Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Blogs 2009

Crew Member on Mardy Gras









Start: 12:40 09/08/09

  • Start – clear air, stayed Island side for best tide. Blew Spinnaker – repaired onboard
  • Went through Hurst, taking early advantage beating after 180 degree wind shift
  • Early advantage underlined with a bold early move from Needles Channel across Dolphin Banks
  • Continued driving forward for tidal gate at Portland Bill, wind dropped off dramatically, kedged off Shambles and ended up missing tidal gate.
  • Dropped from 1st in class and 12th overall, moving down fleet to 31st in class
  • Mounts Bay – attempted tactical manoeuvre to regain lost advantage but wind suddenly dropped off negating any potential gains
  • Rounded Lands End heading across to Scilly Isles chasing fleet
  • Tactical decision taken to head due 270 degrees to gain big lift from forecasted Westerlies which would have taken Mardy Gras on a lifting port tack all the way across to Fastnet Rock in an attempt to regain lost advantage over fleet
  • 02:00 11/08/09 – luff of blade ripped apart meaning that storm trysail would be required if #2 became overpowered.
  • 04:00 11/08/09 going well – MIGHTY BANG! – Lost section of rod rigging over port side ripping a baton out of the mainsail in the process
  • Quickly switched to starboard tack to save rig, continued racing until daybreak
  • At first light Mardy Gras was hove to and the crew brought out the lethal weapon, Jim Hepburn, 16 stone of prime Monmouthsire Beef – winched up the mast in a tough swell in the Celtic Sea to erect a jury rig
  • After 4 hrs of running repairs Mardy Gras regained course for Fastnet Rock.
  • At 07:30 13/08/09 Mardy Gras rounded Fastnet Rock, the elation of milestone completed was swiftly dampened by the news that the course of 125 degrees meant a continuation of the 4-day beat thus far endured
  • Tactical decision to stay West to pick up forecasted Westerlies was this time vindicated. After a lengthy spell in light airs, the wind filled and we enjoyed a fun reach (rather than beating) to the Bishop
  • 5 miles due West of Scilly Isles – electrical and navigational instrument failure. Endeavoured to start engine, no luck.
  • Decision taken to split crew, 3 to continue racing and 3 to resolve mechanical and electrical issues.
  • Solution: tried cranking engine with hand pull cord but more torque required so no joy. Moved onto creating a mechanical inertia starter motor – this was it make or break time!
  • A spare lightweight sheet was wound round a makeshift extension to the engine’s crankshaft. This was led up out of the companionway through a block stropped to the boom and then aft to another on the backstay. A line of three buckets were tied on to the free end and thrown over the transom, pulling the sheet through the pulleys and generating the required torque to spin the engine back into life. Engine on, systems on. race on.
  • Engine back on electrical systems up and running and the good girl Mardy Gras is still racing with a buoyant crew…

Crew member on GBR2899 Freebird

Still 130 nm short of Bishops. Regret will not be at the party to night.Congratulations to the winners, all competitors and RORC. Have a greatparty tonight. Regards Freebird

Puma Logic finishes Rolex Fastnet Race

Fantastic news from Plymouth. Puma Logic has completed the Rolex Fastnet Race, after a very slow and tortuous last few miles with little wind and a turning tide.

They crossed the line at 1.30 am this morning, with Philippe's Mum and Dad in their own yacht guiding them back to port, after finishing.

A very tired but jubilant crew were met by friends and family on the dock side and their first words were - where's the beer tent?!!

Puma Logic came a very creditable 10th in IRC Class1 overall and second in Division 1A, which is marvellous. The only yacht to be ahead of them in this division was Quokka, a Corby 36.

Meanwhile, still out on the race track, Playing Around Logic have the finish in their sights but have no wind, in fact, absolutely nothing. It is a glass-like sea at the moment, without a ripple to be seen anywhere. However, there is wind coming from the South-west which means that all the yacht still racing someway behind them have now got breeze and are scooting along. Peter and his crew have only 6 miles to go, so hopefully they can ghost across the line in the next couple of hours nefore the rest of the fleet start to catch them up. Everyone is willing them on down here in Plymouth and the Puma crwe have already gone and got the beers in - I am sure they can probably smell it!

Jaguar Logic has had another very slow night due to the lack of wind, but they now have breeze and are moving again. They are coming up to the Lizard and are moving at nearly 7 knots which is great. It will certainly put a smile on the cres faces this morning. They have moved up to 26th place and have wuite a few yachts around them which is good for getting maximum boat speed!

The latest eta we have for Jaguar at present is 3pm this afternoon.

Crew Member on Incisor of Wight

Two years of careful planning paid off as we sailed over the start line in the good boat Incisor of Wight with spinnaker billowing in front of us. Nature still has a habit of throwing a few googlies in your direction as the eagerly anticipated winds disappeared in a patch of windless Solent water. Still, it gives Gerard the opportunity to display the “Deliver Quality Data” banner and give the crew a riveting insight into the many benefits of designing quality into their Business Intelligence Solutions.

The fleet headed south leaving us behind and it seemed to take forever to reach Portland bill. Still the crew are in good spirits, finally the breeze kicks in and away we go.

We cleared Lands End early Tue and the Celtic Sea threw in its usual veering westerly’s giving us all a hard night on watch with the occasional wave sweeping the deck. Boot rustlers struck in the dark of night culminating in that seasoned sea dog Crampsie attempting to push his size 10s into Eileen’s petite boots.

