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Wizard looking like a winner

The crew of Wizard at the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race in which they have put in a strong performance to contend for IRC Overall © Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com The crew of Wizard at the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race in which they have put in a strong performance to contend for IRC Overall © Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com

You won’t get co-owners David and Peter Askew to acknowledge it, but all the talk around the Fastnet Race Village is that Wizard is looking like a shoo-in for overall race winner on IRC handicap.

What David Askew will admit with a big grin was that this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race was a lot of fun in a fast boat like a VO70:

“It was kind of an iconic Fastnet Face - a little tough getting out around the Lizard and then reaching up and reaching back, along with a tough front coming through, right as we got to the Rock. So you're reaching up there, and then the front came through with 30 knots of breeze; slam, bang on the wind.”

That was 40 minutes of hard sailing up to the lighthouse, but at least it was only 40 minutes of crashing and banging in the Celtic Sea before they could turn downwind on the fast blast back home:

“Coming back towards the Scillies, 20 knots of VMG sailing downwind in 20 knots of breeze:You couldn’t ask for better conditions for this boat.” David admits that the prognosis is looking good for the overall race win. “You know, there's always a little bit of luck involved in that. After the front came through, the slower boats were then left going upwind to the Rock while we were VMG running in good breeze. So it's tough for them, good for us. But you know, it could have been the other way around, like it has been so many times in the past.”

David knew they were on to a good thing when they managed to keep the bigger boats almost within sight, Rambler 88 up front and the 100ft SHK Scallywag in second:

“Will Oxley, our navigator, he runs his own race. He really doesn’t think too much about the other boats, but he ripped off some brilliant moves early on, which kept us nipping at their heels and they never really got away from us. When you can keep the big boats like that in sight the whole way, you know you're going to do well.”

When pushed harder on the notion that they already look like the runaway race winners of the Fastnet Challenge Cup, however, David Askew’s having none of it:

“I don't really want to know and I never think about it too much. You know, the overall is always great, but it's difficult because you have big boats and little boats and they're sailing in different weather and so you never know what's going to happen. For us it looks like it could have been a big boat race. If you look at the conditions out there now and how the other boats are doing, it's looking good..... but I don't want to jinx it.”

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