• Creator
  • #21713
    Richard James

    Today, 5 June 2020 is the 44th anniversary of the legend Roderick White starting the 1976 OSTAR, sailing Atalanta A146 Bluff single handed across the Atlantic Ocean.

    He went on to finish over 61 days later having sailed over 4500 NM.

    Here are some more details:

    Track of A146 in 1976


    5 June 1976 – Start line – Plymouth.

    11 June 1976 – 40° 48’N. 14 W.

    18 June 1976 – 42° N. 18.30 W.

    25 June 1976 – 40° N. 26.30 W.

    2 July 1976 – 37° 30’N. 38 W.

    8 July 1976 – 38°N. 46 W.

    16 July 1976 – 38° 30’N. 53 W.

    23 July 1976 – 35°N. 56.30 W.

    30 July 1976 – 35° 30’N. 66 W.

    5 August 1976 – 41° 26N. 71.23 W. – Finishing line – Brenton Reef Tower.


    Rod White estimated that he had sailed 4500 NM in his 61 day crossing, averaging just over 3 knots. He left the boat with the American section of the AOA, intending to one day sail her back to UK, but he got hooked on round the world races, and sold her to Jonathan Coille, son of Russell Coille, AOA American Rep. Her home port was Annapolis, Maryland. Rod White returned to the UK with a French friend.

    Rod White was awarded the 1976 AOA Etchells Trophy.

    A146 was sold to Bill Mitchell of Maryland in 1982, who sold her to the current owners, David & Michelle Walworth in September 1984. The Walworths spent many hours restoring Bluff which they renamed Le Bateau Ivre.  After her refit she sailed from Chesapeake Bay to Freeport, Long Island, initially kept her at Annapolis, then finally in the American Virgin Islands. David & Michelle Walworth were awarded the 1987 AOA Sinclair Trophy.

    The AOA would like to contact Rod White or his family or friends, to get more details of his epic voyage.

Viewing 1 reply thread
  • Author
    • #21726
      Nick Phillips


      Thanks for the anniversary reminder. A146 was already a very well travelled Atalanta before the ’76 OSTAR having done 1000s of miles in the Channel in the lead up to the 1975 Round Britain race under skipper Bill Perkes (see book page).

      That 1976 OSTAR was notable for so many reasons. The top one being, of course, the entry of A146.  But there were others:

      • Highest number of entries (I think ever) at 125 started
      • Multi-hulls coming of age
      • Alain Colas in his 236′ Club Mediterranée
      • The sad loss of Three Cheers and Mike McMullen, whose wife was electrocuted whilst preparing the boat
      • Five depressions in quick succession yielding average wind speeds of 35knots for over a week

      There are some very intersting articles on the inter web. The Royal Western Yacht Club have a page which includes the full list of yachts and their fate in the race. Rod and Bluff acquitted themselves well given the conditions, although he did not finish within the time limit.  There is also an account of the race in the book ‘The Moonshine Logs’ (Moonshine was one of the boats in the race). Google Books allows you to read the OSTAR 76 chapter.

      Rod was bitten by the ocean racing bug and went on crew on Flyer in the 1977 and 1981 Whitbread Round The World races.

      And Richard, you may find this Yachting Monthly article interesting in terms of tracking Rod down – it appears that there was an attempt at a reunion of the Flyer crew in 2011.


    • #21732

      I remember Bill Perkes met him once in Weymouth circa 1978-80

      I think he sold Sherpa to buy a Ohlson 8.8  from memory  I have in the loft his self steering gear and the plans..I think he broke a rudder or keel on the Round Britain race Faireys dispatched a new one to him up north.


Viewing 1 reply thread
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.