Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Blogs 2015

Crew member on NED6586 Maverick

Pre-race FB (

) and website blog


), reprinted below.

This year the biennial Fastnet Race, the most famous and storied of all

offshore sail races, celebrates its 90 year and 46th edition. Boats and crew

will be tested over a 603 mile course known for tricky tides and tactics in

the early stages, and reacting to quickly changing weather and seas as they

cross the often wild Irish Sea.

The race starts in Cowes, the ancestrial home and still-beating heart of

yacht racing, on the Isle of Wight on the southern England coast. With

nearly 380 entries, boats will start Sunday morning by class, slowest to

fastest, and many a race has been made or lost in the first hours as the

fleet negotiates tricky tides and shifting winds through the Solent and

along the series of headlands along the coast. After passing the furthest

west tip of England, appropriately (for the English) named Land’s End, the

next mark is the iconic Fastnet Rock, a promontory and lighthouse off the

Irish Coast near Cork. It seems fitting, though perhaps a bit cruel, that in

the middle of this testing race the participants take in the lush green

Irish coast, and can virtually smell the peat and Guinness, but instead of

stopping they round ‘The Rock’ (a classic photo op) and head back to England

and a finish in Portsmouth.

We sailed our first Fastnet in 2011, crowded and distracted with a full crew

on Rebellion, while in 2013 we managed a better result sailing doublehanded

with Christian Jeffery on

So What. This year we will again take Fastnet on doublehanded, on our older

but steady J-120 Maverick with Ken Parsons

. Reflecting the strong growth of

doublehanded sailing, this year 57 of the approximately 370 entries are

doublehanded, up from 45 entries in 2013, while the Dutch boats have nearly

doubled from 5 in 2013 to 9 for this 2015 race.

In every sailing competition there are races-within-the-race, especially

between boats from the same country or of the same type. Five of the nine

Dutch boats are currently in the top 10 of the Dutch doublehanded season

standings, with Xcentric Ripper holding a mortal lock on first place,

Maverick second and Team Firestorm


Five of the Dutch duos raced in Fastnet 2013, with Junique Raymarine Sailing


earning a terrific third place in the doublehanded class and Ripper coming

in eighth. A reflection of the quality and benefits of the IJspegel Trophy

winter series in Scheveningen,

five of the boats took part this winter, with Junique, Maverick and Panther

Sailing Team taking the three

podium positions. Zeiljacht IL Corvo

, Joost

& Vrolijk, and Arethusa Fastnet Race 2015

have all managed top

doublehanded finishes and are also very much in the mix for the Dutch

bragging rights, while Splendide also has the chance for a Splendide


Much of our initial boat preparation and training races has been with an eye

towards Fastnet. Our sail selections from John Parker and OneSails GBR


have proven highly competitive and durable, and we much appreciate our set

of Lancelin lines and running rigging from Rake Rigging bv

. More importantly, our safety

offshore depends on key systems and equipment, from lifevests and liferafts

to horseshoe buoys and radar reflectors, and our Scheveningen neighbor

Vrolijk Watersport has

provided terrific expertise and support for all of our safety needs – in

addition to a friendly cup of coffee and all the other little bits and bobs

needed through the season.

In addition to qualifying races and safety inspections, there are a myriad

of other essential preparations and details involved in a major offshore

race. Since arriving yesterday at our welcome ‘home base’ at East Cowes

Marina we have picked up repaired

sails from the local loft, checked lines and rig, enjoyed a full English

breakfast, had the hull cleaned by the friendly MMC Divers, and started the

early navigation work and routing. While the most fanatical teams share

toothbrushes and eat the lightest and driest and of freeze-dried meals, we

will be enjoying a range of delicious, albeit heavy, vacuum-packed creations

from Chef Ken, as well as Welsh Cakes, Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, and many

other savory and sweet treats from Waitrose’s. That's just how Team Maverick

Doublehanded Sailing rolls.

The race can be followed online from Sunday morning, with real time

positions and standings via onboard tracking systems. Maverick will be shown

in the doublehanded class as well as IRC Class 2, where we are also

competing against fully crewed boats. Additionally, we will compete for the

venerable Martin Illingworth Trophy is for the top three boats from the same

club, and Maverick, Xcentric Ripper, and Panther proudly represent Jachtclub



‘Team Scheveningen’. Please root (or cheer) for all three of us, as well as

our other Dutch doublehanded friends, as we take on the other top

international boats in Fastnet 2015.…/2015-fleet-tracking-race-…