26-year-old Hannah White is the fourth OSTAR skipper over the finish line

Hannah White (Pure Solo) is the first woman to finish the OSTAR 2009. She crossed the line on Sunday 14 June at 07:52 EDT. 26-year-old Hannah, from Lymington, was the fourth skipper over the finish line, and is currently lying third in the IRC Class 1 on corrected time.

Hannah narrowly missed breaking Mary Falk’s record for 35ft and under boats, but she explains that about one and a half miles from the finish, she had to drop her spinnaker and change course to avoid colliding with a large cargo vessel. This manoeuvre may well have cost her the record in the final stages of the race.

Since Hannah’s first attempt at the OSTAR in 2005, she has been working and sailing with some of the world’s finest single handed sailors and this has paid handsome dividends for her OSTAR 2009 performance.

From Hannah’s blog:

I am writing this from my own personal worst nightmare!! 73 miles from the finish line, totally and utterly becalmed with no sign of any wind on the way for another 24-36 hours. There is one thing being becalmed out in the middle of nowhere, you can kind of accept it get some rest and wait for the winds inevitable return. But when you are just a mere stones throw away from where you need to be, and you have been at sea for 19 days, and you have family and friends waiting for you on the shore, and you know that with just 10 knots of wind you could in fact be there for last orders, one’s patience really runs thinâ?¦ in fact mine has well and truly run out.

Yesterday was another eventful day, we again had some wonderful sunshine which gave me some more sunbathing opportunities. About mid morning though my heart lurched as I heard an almighty bang and we hit something. I was on deck at the time and unfortunately didn’t see what it was but I think I might have been one of those huge sun fish (I think that is what they are called) those funny fish that swim on their sides and I think only have one fin, anyway I gybed over to inspect he damage and thankfully nothing too badâ?¦ just a bit of a mess of the antifoul! Gosh it does make your heart jump though.

After a fine afternoon I was just down below looking at the weather for the finish, which as it turns out gave me a lot of false hope, and the pilot gave up once gain, and we went careering up into wind. I couldn’t believe it, we were just 200 miles from the finish, surely it could have hung on. Anyway I hove to and went and had a look. Thankfully it was quite an obvious problem with the ram and before too long we were back up and running, but I wasn’t keen on the prospect of hand steering for the final 200 miles.

Later on in the evening, I was just getting a little bit excited about my last dinner at sea (not as it now turns out) and I was making a very yummy chicken Jalfrezi when the boat was hit by a very strange wave and I spilt boiling water all over my leg. Ouch! Suffice to say that the jalfrezi never got eaten and I spent the next few hours bathing my leg in water trying to get the most of the heat out of the burnâ?¦ I think it worked, as today it is not early as painful as I thought it might beâ?¦ god, it never rains it pours. On top of all of that my keyboard gave up the ghost and it has taken me this long to try and resurrect itâ?¦ hence no blogs.

So here I am currently making 3.7 knots (we are going through a fast patch) towards Newport with unfortunately now very little chance of breaking the record. Although I might put a bid in for the record for the slowest finish!! Hey ho, hopefully I will still finish 2nd in class and 4th over the line. But right now I would give all that up just for a little bit of wind. Please please please please please can I just have a little bit of wind to get me thereâ?¦. I need a hug and a bath!

I completely forgot to mention in my earlier blog, loads of congratulations to Rob and Roberto who have both now finished. Neither of them had an easy finish by the sounds of it, with dying winds – I know that feeling. They both raced a great race, and I especially want to thank Rob for the banter – looking forward to that beer Rob, might be a while though!!

For more information about the solo skipper, visit www.hannah-white.co.uk .