Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Crew Member on Puma Logic

Blog from Ben Kennedy

With visibility at about 300m we were not expecting to see the Fastnet Rock until it was quite close. The fog horn had been audible for some time giving little clue to the proximity of the Rock. The dawn watch had been favoured by fog with the masthead lights casting a halo. Every so often the lights of another yacht would flicker in then out of sight. Checking the AIS regularly for any signs of larger traffic showed our portion of the Irish Sea to be the sole preserve of racing yachts.

It was much larger than I had imagined, and the top of the light obscured by mist until we tacked past. A forelorn and eerie sight that disappeared as quickly as it had emerged. That was 08:31 this morning.

Later this morning we sat for two minutes observing silence and the sea in commemoration of those who lost their lives thirty years ago in the 1979 Fastnet race which started on this day all those years ago. My thanks to Philippe whose words were moving. For us the sea has been benign and magnificent. It is difficult to imagine what a contrast it must be.

We are happy on board and absolutely screaming home on the 0.75 spinnaker. Kite trimming for 200 miles home? Bring it on!!

What a fabulous crew to sail with and what a privilege it is to be here right now and to have been part of a wonderful team throughout the season. The incidents of minor (and major) kindnesses are too many to mention. Thank you to Philippe and to Dave whose coaching and seemingly boundless energy and humour have galvanised us all.

Did I mention the competitiveness? We are here to win. Period.

What else? Just briefly I want to mention a couple of additional dimensions to this trip. Namely raising funds and awareness of the Teenage Cancer Trust who do so much for teenagers and young adults with cancer and leukaemia. Also the Hope Against Cancer Foundation which supports invaluable medical research in Leicestershire and Rutland.

As I sign off my thoughts are with my family in all corners of the world. I hope everyone is well and safe. I certainly am and even better as I am off watch and about to roll into my bunk. Goodnight. Plymouth tomorrow! Ben