13:18:17:20

2 Sarabande

14:16:09:33

15:04:07:57

3 Juliette

15:10:44:04

15:12:13:03

Class 3 – The Borough Members Cup

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Aliana

16:03:03:15

15:17:22:40

2 Jager

15:23:25:32

15:18:03:27

3 Happy

16:13:10:17

16:02:50:42

Class 4 – The Warrington-Smythe Bowl

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Olbia

17:06:16:20

15:10:21:34

2 Dreamcatcher

16:21:07:30

15:18:23:12

3 Saboo

17:14:40:32

16:01:28:48

This, the tenth AZAB race saw for the first time the introduction of a rule requiring each boat to carry a tracker. Fifty nine yachts with crews from 10 nationalities set off either single or two-handed. Every hour these reported the position, speed and course of every competitor and this information was placed on a race website enabling the world to keep up to date on the progress of the race. It was a great success and added a new dimention to the event as far as all the friends and relatives of the sailors were concerned. Several new records were set, noteably two by Nico Budel in Hayai who broke the record for Single-handed monohulls under 40ft on the first leg and then the two handed record on the return leg with Coen Meijer.

CLASS 1 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Franglais Francis Shillitoe / Thomas Shillitoe

19.2.07.34

16.8.09.21

2 Stratagem Mike Sturrock / Tim Taylor

20.4.36.42

17.23.18.16

3 Christina Valerie Gardiner / Craig Hill

23.6.10.57

20.20.41.23

CLASS 2 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Vela Fresca Neil Matson, L1 Solo, L2 Sam Matson

17.15.55.10

17.4.53.51

2 Tamarind Mervyn Wheatley

18.13.49.49

17.12.51.50

3 Growler Bill Caldwell / Walter Hooley

19.10.26.17

18.1.47.15

CLASS 3 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Taika Chris Tibbs / Don Wright

14.9.23.19

14.12.09.06

2 Elixir Flic Gabbay / Roger Barber

14.19.11.57

15.7.59.11

3 Truant Steve Thomas

15.18.49.12

15.21.28.18

CLASS 4 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 La Promesse Jan Kees Lampe

12.5.40.40

14.19.21.00

2 Jbellino Rob Craigie / Charles Allen

13.20.45.11

14.22.22.30

3 Jammy Dodger Neil Martin ( L1) Deb Fish L2Dick Cowan ( L1) Andy Horrocks L2

13.13.51.27

14.22.46.09

A full list of results and additional details are available by Class and Overall please select from the list below: Overall Results

Click here to download a copy

Results by class

Click here to download a copy

60 boats took part with sailors from six nationalities. In this race, for the first time, boats were required to carry salellite phones or other means to communicate with the club and were required to report their position each day. As a result there were incidents of competitors being asked to stand by fellow competitors in difficulties and/or to provide assistance.

CLASS 1 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

2007 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Illusion of Lorne (Red Admiral) Peter Sharp/Bob Hudson

15.23.29.00

14.7.36.04

2 Araminta of Hythe (Nicholson 32 MRX) James Walker/Henry Walker

18.17.09.00

15.10.05.59

CLASS 2 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

2007 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Cavatina (Granada 38) David Hennessy/Eric LissonSean Hanley

15.07.04.00

14.04.16.15

2 Tamarind (Formosa 42) Mervyn Wheatley (SH)

16.17.31.00

15.10.36.00

CLASS 3 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

2007 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Star Dancer (Southerly 110) Rob Packham/Robert HooykassJohn Crabtree

16.17.10.00

15.16.41.44

2 Ruffian S(igma 36) Peter McIntyre/Emma Nutt

16.21.26.00

50.20.17.47

CLASS 4 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

2007 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Musk Ox (X362 Sport) Neville Devonport/Steve Robinson

14.18.27.00

14.21.17.08

2 Jellina (J133) Mark Lloyd and Deb Fish

13.12.01.00

14.23.20.04

Best aggregate corrected time: Cavatina

Singlehanded best aggregate corrected time: Tamarind

Family crewed yacht: Araminta of Hythe

Skipper/Crew showing best Corinthian Spirit: Tamarind

Forty eight yachts were entered with 6 nationalities represented. The size was set at 29 to 61 feet. After an eventful and stormy start a few competitors retired, with Tamar Swallow returning for a replacement crew.

