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Crew Member on Liara


As the superyachting staffman for Yachting World I was invited aboard Tony Todd's Liara with a view to experiencing a Fastnet in luxury mode. She's a Performance Yachts 100 Bill Dixon all-carbon beauty built by Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand and this is her first really big event.

As I write this, St Albans Head is on our stern and we – well, Sean 'Laptop' Lapworth and tactician Jeff Dakin - are contemplating how to deal with Portland as we're fairly certain we're not going to weather it before the (spring) tide turns at about 2000.

Jeff says the 'smoke' we can see under Portland means there's absolutely no wind there. But that's the favored tack for the new breeze we are expecting from the west later. Tricky one. ICAP Leopard's just tacked – will we follow? We do...

We have Hugo Boss just to weather of use, ICAP Leopard on our bow and Ran, Luna Rossa and Beau Geste are all in the same vicinity. It's a beautifully still evening and the Dorset coast is looking at its best, but the off watch is sprawled in front of me watching Death at a Funeral on the saloon widescreen! Yes, this is Fastnet supersailing style.

Rosie Danby is just about to serve supper for 29 and there's been a constant supply of snacks all day. "You won't go hungry," she assured the crew at the briefing. Eye light up, smiles appear. An army marches on its stomach.

Our start was mixed. We hit the line smack on and in a neat position, but a rapid hoist outside the jib meant the asymmetric sock twisted the snuffer line round itself and we quickly lost out throwing away our good work as the set was delayed. But once we had cleared the melee in the Needles Channel there was a good call to go to seaward and we came back on port with good speed and an excellent angle. We just need to deal with that tidal gate. It's looking iffy.

UPDATE 2100,

We slid past the bill of Portland at around 2030, alongside us was Alex Thompsons Hugo Boss, and just behind was our closest rival on handicap the frerrs maxi Hexe. We are relieved to have got past this potential stopper of a tidal gate, and do not envy those behind us as the tide increases...

Hopefully the next ebb tide combined with more gradient pressure will see us more powered up and making better use of our waterline length.

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