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AZAB Newsletter – May 2019

Welcome to the May edition of the MailASail AZAB 2019 newsletter.

The flags are ready, the programme is being printed, the full sailing instructions are now online… it really is the final countdown to the MailASail AZAB 2019!

All IRC and Declarations are in – well done and thank you everyone! And our thanks to all those that responded to our request for volunteers to take part in our Citizen Science activity to reduce marine plastics; we’ll let you all know how it goes at a later date.

In our May newsletter, you’ll find all the very latest updates and information, including assembly points, gear storage and a great spectator boat option for your friends and family.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

Get to know our Sponsors!

Title Sponsor – MailASail Communications

The team at MailASail are hugely proud to be the title sponsor of this year’s AZAB (#MAZAB19).

A family-owned business, we’ve been in operation since 2001 when we produced our first email acceleration system as a bespoke request for a private customer. It proved so popular that we quickly offered it as a commercial service on a wider basis. Since then, we have actively developed the email compression product based on customer feedback and incorporated the features you see today, such as the weather downloads and the teleport-blog.

We believe that this makes us unique; we have developed the system to meet customer requirements, rather than building a product in isolation! We take pride in our excellent customer service and strive to ensure you get a full and accurate picture of suitable options for your adventure.

We will be assisting with improving communication systems for all participants of the race, including facilitating on-board blog posts and updates to make following the race even more exciting for participants and spectators alike.

Crews will be able to share the highs and lows of their journey with their shore-side audience, as well as communicate with the race committee to find out how they are faring against their fellow competitors. It also allows friends and family to stay up-to-date with the fleet’s latest adventures from the comfort of dry land!

We have a great offer for competitors that want lots of weather data to their device, to be able to post exciting photos and videos of the passage and to keep in touch via WhatsApp:

An upgraded satellite phone called a BGAN will do the job. Don’t buy – rent one today for just £200. It’s a quick and easy plug-in for your existing comms – but this offer is limited, so hurry!  

  • BGAN hire cost: £200 +vat (for up to a 30 day period, starting from the day of delivery in Falmouth to the day it is received back at our London office)
  • Daily coverage: £10 per day for every day over the 30 day period
  • Delivery: included
  • Return arrangements: equipment to be returned at your cost to our London office using a tracked & insured service
  • Refundable deposit: £500 (subject to a full inspection on return)

(Return arrangements: equipment to be returned at your cost to our London office using a tracked & insured service. We can add a Red Box to the hire package for just £140 to help you manage and aggressively firewall your usage and pair up with your teleport-it email compression account. Recommended airtime option is the entry level plan, total cost $346.20+VAT for 63.75MB available up front. Additional data usage is charged at $5.39/MB.

If this is of interest then get in touch by Saturday 25th May. Further details and small print can be found on our Facebook page and website)

We look forward to meeting and supporting the crews of the #MAZAB19!

Partner Sponsor – Mylor Yacht Harbour

We’re excited to be one of the official sponsors of the MailASail AZAB 2019.

As a first class marina, moorings and full service boatyard, we offer the ideal base for your race preparations before setting off from Falmouth on the 1st June, or for the all important repair work when you return to the UK.

Located just one nautical mile from Falmouth Harbour, we are literally just around the corner and a short sail to the start line.

Our Marine Team staff are highly trained marine specialists; engineers, electricians, shipwrights, GRP laminators and finishers. If it involves leisure and small commercial boats, there’s little we don’t do.

Our services include boat lifting and maintenance facilities – we know a good racing scrub can sometimes give you that extra knot! We also work closely with our friends at Mylor Chandlery & Rigging, based onsite here at Mylor, who are experts in rigs, sail handling systems and running rigging.

At our marine parts & sales outlet we also have a vast stock of marine service items, electricals, engines and engine parts from leading marine brands such as Raymarine, Suzuki, Volvo Penta, Vetus to name a few, so you can be sure if you need anything, we’ve most likely got it.

Once you’ve finished the race, you can leave your boat with us while you make arrangements to take her home. As one of the biggest boat shore storage facilities in the southwest, our valley behind the harbour can house up to 500 boats. With electricity and water supply throughout, we can store your vessel ashore or in our Marina with peace of mind.