CLASS 1 SINGLE OR TWO HANDED MONOHULLS

2003 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Coryphaena (Southerly 100) Gary Clements, Chris Knowlton

601.19

509.80

2 Ayesha (Biscay 36) Paul & Libby Heiney

587.60

521.87

CLASS 2 TWO HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS UNDER 0.960

2003 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Sleuth Hound (Sigma 362) Colin Drummond, Finbarr O’Halloran

467.30

478.69

2 Suroma (Starlight 35) Bill & Marti Graham

501.25

470.67

3 Tamarind (Formosa 42) Mervyn Wheatley

523.60

479.62

CLASS 3 TWO HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS 0.960 OR ABOVE

2003 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Torbellino (Sigma 38) Rob Craigie, Karen Dolling

455.85

453.57

2 Equilibrium (Sweden 38) Graham Whitehouse, Michael McGee

480.20

471.56

3 Nutcracker (Halberg-Rassy 39) Simon Timm, Steve Butters& Neil Thackray, Nick Whitehead

534.78

516.60

CLASS 4  WATER BALLASTED MONOHULLS

2003 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Jalfrezi (J120) Gareth Thomas, Ras Turner

375.23

405.25

2 Roaring Forty (Open 40) Michael Kleinjas, Ian Wittevrongel

334.10

410.94

3 Matjas (J130) Pieter de Kort, Frits TackenbergDouwe Brick

377.12

416.71

Overall Line Honours: Jalfrezi

Single Handed 1st Overall: Tamarind

Family Crew: Suroma

Corinthian Spirit: Tamarind

Forty three yachts were entered with eight nationalities represented among them. Once again there were two boats from the Azores whose crews of course have to complete the voyage four times by the time they get here for the start and sail home again afterwards. Two new prizes were introduced. The John and Sally May Trophy goes to the skipper and crew or singlehanded skipper who is judged to have contributed most to the Corinthian spirit of the event (Voted for by the participating yachtsmen and women). The Michael Allum Trophy was given by Mrs Marion Allum in memory of her late husband, Michael.

CLASS 1 (SINGLEHANDED or TWO HANDED MONOHULLS)

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Hakuna Matata (Mustang 30) Charles Allen

17-23-00

16-18-59

2 Bucks Eagle (Sadler 34) Colin/Jeremy Wharton

18-08-31

16-23-55

3 Tyrant (Hustler 35) Mike Jaques/Bill Wright

19-17-22

17-09-58

CLASS 2 (TWO HANDED MONOHULLS)

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Imperador  (Sigma 36) Patrick Dekeyser/Philippe Bernaert’ Paul Alenus

17-21-00

16-23-53

2 Red Ruth  (Rustler 42) Chris Coles/Duncan McMillan

17-20-41

17-17-40

3 Firanjo 111  (Impala 40) Philippe de Troy/L. de Neuville’H. Kesteloot

18-04-01

17-22-21

CLASS 3 (TWO HANDED MONOHULLS)

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Just Another Cunning Plan  (J-110) Robert Davis/Rachel Hibberd

17-17-23

17-23-46

2 Cork Malt  (Beneteau First 50) Rod Jenkins/Allan Barwell

16-12-31

18-12-54

CLASS 4 (WATER BALLASTED MONOHULLS)

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Mannequin  (Open 40) Ronny Nollet/Xavier Wyckmans

13-17-05

16-21-2

2 Alice’s Mirror  (32’ one-off) Jerry Freeman/Laurent Noel

16-21-47

17-00-37

CLASS 5 (MULTIHULLS)

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Multihull Centre Backlash(Banshee Catamaran) Tony Purser/Pip Patterson

17-04-26

19-21-35

2 Pegasus (Outremer 38 Catamaran) Peter/Ralph/Diana Kinch

14-21-20

17-16-52

OVERALL LINE HONOURS

1999 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

Mannequin  (Open 40) Ronny Nollett

13-17-05

16-21-25

The 20th Anniversary AZAB attracted the biggest field since 1979, with 61 yachts coming to the line in five classes. Size limits remained at 25ft (7.62m) and 60ft (18.29m) and eight nationalities were represented. Five multihulls took part, and though sadly Severalles Challenge capsized early in the outward leg, Spirit of England almost caught the Azores reception committee napping by shaving more than two days off the record set by Three Legs of Man 20 years earlier. However, the return leg was one of the slowest on record and many crews were forced to abandon the race and motor home.

