As anticipated the weather came in late afternoon and with it the
anticipation of The Rock! The weather built up to a good 18 knots as we are
reaching away from the Isles of Scilly. With the start of the increase in
wind came a series of pods of Dolphins, 4 in as many hours, but only for the
one watch who now consider themselves to be the Dolphin Whisperers. They
were even seen darting in the phosphorescence at the start of the night
shift for that watch, which was a great sight to behold for those who have
never seen it before.
Shortly after midnight brought yet more wind and the call was made to move
down to the J3 from the J2, bareheaded for a short time it was a solid
effort in rough conditions with little visibility, rain pouring and waves
lashing over the deck it was great team work and a sense of achievement for
everyone when it was done. Action packed night watch for some of us and a
soaked foredeck crew, but that comes with the job. To celebrate we all have
Again as the sunrises, comes visibility of the fleet heading to the Fastnet
Rock from various directions, this brings out some competitiveness in the
team eager to round the rock and pass some boats. Winds lighten enough for
a headsail peel, J3 back to J2 a very tough one in the conditions but nicely
done and we quickly start to pass other boats as we speed up. Sergei (our
Russian contingent) usually quiet on the rail shouts and points - "there is
The Rock" pretty soon everyone is on deck ready eagerly to see and be ready
for the rounding.
To the right of us we see the amazing emerald of Ireland which so aptly
deserves that nickname, it looks haunting in the mist and just to the left
of us is Fastnet Rock, what we have been waiting for. We are beating upwind
towards the rock, racing and ready to round. Once we bear away and pass the
rock, we can't miss a few selfie and photo/video moments to capture this
event. Big cheers on the deck from all the crew with the last 24hrs
showing why the Fastnet race is a tough one and great achievement. Then not
much time to digest as we quickly get back to it for the race to Plymouth.
We start a reach back towards the Isle of Scilly and prepare to hoist the
If rocks are to be rounded, if finish lines must be crossed, do it Fast and
do it Furious!!!