And it’s not just boats we accommodate for – we can also accommodate you! Our onsite 4 star self-catering holiday cottages are located in the heart of Mylor Harbour, ideal for if you want to stay a little longer, rest up after the race and enjoy those beautiful views.

We’re perfectly placed near Falmouth, with visitor berthing and mooring options alongside excellent shore side facilities. Get in touch with the team today to find out more and to make a booking.

Drop us an email:

Give us a call: +44(0)1326 372121

Visit our website:


Partner Sponsor – Rustler Yachts

Rustler Yachts are proud to be a British-based company, supporting the AZAB once more.  

Here at Rustler Yachts, we are renowned for quality, service and great value. We create hand-built, bespoke yachts using a combination of traditional methods and cutting edge technology – with superlative quality found in every curve, surface and detail.

Our first Rustler 36 was built in Falmouth in the early 1980s, and since that time, hundreds of owners have enjoyed the experience of having their new boat designed and built by experienced British craftsmen. Rustler yachts are manufactured on the premises, not just assembled, with every piece of engineering, moulding and joinery carried out by our staff, in our factory – we do not out-source.

We are passionate about the yachts we build, and know that this passion is shared by our enthusiastic owners. We are proud that our company is personal and small with its own distinctive character, which is evident in our yachts.

Each Rustler owner enjoys a uniquely close relationship with the team that builds their boat, beginning with the process of individually tailored design and build, to hand-over trials and maintenance throughout their ownership. We encourage our customers to get to know their boat from the egg, as it were.

We like our customers to sit in their new half-built boat and discuss the process with engineers and joiners to have a true understanding of the whole boat and confidence in their design.

In the hundreds of models built, no one boat has ever been specified the same.

If you want to own a yacht of renowned design, and legendary capability, a yacht which is the benchmark by which others measure quality, then Rustler is the right choice. Get in touch today to find out more.

AZAB Newsletter – April 2019

Welcome to the April edition of the MailASail AZAB 2019 newsletter.

This issue find out the latest info on important dates for your diary, including all the exciting social events we’ve got planned for you this year.

We also have a free training session hosted by our title sponsors MailASail – so read more to find out how you can take part and prepare for the race ahead.

The team are available at any time if you have any questions as we countdown to the race start in June.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

Event Updates April 2019

The race is fast approaching and the team have been busy making sure everything is in place to make this the best and biggest year yet! Here are the latest updates for the upcoming race:

MailASail Training Session

Saturday 27th April 

Title sponsors MailASail are offering a complimentary training session ‘Email & Weather via Satellite Phone’ ahead of this year’s AZAB at their headquarters in London.

Learn how to get weather and email via your satellite phone, including a complete equipment workshop. Please bring your own gear for testing and set-up – we will have spares available to buy on the day. A complimentary lunch will be provided by MailASail, and spaces are limited – full event details can be found on the Facebook event

Please note: we understand that the location will not suit all crews but please don’t worry, as we are also planning a couple of events in Falmouth during the week before the race departs. Details to be confirmed by the race organisers.


Social Events

The MailASail AZAB Social Programme is now live on the website – you can find out more about what’s going on during the run-up to the 1st June, including pre-event pub gatherings.

Tickets now available

Tickets for the Pre-race BBQ and the Pre-race Dinner are now available via the website. All participating boats are entitled to 2 complimentary tickets. If you’d like to get extra tickets, please see information below and on the website. It’s the perfect opportunity to socialise – or size up the competition – before the race commences!

Pre-race BBQ at The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club – Weds 29th May – £15

Pre-race Dinner at The Falmouth Hotel – Thursday 30th May – £30

Tickets are collection only from the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club or Pendennis Marina.



We have negotiated a deal at Port Pendennis Marina that starts on 25th May until race start day 1st June. You should book direct with the Marina, telling them that you are an AZAB Boat: 01326 211211

The deal is 3 nights stay for the cost of 2. With over 40 boats berthing here, you will be rafted up but it will create a great on-water centre for the event. Electric is available for an additional charge if you need it.

