The Rolex Fastnet highlights video that was shown at the prizegiving has now been posted… and Winston Logic (GBR2806L) features (briefly) at 5:08 just before we nearly hit rounded the Fastnet rock at sunrise on the Wednesday morning… you can almost see who was helming at the time 😉
Well, I managed to post some pictures shortly after the race start, but due to limited phone signal, no phone battery charge and camera malfunctions, I was unable to post much more from the water.
The race start lived up to expectations – lots of boats wanting the same water – but was actually less stressful than the Sydney Hobart race start back in 2015 where there were probably fewer boats but much more confined water and closer spectator boats. The IRC2 race start is shown in the video below – Winston Logic (GBR2806L) is the port tack boat entering from left of screen at 5:46 and crossing all the starboard tack boats, squeezing through 😉
We managed to get outside of the Needles before the ‘big boats’ started to overtake us, first Rambler 88 (we were definitely pointing higher than them), soon to be followed by the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. We got a really close view of all of them… briefly… before they disappeared over the horizon.
The next three days were an upwind beat to the Fastnet Rock. Learning to live life at an angle takes a bit of adjusting to, and on a 40 foot boat there are less hand holds and places to wedge yourself than on a Clipper 70 boat! The washing up still needs to be done too, and with no salt water pump on the boat, there is only one way to carry out the task…
On every watch, we were accompanied by dolphins, and the sunsets and sunrises were worth the lack of sleep.
On Wednesday morning, almost 3 days after leaving Cowes, we spotted the Fastnet Rock.
Someone had told me that if I couldn’t touch the rock when rounding the Fastnet then I was too far away… well, I was helming the boat around the rock… and we very nearly did touch it as the wind died at the worst possible moment and the waves started pushing us closer and closer to the rock (I’m waiting for the video taken by the media helicopter to be posted…)
Once we finally managed to extricate ourselves from the rock, it was a downwind drag race all the way back to Plymouth. The wind was pretty light at times, which made it harder to keep the boat moving and catch any of the boats ahead.
As we approached Plymouth, we were treated to an amazing fireworks display as the British Fireworks Championship was timed to coincide with our arrival…
We finished in an elapsed time of 4 days, 10 hours, 52 minutes and 25 seconds, coming 30th in our class (out of 64 starters).
Thanks to all the crew on board Winston Logic for a fabulous race, and for all the support provided by Sailing Logic, including the beers and Dark and Stormy’s on arrival in Plymouth!
One of our crew, Oscar Watts, put together a video of our race – he even managed to capture some of the many dolphins that escorted us on our journey.
A note for my family before I get the usual comments – sitting on the low side and ‘being heavy’ is a legitimate sailing job… just saying… 😉
The RORC Fastnet 2017 starts tomorrow morning – I’ll be racing on a First 40 called Winston Logic with a number of my crew mates fomr Derry~Londonderry~Doire (Clipper Round the World 15-16).
With nearly 400 boats entered, it will be one of the biggest offshore races in history, and we will be racing alongside the Volvo Ocean Race Fleet. To be fair, I think we will glimpse them at the start of the race, and then our next sighting will be at the race finish in Plymouth 😉
Yellowbrick racing will be tracking the race; you can use the site on the RORC website (If you are using an iPhone or an iPad, you’ll need to download the free Yellowbrick app and add the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017).