Crew member on GBR8338 With Alacrity
Well ... it' been an eventful first 24 hours. Currently bobbing off the Lizard in 7knts enjoying wees and tees on the horizontal rather than our more recent balancing elephant on wet ice at 30 degree effect ... the heads are almost a pleasant place to be!
It's been 4 years since my last Fastnet. Some things don't change ...
the rock is still there - it's still 600+ miles (but still despite being nav'd up like NASA no-one can give me an exact mileage!)
the start was the usual bunfight of chaos - but for once we stuck with 'conservative and midline' and got clear air and away
we still haven't been able to trade Skippy for teabags / chocolate / a new one but have several days to continue our quest
The varnish is still shiny ... and extra more so when wet
However, new for this year, WA now has
heating (plus a bonus cure for even hardened insomniacs if you let him explain it's installation and features)
A James - every boat should have one ... it makes tea (lots of tea!), fixes cookers, provides full bunk concierge service, does headsail changes in its pyjamas - can highly recommend the 7.6 version for boats (or for any potential row ashore girlfriend looking for a mate!)
In true Fastnet fashion the first few legs have been 'robust'. A friendly 15-21knots of breeze have kept us on our toes and at a jaunty angle. We chose the mid-channel tidal rollercoaster out of the Solent with time to brush the shore of Hurst Narrows to wave at the assembled throng of spectators. With the rest of the fleet we opted for 'out' rather than 'in' across Poole bay. We rolled the dice at Portland and while the rest of the fleet headed offshore (presumably) in anticipation of the southerly wind shift, we inspected the coves, beaches and rock formations in flat water conditions at the end of the Bill. Our only obstacle were 2 fast fleet boats hindering our final tack in out of the overfalls and we ended up slogging the tide for a short while before being spat out to continue our passage across towards Start Point. Lyme Bay was a dream - fat and fast, nailing the lay-line but having the rocks or tide debate at the headland.
The last few hours have been a tad frustrating. Wind has been up and down and down and up. The Lizard is within tantalising range but we are bobbing in 5kts of puff awaiting a change in the breeze.
WART morale is good. Minor hiccough at the start when we realised we were missing the essential lunchtime dill ... things hit an all thyme middle-class low but spirits have since been roused with homemade ginger cake. The fridge is on the wonk and we have had to dispense with the services of the ice-creams but we are carrying plenty to ward off scurvy! If we get really desperate there are enough artificial colours and preservatives in the shed load of pot-noodles and vile cake of angelness we are carrying as emergency spares ... let's hope we don't reach that threshold.
The dolphins have just arrived (only slightly later than booked) and are currently mating the rudder! Skippy is making alarming bonding noises but we hope this will pass or 2IC will step in and we will have to confine him to the lazarette.
Crew for 2017 comprises:
Skippy - much loved and abused by all
Ness - much loved and incredibly tolerant of us all ... especially Skippy, his many random questions and his wet pants!
Adrian - 2IC extraordinaire (and definitely not a courgette)
5 hats Barney - much loved but tired after Cowes Week
Lord Luddington - our esteemed photographer and video genius
James - awesomeness in human form (see above)
Pants - me!
We are additionally carrying a stowaway ... we bought our own rock with us just in case we didn't make it to the original ... Welcome on board Fast Netty ... hope you enjoy your adventure (although if Skippy gets hold of you ... your days may be numbered!)