In the week before the event, the use of the yacht club launch will be available along with some other members’ boats to get you to and from the marina to the club.

For those of you who have not visited Falmouth before there is a very wide range of marine facilities available – a good resource to find out more is the Cornwall Marine Network website.

Each boat will have a nominated volunteer to help you out with any issues that you may have during the run up to the race. They will be in touch nearer the time.

Longer Term Berthing

If you wish to arrive in Falmouth some time before the race start then a good cost-effective option may be to use a mooring. Falmouth Haven should be able help you – please contact them direct and tell them you are an AZAB boat:

Main Office: 01326 310990
Marina Office: 01326 310991


Welcoming our new sponsor – Atlantic Brewery and Distillery

We are delighted to welcome the official beer of this year’s race, and it couldn’t be more appropriate: Azores Pale Ale.

Moreish and refreshing, the Azores Pale Ale is delicious, hoppy sunshine in a pint glass. Combining both English and US hops, it’s a beautifully balanced ale with grassy and grapefruit notes.

Atlantic Brewery & Distillery have been quietly making some of the finest drinks in the county for the last 14 years, from their certified organic farm near Newquay. Look out for Azores being served at the RCYC and in Falmouth during race month and, of course, at the club BBQ.


Got a question? Get in touch with the race committee via the website, or you can email

Want to know more? Check out the important dates for your diary and more on the website.


Important Dates for Your Diary

As the countdown continues towards to 2019 race, we wanted to share a little reminder of some of the important upcoming dates, to help you along with your preparations.

We hope you will all have seen these dates in the last newsletter – please get in touch if you don’t appear to be on the list and we’ll ensure you are added. As you can imagine, there is going to be more and more information to share as the weeks go by and we approach 1st June, so please do keep an eye out for our communications.

15th April 2019 – Last date for IRC Certificates to be emailed

1st May 2019 – Qualifying passage self declaration and Declaration of Compliance

We will have sent to you a form for completion for you to self certify that you have completed the required qualifying passage and that you, your boat and other crew member (if appropriate) are compliant with the race requirements stated in the NOR. We need it back by this date.

If there are some details that you have not yet achieved or know by this time they can be noted as accepted information deficiencies on the form and the information provided by the next due date.

28th May or at Registration – Accepted information deficiencies provided

We are anticipating that this will only be information such as sat phone details, hire life raft details, etc. Possibly some last minute unforeseen changes due to unexpected events – sickness, gear renewals, etc.

As ever, if you have any queries or require any other help at any stage, you can take a look at the FAQs where you question may have already been answered, or get in touch with the Committee. Good luck with your pre-race activities!

Golden Globe Hero Mark Slats enters AZAB

Dutchman Mark Slats, runner-up in the Golden Globe, has entered the MailaSail AZAB 2019 in his Rustler 36 Maverick. Mark is no stranger to Falmouth and won the Sitran Challenge race from Falmouth to Les Sables d’Olonne prior to the Golden Globe. Prior to that he rowed single-handed across the Atlantic in the 2017 Talisker Transatlantic Rowing Challenge, obliterating the world record. To give you a sense of the incredible achievement, when Mark reached the goal in the West Indies there were boats that carried teams of two or three rowers that had only reached half way over the Atlantic ocean.
You can read more of the adventures of this modern day colossus by clicking here:

AZAB Newsletter – February 2019

Welcome to the February edition of the MailASail AZAB 2019 newsletter.

This issue find out how you can get your hands on the official race merchandise, and see how you can be part of our work to reduce single-use plastic.

The team are available at any time if you have any questions as we countdown to the race start in June.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

AZAB Newsletter – December 2018

Hello to all AZAB competitors, past and present.

Welcome to your latest newsletter for the MailASail AZAB 2019. This issue, we’ve got news about our associated charity, and an update on the race merchandise that will soon be available.

