The race is on as just two spaces remain for this year's Petit Bateau singlehanded race

With a limit of 20 entries, the Petit Bateau 2004 singlehanded race looks set to be a competitive fleet.

The back to basics concept of the race and its imaginative and testing course, as well as the opportunity for Star 2005 qualification, has attracted top solo sailors to Mylor Yacht Club, Falmouth for the 17 July 2004 start.

The international fleet comprises of 7 Dutch, 4 Belgian, 2 French and 5 British skippers who will compete over the course of nearly 1000 miles from Falmouth to Kinsale to Gijon to Camaret.

The six Ostar veterans in the fleet can count 10 singlehanded transatlantic races between them. Mary Falk holds the record for the fastest in the 35 foot class again sails QII, Michel Kleinjans, who holds the record for the fastest in the 30 foot class, has entered in his powerful new open 40 Roaring Forty. Ronny Nollet is racing his open 40 La Promese, in which he won the 40 foot class in the 2000 Ostar. Pieter Adriaans open 40 Robosail (ex Syllogic) and Round Britain 2002 class winner returns with its innovative new wing mast rig. The two ex-Mini Transat racers, Olivier Desport series winner in 2001 Mini Transat and Paul Peggs a Round Britain class winner, have completed three Mini Transats and now sail JOD 35’s. Harry Vogel, prize winner in the Ostar 2000, enters his recently modified water ballasted JOD 35.

Alice’s Mirror with Jerry Freeman at the helm has contested 3 Ostars since 1984 and numerous AZAB and Round Britain races, other AZAB and RBR racers include Nico Budel In the Hayai and Mervyn Wheatley in Tamarind.

New faces from the Dutch and Belgium singlehanded scene are, sailmaker Ian Wittevrongel in his J92, along with Henk Bulthuis in his new J109 and Dik Geurts F&F110. French skipper Pierre-Yves Chatelin, has chartered a Figaro for solo practice while he awaits the completion of a new open 40 aimed at Star2005.

Three fast trimarans will be hoping for line honours two from Holland and one from Belgium, Leon Bart in his new CC37 Hound Van Hout, Ralph Marx in Shockwave and Egon Plovier with an F31 called WE3 R1.