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Crew member on NED118 Winsome

1st day in Rolex Fastnet Race, cooling down from Aberdeen Cowes Week

Winsome was still warm from the days of 7 racing in Aberdeen Cowes Week, when we started on Sunday 11th of August the Rolex Fastnet Race at 12:30 local time.

We had a reasonable start close to the Committee Boat at the Northern side of the start line. Reima could keep us clear from a big cluster of IRC-4 boats including Jolie Brise. We believe there have occured some soft touches with Jolie Brise. She simply entered a group of starting boats from behind, but could not do anything to slow down because of her inertia, being much greater than the other very light boats in front of her. Well we could not really see it well, but there was no X-Ray flag nor any protests.

The start was like one of our Cowes Week' starts i.e. a start to the West, against the tide. so we went well in the shore close to Quinnell and because it was high water with 4 meters above astronomical water level, we felt confident to pass the dry falling land NW of Lepe Spit. Still I kept an uneasy feeling since the depth meter showed different figures than I had calculated. In spite of carefull navigation we touched the bottom in the entrance of the Beaulieu River just North of Mark 3G [of course Seventar Yacht Transport Buoy] during a tack but we got going again in two seconds or so. We stayed on the Mainland shore but we had to let Wasabi and Foggy Dew go. They had an advantage on us at Hurst Castle of 0,5 Nm.

Winds wers 11 to 18 knots. We encountered short and steep waves after passing Bridge Buoy at the Needles. Pretty bad for a heavy duck like Winsome. Fortunately we could pass Bill of Portland before the tide turned, but we have observed on AIS some daring -ore should I say unlucky- boats who came too close to Bill of Portland and had to negotiate this pasage at speeds of 1 to 2 knots only. Perhaps this happened to Iromiguy since we know very well how well this boat is sailed by Yves Jean Chateau and his crew, since writing this blog on Monday noon, he is more than 25 Nm behind us. Still we know this boat cannot be discounted before it is moored in Plymouth.

We have lost Wasabi and Foggy Dew. They are some 10 Nm in front of us and we keep on having unfriendly waves all along the race. By the time we could make contact with the Leader Board I nearly fainted when I saw Jolie as 1st boat on calculate time and Winsome 27th. Now a couple of hours later things do still not look brilliant, but better. Jolie Brisie fell down from the leader board, Winsome was upgraded to 8th.

The wind is now dying. We are 25 Nm from Lizard Point so we hope being able to hunt Wasabi and Foggy Dew once in the Celtic Sea. Please realise that blind typing in Winsome with steep waves is very unpleasant, as a consequence I often loose parts I did type already.

Will be continued.

Harry Heist

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