The crew’s spirit never wavered. We know that pain is temporary, it may last a minute, an hour, a day, a month even a year however it is eventually replaced by something else. If we quit it lasts for ever.

A pod of 15 dolphins played around our bow as we passed the Seven Heads gas fields, and they guided us toward the Old Head of Kinsale, with the green fields of Cork being illuminated by a ray off sunshine. Our recently press ganged veterans, able seamen Long and McAleavy, provided invaluable local knowledge on Baltimore, Sherkin and Cape Clear.

In the 1600s, Moroccan pirates captured the population of Baltimore and sold them into slavery accounting for sightings of red haired locals in North Africa.

Our naked chef McAleavy, whose baggage was lost by Aer Lingus who subsequently redeemed themselves by couriering the bag to Cowes just in time for the start, whipped up a Spanish Omelette to sustain the crew. This was fitting as the Spanish fought at the battle of Kinsale in preparation for invading England. O’Neil brought reinforcements from the north - much as our present day crew brought in bos’n Nugent whose mum’s name is O’Neil.

We past the Stag rock to starboard where the Kowloon Bridge sank in the early 80s and was subsequently sold for scrap for a £1. This was a sister ship to the Derbyshire which later broke up in the South China Seas.

We rounded the Fastnet which emerged from the Celtic mists, acknowledging the sailors who have raced past this point in the past then toasted our efforts with champagne.

Our local crew provided an update on the sinking of the Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale.

Further up the coast, on Valencia Island, slates are again being quarried for the roof of the houses of parliament, hopefully being paid for this time!

Our navigator Landi, brought us directly to the Fastnet to the sound of the fog-horn. Skipper “Cap’n Jack” Sutton went weak at the knees at the prospect of rescuing a damsel in distress. Chief project manager Burnie brought out the Heron Corp luminescent jackets in a belated attempt to appease GMR back on the Marylebone Road. GMR has a tower to build and poncing around on the Celtic Sea is not high on his priorities.

Our Belgian Pierre “Jean Claude van Damme” begins to dream of the lassies awaiting him with a very, very warm welcome back in Plymouth. Rob, “the mariner” beat the previous all time decibel record with his nightime symphonies whilst keeping us regaled with an endless stream of entertaining stories during the day.

We are still trying to get to the bottom of his acquaintance with Ms C Gull and stories of “gunnell bum”.

Eileen is keeping up with the never ending task of keeping the cockpit tidy and keeping our spinnaker halyards running nice and free.

First mate O’Connell keeps the crew on their toes and is only mildly disappointed that his hard won record of 9.5 knots is eventually overtaken by “Pugwash” Crampsie on 10 followed by Damians 11. The crew persuade Damian that it is traditional for the record holder to buy-the-beers in a similar fashion to making a hole-in-one. Hopefully his trusting nature will last as long as the first pub in Plymouth.

A good wind angle has us making good time back down the Celtic Sea on our way back down to Bishops Rock.

Mary’s food has sustained us over many weekends and the Madeira cake goes down very well. There is some more sailing to be done before the crew will taste the finest fish, chips and mushy peas that Plymouth has too offer,

Crew’s spirits are soaring, dreaming of loved ones, a nice pint, not having to listen to crews snoring and wind breaking or listen to the herd of elephants that have lived on the coach roof.

Nothing can stop us now, were on our way home.

Funny thing isn’t it! No matter how much planning, how many sleepless nights go into the perfect campaign, how many bottles of wine were drunk while compiling the perfect passage plan, mother nature calls. Well, to be more exact, nature calls! No matter how hard you try you just cant prevent someone putting way too much toilet paper down the heads – just as well we have the builder’s contingent on board to sort it out.

More later ….

Prisilla, Queen of the Disco on Whisper

Blog 7

The Royal Western Yacht Club – Tonite – Be there or Be square

Following the unpleasantness over the Transbonder machine I thought it best to lie low. I am whispering to you from a little burrow I’ve made in the depths of a skip in the front of the camper boat. I know the tools have been searching for me but I’ve kept really, really quiet. Luckily I am wearing my butt exercising shoes so my time is not completely wasted. I presume they still work sitting down?

The floor is level again now that we’ve arrived. At least they didn’t shoot at us here, but two nice men came up in a little rubber boat, thumped against the wall of where I am hiding and flung a case of beer at the tools. I hope it hit that Rusty, my ex-boyfriend.

I have a little peep hole here so I was able to see the fabulous heart stoppingly gorgeous official man from the RORC who welcomed the tools on the boardwalk. They, of course, looked even glummer than usual. Maybe they’ve already missed the Slam Fastnet T-shirt vouchers and the beer coupons that I found yesterday!!!

The English Riviera! Omigod I am soooo excited. The Royal Western Yacht Club, indoor bathrooms, drinks with umbrellas and probably the royal family. Does the younger one go camper boating, I wonder? Floppy says ‘yaaah’ exactly the same way so may be they were at school together and he could introduce me? Princess Prisilla, Omigod I don’t even want to think about it.

Noooooooow I’ll just finish filling in this membership application form for the RORC and post it, put my Moonwalk trainers, white socks, fake tats and hit the fabulous disco bar with all these beer coupons.

I must listen to my heart and so, unless Hugo Boss want me to help them navigate their camper boat, I shall follow my dream. Love does not come cheap, but luckily Daddy is still a director of the World bank. My travels are only beginning……………I’m just going to luff up and blog off!

Au revoir,

Prisilla, Queen of the Disco

P.S Prisilla Lomasney (Miss) unreservedly apologises to any living person she has offended through her diary entries (you know who you are).