Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Blogs 2009

Crew member of GBR3205L Star Chaser

Having it all!

Star Chase has just passed Start Point in a good breeze and slightly slumpy conditions. It's overcast and nothing of the nice sunshine from yesterday remains. But we have wind which is more than we could say yesterday!

And let's face it, we'll take wind and wet any time over no wind and sunshine! Except maybe when we're on anchor in the Caribbean...

It's been a good first 2 days. We went for a kite start straight away and managed to keep some good speed up in the middle of the Solent, gybing our way towards the Needles. Although we could see some boats ahead of us getting in to a great windhole, we couldn't avoid it and sailed into it…but luckily enough not for long.

When we got out of it, the wind had changed and we had changed to our big No2 headsail. Tacking passed Hurst Castle and out of the Needles, we still had some wind.

It wasn't meant to last though…we opted for the finding wind strategy and did quite well at first. The risk was getting into water too deep to anchor…we did keep a good breeze for a while, but in the evening things died down a bit, with no option to anchor...

Our strategy paid off though as the wind filled in nicely and we were now well positioned. Still having a good breeze, 22 -25 knots apparent and steaming along under the No3 and one reef in the main. Gained another 6 places overall, so we're happy!

The grib files are predicting lighter winds again in the next couple of hours, so we have to make the most of it while it lasts!

The crew is all doing well and very motivated, keeping out there on the rail, even when not on watch, to give us those crucial extra few degrees pointing. We're getting a bit wet, but with curry and shepherd's pie on the menu, we should be allright!

More later!


Crew member of GBR7236R Ran

We are out into the Irish Sea and beating in 20 knots towards the Fastnet Rock. At last it has stopped raining and we are enjoying some broken sunshine as we bang and crash upwind in a decent seaway.

Just had the first proper sleep since the start and although only a couple of hours long it's amazing how well it recharges the batteries.

Boats like Ran make these 600 mile races feel like a sprint and the various headlands and turning marks seem to get reeled off very quickly even upwind.

It looks likely we will round the 'Rock' in the hours of darkness tonight. Most of us have rounded it many times in our careers but we have a few for whom it will be a first.

We are hanging on to a small lead in the overall standings at present but it doesn't mean too much at this stage. Plenty more golf left in this hole!

Crew Member on Lutine

After a very painful night floating, kedging, then just attempting to stem the tide, and passing anchored vessels (one several times, but by the time he picked the pick up, we were over a mile away!), we're now trucking along.

We have a constant force 4 and occasional gusts of 5. slightly lively, but nothing that Lutine can't handle. We have been overtaking boats and managing to sail an awful lot higher than some (especially the RAF Nick 55), which means that we're now in a good position.

Bacon sarnies for breakfast meant that the crew are now happy bunnies (we've buttties every other day, and Grasshopper porridge the others - already have 3 new converts!!!) A fantastic chicken dinner last night and I think we have sausage casserole tonight - in true Lutine style, we're eating well...but no booze!

Earlier, we overtook Mint Julep, a J122 who was unable to point anywhere near as high as us, they lost it and had to bear away right in front of us!h

However, I do feel for the Port watch, as I think they're going slightly mad. Cameras seem to be the latest 'how to keep ourselves amused' toy.....I would send them, but think that we may scare a lot of people!

All looking good for the next watch - tides turning to take us around the point, then head toward Lizard.