If you have any questions at any time, please do get in touch. We will be publishing relevant questions and answers on the website, so you may like to take a look there first.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

Discover more: A guide to Falmouth and Ponta Delgada

Thinking of entering the MailaSail AZAB 2019? Or perhaps you already have and want to know more about where you will be sailing? This handy guide to Falmouth and Ponta Delgada gives you an overview of the two locations you will visit as part of your race.

Falmouth, Cornwall

As the third deepest natural harbour in the world and the deepest in Western Europe, Falmouth has a rich and interesting maritime history. From packet ships, large Royal Navy vessels and D-Day landing preparations to modern day achievements such as Ellen MacArthur’s 2005 world-record breaking solo circumnavigation around the globe, Falmouth has always been at the forefront of British maritime activity.

Home to over 21,000 people, Falmouth has a vibrant culture and has become well-known as a regular starting or finishing point for various racing events. The AZAB race starts here.  

Unspoilt by modern development, the bustling and colourful town welcomes you at the shoreline. For those arriving a day or two early, there is the chance to explore what Falmouth has to offer. With events held throughout the year, the excitement ramps up in the summer months with a huge variety of entertainment, exhibits and fantastic local cuisine.

Find your way to a cosy waterfront pub and enjoy those views with a pint of local ale, or walk through town and sample some of the delicious catch of the day. With excellent port and harbour facilities and expert hands to help, you will be fully prepared for the big day, setting sail with confidence for your race ahead.


Ponta Delgada, The Azores


Located on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, Ponta Delgada is the beautiful end to the first leg of the race.

Ponta Delgada was once a small community on the western coast of São Miguel, until the economic centre of the island, Villa Franca, was devastated by an earthquake and landslide. Ponta Delgada was made a city and has remained the capital of the island since 1546. 

Much like Falmouth, Ponta Delgada too has a long maritime history, including involvement in World War I and naval battles such as the Battle of Ponta Delgada in 1582 during the war of the Portuguese Succession. Later, in the 19th century, the export of citrus fruits helped to greatly increase the economic status of the island. They, too have exciting events throughout the year which would be worth revisiting should you decide to make another trip.

With a population of over 68,000 people, Ponta Delgada has a dramatic, rugged beauty shaped by volcanic activity. You can expect a fantastic welcome with the warm hospitality of the Azorean people. Enjoy a tour of the stunning island, excellent food and of course great facilities, markets and shops to help you prep and re-stock before your return leg to Falmouth.

To learn more about the event, take a look at our
About the Race page. Ready to enter? Simply use our online entry form – we look forward to seeing you on the start line!

AZAB 2019 offers a unique opportunity to promote your business. With a range of packages to suit you, your business can receive fantastic corporate entertainment and advertising opportunities in the maritime industry on a global scale. For sponsorship enquiries, please contact

AZAB Newsletter – September 2018

Hello to all AZAB competitors, past and present.

Welcome to your latest newsletter for the MailASail AZAB 2019. This issue, we’ve got some important dates for your diaries, details of new sponsors and information about how we’re continuing to build our support for competitors.

If you have any questions at any time, please do get in touch. We will be publishing relevant questions and answers on the website, so you may like to take a look there first.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

MailASail is the New Title Sponsor for AZAB 2019

The AZAB 2019 (The Azores and Back Race) committee is delighted to announce MailASail as the title sponsor for the race. This means that the next AZAB race will be called the MailASail AZAB Race 2019.

The AZAB is a challenging 2,400-mile international ocean yacht race, taking place every four years. The next race will start on 1st June 2019 from Falmouth.

This thrilling adventure is a must for those wanting to push their sailing boundaries and take on a unique challenge, allowing participants to put both their boats and themselves against some of the greatest sailors of our time.

Open for both single and double-handed crews, the AZAB Race distance is comparable with a transatlantic one. The crew and boats finish leg one in Ponta Delgada, capital of the stunning Azores archipelago, and return to Falmouth in the second leg, making the AZAB unique in that you finish the race where you started.

The Azorean stopover is a great chance for crews to celebrate their achievements from leg one, socialise with fellow participants and prepare for the challenge of the return journey.

MailASail are specialists in coastal and offshore communications including WiFi, 4G and satellite connectivity. The company also supplies specialist communications equipment, including a range of Iridium satellite phones, commonly used offshore to enable easy communication.

