Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Blogs 2013

Crew member GBR42N La Reponse

07.30 BST La Reponse. GBR42N.

It has been a good night on the boat! At 8pm we started our watch system to keep the crew fresh which involves 2 watches with 3 hour rotation over night and 4 hour rotation during the day. We settled down to a great dinner of Cottage Pie at approximately 8pm which was rapidly devoured. (Except one that went for a tumble in the oven causing a bit of a mess!!) The dilemmas of cooking whilst healed over have been discovered by some. 

Driving has been shared between the team over night and wind conditions dropped to 8kts and we considered peeling our Jib to Code 1. However we checked the weather and decided to hold out for 15 minutes as we could see that further down the track more wind was recorded. This filled in and has steadily picked up so we are back up to a max of 18kts, and we were quite pleased not to have changed!

We have made quick progress over night and are now south of Plymouth after having made the tidal gates along the coast of the UK. It must be getting close to breakfast time now...we are feeling hungry!

Crew member on RUS1 Monster Project Team Russia

1900 update: We're now 1 hour into our watch system and heading due west into the setting sun. We're doing around 11 knots with 14 knots of true wind speed. Moral seems good and looking forward to the adventure ahead.

The start didn't quite as planned. An attempt at a port tack flyer was quickly stubbed out when we were unable to accelerate the boat quickly enough and got caught by a barrage of starboard tack boats at the squadron end of the line. A restart and a penalty turn later and we were off.

Short tacking out of The Solent as tough for all the crew on the boat. Performing lots of tacks in short spaces of time isn't quite what a Volvo 70 was designed for, requiring a team manning each of the dagger boards, the 2 primary winches, the 3 pedestals, main sheet and 2 runner winches. Also proving interesting is ensuring that our Russian crew members fully understand the manoeuvres were are about to perform and work in time with the rest of the crew / boat.

We were well into the IRC 3 & 2 fleet when approaching the hurst narrows with a couple of close passes with Artemis Open 60 on each tack. We continued a small way south of the needles in order to separate from the fleet, only to create more room around us, never part of the strategy.

A few small tacks up to and round Anvill Point set us up on a nice lay line towards Portland Bill. We are now round and heading towards Start Point. Waiting for the wind to move right (North) before tacking to take advantage of the shift. Approximately 2.5 miles behind Bella Mente, the Gen 3 Volvo 70s have shot off ahead, we can still see Azzam on AIS on seem to be doing an OK boat speed against them.

Current ETA at lands end around 0600 tomorrow

We're also updating our Facebook page with onboard photos as

Monster Project Team Russia

Crew member on GBR8287 Persephone of London

Persephone of London - Double handed Fastnet 2013 Day 1 20.42 BST

A day of ups and downs... our day got off to a questionable start with a few engine problems, so as we motored through the identity gate there was a question in our minds as to whether we'd be able to fight the east-going tide to make the start! Not to mention the potential embarrassment of being able to drift back past the identity gate and hand our retirement in before 11am...!

In the event we were all fine and we found ourselves a reasonably nice gap on the northern end of the line ... tacking and crossing all the other sigmas except With Alacrity...

We made a bold call to split from the fleet and head North - thinking that the tide would be turning but really we were a bit keen and jumped over there a bit early - significant losses! Oops.

Leaving the solent, we began to be a bit over-pressed (but not particularly slow)- but elected to peel to a smaller jib. That was a wet few minutes! Winds of up to 20kts have now reduced, so we are back on our super light genoa, on starboard sailing away from Portland bill, within 3 or 4 miles of our one design leaders and ready to pounce overnight as the pressure drops!

It has been a long day with a few lessons - teaching us things that we already know... such as:

- I get grumpy when I'm hungry

- Leave the hatch open and water will probably go in it

- Similarly if you don't wear waterproof clothing, then you won't be waterproof.

- Dad is good at fixing engines

Boil in bag chicken casserole all consumed - time for some rest. And some overtaking.


Crew member on OMA07 Oman Air - Musandam

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Banging the shore is the sailing term , and for an hour after the start of the Fastnet, the multihulls lead the fleet out of the western solent against an adverse current, short tacking in the shallows of the lymington shore much to the delight of the spectators, but a bit stressful for the navigators calling the tacks as the depth sounders indicate the minimum depth for each boats draft

Hurst castle signaled the exit and leaving a collection of moored spectator boats behind, Spindrift and ourselves on OMANAIR MOD70 finally streched our legs and let loose in perfect conditions, the Needles white a gleaming in the midday sun,Christchurch bay, Anvil head head with its ancient fossil ridden rocky headlands, and with 5knts of current now with us at Portland bill, in flat water and a perfect 18knts of breeze we are flying 2 of our 3 hulls along the south coast, England has reserved its best for us today.

Ahead Start pt, the Lizard and the West , and its feels good to be starting another race , adventure with this team.

Crew member on GBR521R Toe in the Water

The shortest Fastnet i have ever done...

We had been as prepared as we could be. The start was a great start for us with lots of pace crossing the line, a small incident with a Volvo 70 saw him completing penalty turns. Then we were swept up Cowes Rhodes with the tide, although a dwarf in comparison we were competing with the top boats in the class.

A stunning upwind beat saw being posted as 2nd in Class on the tracker with the guys all looking nervous with their heads out of the boat hiking hard for that extra 5% of boat speed to reel in our rivals. The race was on, finally they were given the opportunity to show everyone what they were worthy of, legs or no legs!

It was due North of the needles where disaster struck. The port primary winch pulled itself from the boat taking with it the internal fixings for the grinders for the winches. There was a quick evaluation of the situation as the headsail was lowered by the crew in a smart military like fashion but then reality struck. The damage was so great that there was no way that we could carry on.

The winch left a gaping hole not only in the hull but in the stomachs of the boys who had achieved so much through the adversity of rehabilitation post-conflict / injury and qualifying through the RORC races that they could even consider being on the start line of such a prestigious race only for that chance to be taken away so easily. As one of the boys said whilst removing his prosthetic limb on the trip back "lets face it you've only got to look at us and you can see were not the luckiest guys in the world!"

I beg to differ. I have had a great time with these injured servicemen through the qualifying races and the preparation period and, except for the pirate jokes, I have to say I was very lucky to share their journey. We will see you again in 2 years on the start line of the Fastnet 2015!

Lloyd hamilton, Skipper

Toe in the Water - Team Endeavour

Sent from my iPad

Capt Lloyd I Hamilton MBE


TOE IN THE WATER - Competitive Sailing for Injured Servicemen

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