Will Sayer (G92-97) to sail solo across the Atlantic

He wrote:

“I am an amateur yachtsman and it has been my dream to compete in a single-handed ocean challenge since I was a child. This dream has now come true and I am due to take part in the OSTAR Atlantic race, the world’s oldest solo ocean race, on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25th. Only 400 amateur yachtsmen have completed this race and it is known as the ultimate challenge for amateur sailors. The race has Corinthian roots – it is completed by unsponsored people who haven’t got support teams behind them with limitless funding. It is done by amateurs who want to replicate its long history.”

“Sailing is a passion of mine,” says Will, a member of Marchwood Yacht Club, a humble, modest club in Southampton, where members all support each other with practical help and advice. Astonishingly Marchwood has two members taking part in the OSTAR this year.

The challenges confronted are described as follows:

Competitors must battle the prevailing winds of the north Atlantic, icebergs, fog and an adverse gulf stream current, traveling 3,000 nautical miles from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island in America. Just 40 yachts start each race, which takes around three weeks to complete but around 20 per cent don’t make it. The OSTAR takes place every four years and dates back to 1960. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is a big supporter of the race and has been quoted saying: “The OSTAR is the ultimate solo challenge for amateur sailors and takes a huge amount of courage and skill to compete. Its history makes for an exciting story – the race is truly inspired by legends and sailed by heroes.”

To qualify, Will had to complete a course of at least 500 miles, single-handedly. To prove his mettle he decided to sail the course of the Fastnet, a famous 600 mile race usually completed by a crew of six on a boat the same size as his.

“I work for about three to four hours every night after work, preparing and making modifications, checking her over and making sure everything is as it should be. It rules my life. I want to be able to look at myself and say I didn’t just talk about doing the OSTAR, but I did it. That’s what keeps me going. I must admit I am both excited and apprehensive of being out there alone,” said Will. There’s no question it is going to be tough. There could be huge storms and it is every solo sailor’s worst fear to be swept overboard. If I went over, that’s it – there’s no swimming to catch up – my boat will carry on without me. Rest assured I will be clipped on from the moment I step outside the cabin. If you wish to know more please contact me on 07884 324932.

Driven and determined, Will says that he has always set himself challenges and, at 18, was the youngest runner in the 1997 London Marathon. He has still to raise £5,000 in order to compete in the OSTAR. To keep up-to-date with Will’s progress visit which will be updated regularly during the race.


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