Lymington sailor refused to be browbeaten and is back in the OSTAR proving the armchair critics wrong


Have you seen how well Hannah White is doing in the OSTAR ? By sailing a very steady and tidy race from Plymouth she’s lying 4th in the fleet of 25. She’s doing fantastically on her first solo transatlantic race.

Hannah, 26, from Lymington is sailing a chartered Figaro 2 and right now she’s a good margin ahead of Katie Miller in the same one-design, having come through quite a nasty gale this weekend.

What’s nice about this is that while Katie, the up-and-coming 21-year-old whose career has mirrored Ellen MacArthur’s and is, I’m sure rightly, being hailed as another female star in the making, Hannah has had been excoriated by armchair critics.

I spoke to her in Plymouth before the start and was incredulous to hear of some of the malicious and undeserved personal comments that have been posted about her on forums by people who she says have never met her.

It hurt, but Hannah has been tough enough to brush them aside. Still, I cringed when she told me the effect of such poisonously hurtful remarks on her very supportive parents.

The simple reasons seem to be that Hannah has long aspired to be a successful professional sailor and her previous attempts to sail round Britain and finish the OSTAR four years ago failed. She also happens to be pretty, feminine, well-spoken and confident.

But if Hannah’s previous plans failed, so what? Her ambitions, her life and her job is her business. It doesn’t harm anyone and apart from private arrangements with backers or sponsors, she doesn’t owe anyone anything. If she’s pretty and gets sponsorship more easily because of being female, great – it will never balance out all the other areas of sailing where women don’t get a look in.

So I’m really delighted that things seem to be working out for Hannah, and that she’s proving what she is capable of. She’s tougher than her critics. Go Hannah!