Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Fastnet Veteran Makes it 27!

Fastnet Veteran Ken Newman. Photo: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiFew competitors taking part in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race will have as much experience as Ken Newman. He will be competing in his 27th Fastnet Race with the Swan 46, Marinero. He explains why he keeps coming back for more!

"Looking back over the years and having competed in innumerable long distance ocean races, for me the Fastnet is the best event in the racing calendar. It's like four or five races put together, each one requiring difficult tactical decisions to be made. The crucial components are a well-found boat, a competent crew, safety and sea-room. The ability to get along with others is key to a successful race. I mostly sleep at the nav. station and remember being woken up at change of watch by the laughter going on between the crew, great guffaws of laughter and I thought well, this is what it's all about, that's the sort of camaraderie that I've been privileged to know. I'm a very, very lucky man...if you want to learn about someone, take them sailing," says Newman.

Newman, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, has competed since 1957, racing in every Fastnet, bar one. In 2009 as an octogenarian, was presented for the third time with the Denis Doyle Memorial Salver by the RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine for the skipper who has taken part in the greatest number of Fastnets.

He is also very proud to have his name on another of the special awards - the Ken Newman Endurance Salver which is awarded to the yacht with the longest elapsed time, in commemoration of Ken's first, and in his view, toughest Fastnet, in even rougher seas than the infamous 1979 Fastnet.

Over the years, he has sailed in 19 different boats, navigated in two Admiral Cup's teams, Japan, Flirt of Paget (1983), USA, Blue Yankee, (1987) and crewed twice for Britain in Prospect of Whitby (1971) and Quailo III (1973). In a rather gentle 1975 Fastnet, he was part of the crew on Edward Heath's Morning Cloud.

Ken is great inspiration to all landlubbers as he only began sailing at the age of 27. A specialist consultant in cement and concrete, as a young man he was mad keen on rugby, playing full back from Rosslyn Park. In the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, Ken will compete with his yacht Marinero, a Swan 46 racing in IRC 3.