MailASail will be assisting with improving communication systems for all participants of the race, including facilitating on-board blog posts and updates, meaning that following the race will be even more exciting for participants and spectators alike. This will enable crews to share the highs and lows of their journey with their shore-side audience, as well as communicate with the race committee to find out how they are faring against their fellow competitors.

This level of communication has not been used to such an extent in previous races, and looks set to bring a whole new dimension to the 2019 event.

MailASail AZAB Race Director Ian Munday said: “Having MailASail on board for AZAB 2019 is wonderful news. We are looking forward to working with this innovative company and building a lasting relationship with them.”

MailASail Director Ed Wildgoose said: “We are proud to be associated with such an esteemed yachting race and hope to become long-term supporters.”

The organisation behind the MailASail AZAB is the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (RCYC). Founded in 1871, the RCYC is one of the pre-eminent clubs in the UK. Based on the waterfront in Falmouth, one of the world’s largest natural harbours, its home waters are the Carrick Roads and the uncluttered Falmouth Bay.

The club is well known for having produced a number of around the world, transatlantic, and Olympic yachtsmen/women, as well as Olympic coaches and race officers. It has a global membership and organises events and regattas for all classes of keelboat from small Day Boats to giant J-Class yachts.

AZAB Open to Multihulls!

We’re excited to announce that a multihull class has been re-introduced for AZAB 2019

For the first time in over 15 years, multihulls will again be able to enter the Azores and Back race. Following increased demand and financial support, the AZAB 2019 race will see a multihull class compete for the first time since 2003.

Only monohull vessels have been eligible to take part in the last 3 races. In recent years the organisers have seen an increase in support and interest from the multihull community, which has lead to sponsorship of the race by multihull sailor Paul Brant. It has therefore been decided that the multihull class will be re-introduced for the next AZAB race, which will be setting sail on 1st June 2019.

AZAB Race Director Ian Munday said “We are delighted to now be able to offer a class for multihulls in the AZAB 2019. An amendment to the NoR will published shortly, and in the meantime we are accepting provisional entries for multihulls through the website, which will become firm entries when the NoR amend is released.”

He went on to explain that “The NoR amend will not only allow us to accept multihulls, but will also fully align us for both monohulls and multihulls with the OSTAR/2STAR 2020 Race, in order for us to act as a full nominated qualifier for that race.”

Entry for the next AZAB race is open until January 2019, however numbers are limited to 120 and places are filling up fast. The new multihull class is already attracting provisional entries, and all potential competitors are advised to make their entry soon in order to gain a firm place. A reserve list will run if oversubscribed.

To enter the AZAB 2019, click here.


AZAB Newsletter – November 2017


Hello to all AZAB competitors, past and present.

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter for the AZAB 2019 – less than 20 months to go until the start!

The committee has been appointed, with a mix of old and new members, who will provide some continuity, along with lots of fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

What’s New

Race Director
A new Race Director, Ian Munday MBE, is taking the helm. Ian is keen to streamline the entry process, so everything is now managed online, including deposits, notice to race (race information) and all your paperwork. You can update your profile and access your entry information via the online portal, with your own private login.

If you do not have a UK bank account you can BACS transfer the deposit money. We trust this will work smoothly, however if you do have difficulties you can email for support.

Qualification News
The SORC soloFASTNET race in 2018 is now a qualifier for AZAB 2019.

AZAB 2019 has also been declared a qualifier for OSTAR2020

Race Sponsorship

Join the AZAB 2019 team by becoming one of our event sponsors!

Sponsorship is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of your brand, promote your business, and help this exciting event become even bigger and better. With a variety of packages available, take a look at our Sponsorship Pack to find out more and get involved.

