Race leader retires with broken rudder

After three days of racing, the tough conditions facing the 31 amateur skippers competing in the Original Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) has claimed a number of casualties. The race leader, Frenchwoman Anne Casaneuve (pictured), sailing the trimaranCroisiereshas retired with a broken rudder and is slowly returning east. She is currently off southwest Ireland. It is understood that her partner, Christoph, is heading out to assist her from Brittany, France, in another multihull.

The Austrian skipper Reini Gelder, sailing the trimaranLight for the World, has also retired. At midday yesterday he informed that race office that ‘his starboard top diamond broke with a loud bang’. He saved the rig by immediately tacking. He was running under staysail and three reefs in the main towards Lorient, France.

Briton Jonathan Snodgrass, a former Army major and skipper ofLexia, appears to have retired. ‘He is currently this side of the Needles but we have not been able to get in touch with him,’ OSTAR Race Director David Southwood toldYachting Monthly. He also said that Paul Brant, aboardNinjodhad lost his oilskins overboard but appeared to be otherwise OK, and that Plymothian Rob Cumming, the skipper ofEgotripand the second youngest competitor, had a tear in his mainsail.

The retirement of the only two trimarans in the race leaves the line honours prize to a monohull. Mark Holden of the OSTAR race office said: ‘The battle to Newport is really on. The retirement of the two tris emphasises the toughness of the OSTAR and shows that anyone who finishes is a winner. The first three days of this race have lived up to the reputation of the race as being one of the toughest in the world. The fact that most of the competitors are not professional sailors adds to the special ethos of the race.’