Racing Reports

Fastnet 2021–Why we won’t enter

Pic of previous Wild Spirit Fastnet team leaving Solent.

We have had lots of good Fastnet teams, only one didn’t work out well, it is a race that is on many peoples ‘Bucket List’ and for a company providing ‘Pay to Play’ sailing it is a significant income.

For 2021 the Fastnet is due to finish at Cherbourg. This decision, taken by the managemnt at the Royal Ocean Racing Club, came as a suprise to me plus many other members, and I am one of the Rebels who called for an EGM and management review.

Whilst there is an arguement that finishing a course next to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the World at Springs, with up to 6 knots tide, is not very clever, plus another that the Fastnet finishing at Plymouth is part of the heritage of racing and should not be lightly altered, I am a rebel for a different reason.

Yacht racing takes money, it is seen by many people as a sport for the well off. I have never inherited any money and in my early years I lived in a Council House. Initially I worked as an EHO in inner City Sheffield but a combination of hard work and good luck saw me able to retire at 50, pay off the Mortgage and buy a Yacht.

Only through the investigative work of Profesor Motson, leader of the ‘RORC Rebels’, did I come to understand that the move to Cherbourg involves something I have no wish to be associated with. The RORC asks the Hosting Port for money to finish there. I know how much Plymouth paid but will keep it secret. I guess Cherbourg is paying more.

Go to either Plymouth or Cherbourg and you will soon be able to find people who need help with housing or health issues. My company runs on a ‘Not for Profit’ basis and I take no wages. Since we started in 2004 we have supported at least one Charity every year and, for the last 5 ‘Knoticat’, sailing for the disabled/ terminally ill based at Poole.

Whether Plymouth or Cherbourg, I want no part in diverting resouces for the Homeless and Sick to subsidise my yacht racing so we will not be entering the RORC Fastnet 2021.

Cruising Reports

3 Peaks Yacht Race and Sailing Scotland

Pic of us on our way to winning 3 PYR in 2018 when we took the Daily Telegraph Cup by just 3 minutes. As well as our Milebuilder sailing around Scotland 2020 will see us competing in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. The finish is at Corpach at the end of the Caledonian Canal so we will re-start our Mile building sailing from there with a trip through the Caledonian Canal then up to Kirkwall in the Orkneys. After the Orkneys we sail North to Fair Ilse and Shetland with sveral Qualifying passages for YachtMaster.

Racing Reports

Windy final race

The last JOG race wekend of the year saw a team on Wild Spirit that included several newcomers and racing novices. There were 10 entrants in our class on the first day and we finished 5th on a shortened course plus over 40 knots across the deck on occaisions All racing was cancelled on day 2 due to Gale warnings.

Racing Reports

Fastnet retirement

A 4mm hole was the main issue.

The tape on the Furler broke in 30kts off the Lizard so we went from 2 reefs in the Genoa to none in 2 seconds and had to pull down the Genoa then put up the HW Jib. The furler had been damaged at the start and we had repaired it, but it was slightly distorted and the tape had found a sharp edge. bringing up the HW Jib we found the forward sail locker had a lot of water in, as had the second sail locker plus small locker and cupboard.

The wind was forecast to get slightly stronger than the 30 Kts we had before decreasing, plus we had some wind against tide to come. After not initially finding where it was coming in (which meant we couldn’t assess whether it might get worse) it was obvious that further investigation to find the leak in the front end in those conditions was going to be hazardous.

The HW jib was slightly on the large size for the conditions plus the team hadn’t practiced MOB with having to pull down a sail. In big seas not enough sail is as dangerous as too much but we are also rated on only a single furling headsail so using the HW jib would mean retirement, though this could have been after finishing.

We turned into Falmouth and considered temporary shelter and returning to race but rejected the idea. One other factor I took into consideration was that we had trained for MOB with a furling headsail not with having to pull down a genoa.

Our initial attempts to find the leak involved plugging the Anchor locker scuppers then filling the locker with water and we found a small leak on a switch.

After sleeping on it we sailed to Fowey but water was still coming in and it wasn’t from the switch. The run from Fowey to Plymouth saw mainly our heroic Volunteer Tim, and to a lesser exent me, upside down in the forward locker plus hanging over the side. Eventually the cause became clear, a screw was missing from a scupper cover, the hole had been drilled all the way through the Hull so, when it went under the water in came the green stuff. We hadn’t been able to find it as it was in a gap of about 10mm between the Hull and the Anchor locker so very hard to see or get at from the inside.

Of our class of 54 starters 32 finished and partcicluar congratulations to Nimrod with 5 former Wild Spirits on board plus Kindred Spirit with 2.

Looks like I will have to keep Wild Spirit untill at least 2021 then I might retire properly.

My thanks to a great team on Wild Spirit truly a Unique blend of Age, Experience and Immaturity.

Cruising Reports


Here we are finishing Fastnet about 6 years ago. Race starts Saturday and you can follow us via

1 place left on the cruise out to the Isles of Scilly starting 14th August and one on the 7 day milebuilder starting Sunday 8th September.

Caribbean 600 in February now has just 6 places left on Juno a Farr 65.

Judith will be doing the admin in my absence and I hope to be home on 9th August.

Racing Reports

Rolex to go Green?

Picture of 2011 Fastnet team with Rolex Decal.

We still await the Sailining Instructions for the Fastnet. It will be interesting to see if we have to put on Rolex Decals this time. it matters not how well you put them on a small percentage will , at least in part, come off. Othe5 races such as 3 Peaks yacht Race have their smaller Decals above deck level and this year the Island sailing Club didn’t do them for the Round the Island Race. I can be as hypocritical as the next man but for this Fastnet all our team clothing is natural fibre.

Mile builder starts Friday afternoon so away until 28th July.

Racing Reports

Round the Island Race

Pic of us on the last tack before we finished. With over 1600 entrants only 283 finished in what was at times a frustratingly slow event. We finished with 23 minutes to spare and managed to grab a pint or 3 before closing.

The start was followed by a spinnaker run but then the wind dropped and didn’t blow consistently until near the finish. We have a couple of RYA Milebuilders coming up and the Mile building cruise out to the Scillies in August.

Course Reports

2020 Vision

Paul is skippering Spirit of Juno (picture Juno a Farr65) again for the 2020 Caribbean 600. Details will appear on OnDeck Antigua site soon or you can register your interest with us. we sold out well before the race this year and had to turn people away. Looks like we already half full (13/6/19) so if you want a place do ask for now.

Training starts 0930 19th February and for 2020 we have managed to secure a berth alongside in the World Heritage Nelsons Dockyard. Race starts Monday 24th and you are safe to book a flight out from Saturday evening 29th.

If you want to try sailing with Paul before booking we will take you on a Mile builder or Race training weekend or September race at normal price (from £195) but give you £150 off the cost of the C600 (£1950) when you sign up for the team on Juno.

Racing Reports

Till death us do part

Pic of us on our way to winning the 3 Peaks Yacht Race last year.

I will miss the 3 Peaks Yacht Race this year due to a family wedding but some former Wild Spirits plus former team members from Juno in the Caribbean and Helsal 3 from Sydney Hobart will be racing. Start is Barmouth on saturday evening and you can follow progress via with details about the teams on

Last year our mile building sailing was mainly in Scottish waters as we kept Wild Spirit in Troon before and after the race, this year our Mile builders are mainly cross channel or out to the Scillies