CLASS 1 (SINGLE-HANDED MONOHULLS)

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Luneborg (Contessa 32) Ronny Nollet

22-05-37

475.45hrs

2 Haigri (Rival 38) Mervyn Wheatley

22-16-48

497.40hrs

 

CLASS 2 (TWO-HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS UNDER 0.960)

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Carte Blanche (Swan 36) Jem & Maureen Tetley

22-06-46

492.52hrs

2 Pyewacket (Jaguar 27) Jeremy Anning & Ainsley Harrison

6-18-06

501.48hrs

3 Cantata (Westerly Fulmar 32) Mike Bradley & David Temple

23-04-48

501.68hrs

 

CLASS 3 (TWO-HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS 0.960 OR ABOVE)

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Zaphod (X-Boat 412) Eric Broadley & Carl Phillips (out)Simon Reid (ret)

18-00-30

462.35hrs

2 Midnight Getaway (MG 335) Andrew & Jon Firebrace

20-04-18

470.73hrs

3 Chantue of Emsworth (Sigma 41) Chris Hornsey & Bill Tremlett

19-20-51

472.08hrs

4 Sunday (J 35) Peter Ploeg & Patty Schmidt

18-20-10

472.97hrs

(Sunday’s first placing in Class 3, lost due to a time penalty imposed for non-compliance with the Rules, was subsequently reinstated after the skipper’s protest to the RYA was upheld)

 

CLASS 4 (WATER-BALLASTED MONOHULLS)

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Panic Major (Nickerson 60) Robert Nickerson & David Sawdon

15-04-43

491.63hrs

2 Sea Talk (40ft one-off) Simon van Hagen & Kitty Hampton

17-20-38

500.65hrs

 

CLASS 5 (MULTIHULLS)

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Shockwave (34ft tri) John Fowler & Mark Orr

15-22-47

524.42hrs

2 Fiery Cross (40ft tri) Rupert Kidd & Alan Mitchell

17-14-14

594.40hrs

 

OVERALL LINE HONOURS

1995 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

Queen Anne’s Battery (60ft mono) Mark Gatehouse &Chrissie Metheroll (ret)

15-03-34

15-03-34

Again entry numbers were somewhat disappointing with only 35 yachts coming to the start. Four nationalities were represented and size limits were set at 25ft (7.62m) and 60ft (18.29m). Again it was a fast race, particularly on the return when several yachts broke the six-day barrier. However, disaster struck twice, once on the outward leg when the 30ft Minitech lost her keel and capsized, and again on the return when the 40ft catamaran Queen Anne’s Battery Marina hit a whale, was holed and had to be abandoned. Thankfully the crews of both yachts were saved.

CLASS A (SINGLE-HANDED MONOHULLS)

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Corkscrew (Twister 28) Trevor Leek

23-22-22

469.25hrs

2 Largo (Rival 32) John Passmore

23-05-08

485.25hrs

CLASS B1 (TWO-HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS UNDER 0.960)

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Castaway (Freedom 35) George Tinley & Charles Warren

18-08-01

393.42hrs

2 Katla (J30) Martin Pavey & Steve Garnham

18-11-45

425.55hrs

CLASS B2 (TWO-HANDED MONOHULLS, CHS 0.960 OR ABOVE)

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Private Lives (Beneteau First 35) Sarah Jane Hall & David Alan-Williams..

16-13-05

381.20hrs

2 Sail Troon (MG RB34) Iain Hunter & Sally Creaser

16-15-12

397.20hrs

CLASS C (MULTIHULLS)

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Transient (35ft tri) Helena Darvelid & Brian Thompson

12-13-16

396.40hrs

CLASS D (WATER-BALLASTED MONOHULLS)

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Rucanor (Beneteau 30) Michel Kleinjans

15-22-14

384.55hrs

2 ROX (40ft one-off) Jenny Pocock (out) & Desmond Hampton (ret)

15-22-58

413.60hrs

OVERALL LINE HONOURS

1991 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Panic Major (Nickerson 60) Robert Nickerson & Martin Selles

11-32-54

432.28hrs

The mid 1980s saw the introduction of several other short-handed races and the AZAB field dropped to 39, though by now it was established as a firm favourite with many competitors entering for the second or third time.  The lower size limit was raised to 25ft (7.62m) and the upper to 45ft (13.72m) for single-handers and 75ft (22.86m) for two-handers.  As well as racing within classes, the Channel Handicap System was introduced for monohulls and MOCRA handicaps for multihulls, giving a two-tier system of prizes.   Entries came from five European countries with British, Spanish and Dutch among the winners, and some remarkable times were set by the larger boats as the 60ft monohull Cherry Valley Super Duck and 75ft catamaran Novanet Elite battled for line honours over both legs.