On a Final Note

After collecting feedback from the 2015 AZAB participants, we know the new additions to the schedule, including the Finish Line Welcome in Falmouth, and the block-booking for Pendennis Marina, were well received. We plan to incorporate both of these again as we feel it adds real value to your experience as competitors.
We are pleased that, as of today, we have 38 entries. There is a limit of 120 boats so if you haven’t signed up yet, but you are thinking about it, then please enter now.
Best Wishes
AZAB 2019

Competitor advice

One of our aims in organising the AZAB is to offer a race that is of sufficient challenge for experienced offshore sailors and also is an opportunity for those committed and keen enough to venture on their first serious ocean race. The following was written by a local competitor who has taken part in 3 AZABs. For the first time competitor it gives you a lot to think about and as he states at the end if you have any questions or need further advice then please do contact us

This article is written with the sole purpose of pointing potential competitors in the right direction in preparing to enter the AZAB 2019 race.

It will be of little help to experienced ocean racers or those who have done the race before, but it hopefully will be of use to those new to this sort of challenge.

The author has taken part in three previous AZAB’s and so knows some of the pitfalls. In no way does he ever wish to appear patronising and apologies to those who thinks he is being so!

The first thing to realise is that this is a serious undertaking; 2,400 nautical miles of ocean racing and for a large amount of time out of range of helicopters and major shipping lanes.

Have you got, or about to get, the right boat to undertake this task? Are you thinking of doing this two handed or singlehanded?

A good place to start is with is the vessel herself. First of all read the AZAB2019 Notice of Race and then go on line to the ISAF Rules of Sailing OSR Category 1 for monohulls. Read the 2016 version but remember there may be some changes between now and 2019

Read through these ISAF rules and highlight anything which will have to be updated or added to your yacht in order to qualify. For example, do you have an AIS transponder? Does your life raft qualify? Have you an orange storm jib? Have you wooden bungs at all through hull sea cock fittings?

You will now be in a position to know how much work and expense there is to bring your yacht up to speed.

I suspect that a few of you will drop out at this stage! However for those who are still aboard let us continue.

About yourself; will you have an up to date First Aid qualification as per the rules? You will also have to have completed an offshore safety course within in the last 5 years. This is an extremely interesting 2 day course.

You and your yacht and your crew, if two handed, will have to complete a minimum 300 mile qualifier as per the NoR . This can be done independently or by participating in another appropriate race in the prescribed time frame. Just remember don’t assume that the race will be acceptable.  You should check with the race organisers that it will be allowed to count as your qualifier. Remember it is a minimum of 300miles and is there to largely prove to yourself that you (and your crew) are capable of completing this race without outside assistance. It may be that a longer passage in more challenging conditions is needed in order for you to know that. Remember if you get into difficulty on the race not only are you bound to waste your time, effort and money but also very likely to do the same to the fellow competitor/s who has had to divert off their race in order to render assistance. Use every opportunity to prepare yourself for the, race even if it means that you do a further extended passage yourself, to just confirm your commitment and abilities.

If you are going to enter as a singlehander, then give it careful thought.   Single handed ocean racers don’t have much sympathy for others who haven’t done their homework. There are critics of single handed sailing and the experienced singlehanders don’t wish to give them ammunition.

For those of you who are doing it two handed, also be warned. On all three of the last races some crews have ended up not speaking to each other. Choose your companion carefully because you will live in a confined space with them for at least 2 weeks, often under stressful conditions!  Your qualifying passage should prove something here and you may need to think about an alternative crew and a further qualifier if need be.

Your IRC handicap for 2019 will have to be obtained and for those who have not raced their yacht before you will need to fill out various forms with measurements which can be confusing. It takes time and patience! The IRC website is very useful in particular for first timers check out this link:

Provisioning and how much water to take etc. also needs to be thought about and it helps to keep notes on this subject during your qualifier as a guide.

For some the race will be expensive. The entry fee, the iridium sat phone, additional safety gear and all the courses add up. On a personal note, I never dared add up the cost, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have taken part or been allowed to take part by my wife!

The race has on no occasion, so far, had a loss of life and there is a great deal of support from fellow competitors during the race. The Corinthian spirit still exists and serious ocean racers sail alongside those who are there just for the experience.

If there are any questions that haven’t been covered then the race committee will be pleased to help but remember, we are all unpaid volunteers!

Good luck with your research and preparations. See you in Falmouth.