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Trans-Atlantic race kicks off

More than 30 competitors in OSTAR 2009 departed May 25 from Plymouth, England on a 2,800 mile Atlantic crossing to Newport, R.I.

Crowds gathered to see The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, start the race from aboard the Trinity House vessel, Galatea. He was joined by British sail racers Mike Golding, Dee Caffari and Val Howells (who was a competitor in the first OSTAR in 1960) at the starting line of the race hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club for nearly 50 years.

After months of preparation and anticipation, the skippers, ranging in age from 18 years to 68, will face strong, prevailing winds, an adverse Gulf Stream, hazardous icebergs (south of the Sea of Labrador) and dense fog as they each battle to reach their destination.

Trackers have been fitted on each boat and their progress can be seen via the OSTAR 2009 race Web site. Regular news updates and weather forecasts will also be available.