Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Blogs 2011

Crew member on GBR30 Initiatives - Alex Oliver

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here is a photo of initiatives - alex olivier class 40 crew rounding the rock this morning

all good onboard it was an manly night last night wet reaching conditions but fast so all happy to arrive at the rock a few hundred meters behind michel on 107 and further ahead of the other guys...

now under big spinaker it's good to dry up the boat and the bodies!

see you in plymouth

Tanguy and the crew

Crew member on NZL76 BSL

An interesting but fun 24 hours on BSL, with a pretty wild and wet ride across the Irish Channel. Very fast, but also very wet. We got away from Lands End without incident, bashing and crashing through the overfalls, then the SW set in and a wet wild and bumpy night resulted in a few bruises, little sleep and a bit of a mess downstairs. We passed very close by two of our competitors and were pleased to see that we had matching sail configurations. We made a mistake after dark and lost a lot of miles to them both and we all met up at Fastnet Rock just after sunrise. So, we know she has potential.

Life on board has improved significantly since bearing away at Fastnet Rock and hoisting the A2 (again another great test opportunity as rounded within lengths of two other Class 40s). The sun came out, a few gybes, Fish Pie for breakfast (first meal for over 12 hours), a good cleanup of the interior, drying out some soggy thermals and a quick cleanup with some wetwipes.

Some fantastic 'champagne sailing' 20 kts flat off with the monster A2 up, dolphins for company and some very good plunger coffee and digestives. Also, unbelieveably, it is hot and sunny.

Some interesting action coming up for tonight, as we are in reasonably close company with first and second place, and the breeze is going to lighten and head us (hopefully!) down to Bishop Rock. We are converging on the guys in front, so have our sleeves rolled up and are working on a strategy to reel them in, lets see how that pans out over the next 18 hours.

Crew member on GBR4778R EH01

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Some titbits from onboard EHO1 - Global Yacht Racing.

We have had the mainsail down to effect a repair to a torn batten pocket

before the wind got up on the second night up and we managed it just before

the first shower of the race hit us - lucky! Repair looks good and we think

it will hold so long as we don't flog the main.

Moral is good, crew are still in the tired stage although getting over that

now and working hard now on trim and boat speed. The Russians onboard have

broken out the dates but so far no more dried fish or raw bacon....

Skipper had a small sense of humour failure this morning after throwing a

bowl of muesli around the saloon...twice!

Busy night in the Celtic sea, 28+kts winds, down to the No 3 with 2 reefs

and punching some biggish waves. Pretty wet all round but crew OK. Slight

water issue as we have blown a tank so down to emergency rations, got

quarter litre per day each assuming 48 hours to finish....just checking the

weather to see if its gonna get hot! After that its UHT milk half a bottle

of cola and the oranges, thankfully we can get some rehydration from the

food and since we are not using freeze dried we don't need water to cook.

Looking forward to a cold beer ummmmmmm. Probably give the Russian dried

fish and salted ham a miss from here on in.

Crew member on NZL76 BSL

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First 24 hours of racing on BSL...So far so good!

The father and son duo of Ross and Campbell Field are currently competing in their first competitive race on their Class 40, BSL, in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Read the latest update from the duo here, in Campbells latest blog.

Sunday was a pretty eventful day for the team on BSL, and to be honest a bit strange for Ross and I to have a few extra bodies on board to consider!

The Rolex Fastnet started reasonably well for us at 11:20 off Cowes, a conservative start that turned into a very busy few hours short tacking up the Solent. Great fun and very interesting to already start comparing our speed and potential against the top boats in a fantastic Class 40 fleet. Once we exited the Solent we managed to settle into a steady pace and already some big decisions needed to be made; north or south, stick with the fleet or go our own way? We settled for a mix of the two, staying to the right and in contact with the majority of the fleet as we tacked our way out past Swanage to Portland Bill. A bit of a split in the fleet at the entrance of Lyme Bay left us wondering a bit how we were going against the fleet as the majority chose a lower road to the south over night. At daybreak, SW of the Lizard we still found ourselves in good company and learnt a great deal as we appeared to at some stages have the doors being blown off of us, but after a bit of reconfiguring, we were back in the game...a constant learning process.

The boat is proving to be everything we hoped it would be after the refit and a few minor modifications. The new inventory from Norths are a vast improvement, and the wetsanding session last Friday is paying dividends.

At 10:45 today (15th August) we find ourselves 3rd behind the two new Farr boats, and barely ahead of Tauguy who probably has the most miles of anyone in these boats. We have quite a few boats in sight, we are measuring every change in trim and speed against them and we are hanging in there.

Bruce, Magnus and James are doing well and seem to be enjoying themselves however seemed to be a bit surprised to be served nasi goreng for breakfast this morning...

Anyway, we are ghosting along in 8 knots with the zero up trying to lay Runnel Stone Light, better get back to it. We have almost finished the preparation for the blast we are expecting later today, conditions this beast is built for.

Team BSL out.

Crew member on USA65002 Vanquish

What a day it has been for the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team. I'll be the first to admit I'm having a really hard time working down below on the "Vanquish." The dark, wet, violent, and loud conditions are making it tough to think and even tougher to type. Editing photos and video is even worse, triggering more than a few nauseous symptoms. We're currently nearing the Pantaenius Buoy having just rounded Fastnet Rock and it, fortunately, means we are now on our way home.

This day started in extremely light winds, 5-7 knots, and demanded some difficult tactical decisions as we navigated the final coastal obligations, decision that we unfortunately fell on the wrong side of. At one point we were as low as 240th on the overall standings. Through hard work, determination, and perhaps most of all-responsibility-we are now sitting 3rd in class and 8th overall.

This race has not been without its drama. Two early retirees from racing in our class were the 80' Beau Geste and the 68' Alegre, both citing non-specific structural damage from the rough weather. At the time we were seeing 22-30 knots of wind in a building 5-10 foot sea. Then came the 100' Rambler. At first we heard it was MOB (man overboard), then it was confirmed she had capsized. The Rambler guys are good friends to all of us here at the Oakcliff AAOT and there was a somber hour or so on deck while we waited for more information. All 21 crew were rescued, some by boat, others by helicopter, and everyone is safe. It's a sobering reminder that no matter how well prepared the boat and the crew might be, an angry ocean is a powerful force.

We've now got the bow pointed south, back to Land's End, and we should be at Lizard Point where we turn towards Plymouth in about 12 hours time. The forecast is for both sea and wind to diminish in that time as the front that brought this weather pushes on to the east.

Here's to an easier night!