SINGLE-HANDED MONOHULLS

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class A Shoki (First 30) John Elliott

22-00-41

Class B Orion Iru (45ft S&S cutter) Jose Ugarte

17-05-55

 

TWO-HANDED MONOHULLS

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class D Maris Otter (Sadler 32) George Debenham & Guy Nicholls

22-04-46

Class E Windthrift (She 36) John & Janet Trythall

22-05-37

Class F Sionan (Sigma 41) M Jackson & R Phipps/R Fuller

20-23-16

Class G Cherry Valley Super Duck(Panic 60) Robert Nickerson & M Fitzgerald

4-00-08

 

OVERALL LINE HONOURS

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Novanet Elite (75ft cat) Peter Phillips & Dickie Gomes

13-22-10

 

MONOHULLS : CHANNEL HANDICAPSINGLE-HANDED

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

1 Orion Iru (45ft S&S cutter) Jose Ugarte

446.61hrs

2 Shoki (First 30) John Elliott

509.12hrs

3 Quixote (UFO 34) Mary Falk

517.60hrs

 

TWO-HANDED

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

1 Cherry Valley Super Duck Robert Nickerson & M Fitzgerald

412.10hrs

2 Maris Otter George Debenham & Guy Nicholls

484.94hrs

3 Quilla (Starlight 29) Steve Thomas & Barrie Pennington

494.87hrs

 

MULTIHULLS : MOCRA HANDICAP

1987 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

1 Banshee (Banshee 35 cat) Lillian & Richard Woods

488.17hrs

The third AZAB saw 55 starters, with a three to one majority in favour of two-handed entrants but only one multihull taking part.  The upper size limit was increased to 40ft (12.2m), in line with Single-Handed Transatlantic Race limits, and again the fleet was divided according to number on board and overall length, this time into eight divisions.  The outward leg in particular was a fast one and several of the records set stood until 1995.

SINGLE-HANDED YACHTS

1983 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class 1 Alice’s Mirror (30ft mono) Chris Smith (out) Jerzy Rakowicz (ret)

20-20-22

Class 2 Lady Dona (Rival 34) Piet ter Laag

25-07-29

Class 3 Assassin (Contessa 38) Brian Wells

21-01-26

TWO-HANDED YACHTS

1983 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class 4 Rizla + (30ft one-off tri) Alain & Thomas Veyron

20-20-56

Class 5 Whisperer (Passage Maker 30) GD Tatton-Brown & J Baker

22-18-05

Class 6 Beefeater (She 36) M Copley & CJ Harris/A Liggins

21-09-17

Class 7 RJN Marine (Panic 40) Robert Nickerson & G Hannaford

17-12-42

The most obvious innovation in the second race was the acceptance of two-handed as well as single-handed entries, a move which proved very popular. Over 100 yachts entered though only 89 actually started, but even so the strain on facilities at both ends of the course was intense. Handicapping was abandoned, and instead the fleet was divided into four single-handed classes and five two-handed classes on the basis of overall length, racing boat-for-boat inside them. Nine nationalities were represented with British, Dutch, Polish and Finnish yachts amongst the winners.

SINGLE-HANDED YACHTS

1979 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class 1 Whisperer (Seal 26) GD Tatton-Brown

20-09-24

Class 2 Achillea (Achilles 840) Chris Butler

20-23-36

Class 3 Lady Dona (Rival 34) Piet ter Laag

22-18-31

Class 4 Spaniel (36ft mono) Jerzy Rakowicz

19-09-34

TWO-HANDED YACHTS

1979 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Class 6 Olympus (Advance 24) K Granholm & U Grahn

22-07-34

Class 7 Blueprint (Ballad 28) B Simpson-Wells & AR Dunstan

20-03-48

Class 8 Malaprop (Rival 34) Ian Reynard & Tony Collingridge

20-06-27

Class 9 Stanford Mariner (38ft mono) Fred Dovaston & John Weatherup

17-08-31

Class 10: Whisky Jack (34ft tri) Nicholas Gray & Julian Mustoe

16-20-41

The first AZAB was for single-handers only and was open to monohulls and multihulls of between 22ft (7.2m) and 38ft (11.6m), racing on handicap but not divided into classes. Either four or five countries were represented – depending whether you accept the winner’s claim to Manx nationality! – with other placings going to French and Belgian yachts. The very fast outward leg took the organisers by surprise and the record set by the trimaran Three Legs of Man stood for twelve years.

MONOHULLS

1975 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Tyfoon V (Ohlson 35) Gustaf Versluys

19-05-02

440.19hrs

2 Port du Crouesty (29ft mono) Bernard Pallard

20-23-57

450.98hrs

3 Roussiane (Chance 37) Michel Malinovsky

18-09-00

453.47hrs

MULTIHULLS

1975 PLACINGS

Elapsed Time

Corrected Time

1 Three Legs of Man (Kelsall 37 tri) Nick Keig

16-05-15

462.55hrs

2 Capitaine Cook (Kraken 33 tri) Eugene Riguidel

18-11-03

504.94hrs