Racing Reports

Fastnet report

A disappointing Fastnet but at least we didn’t end up with casualties or broken rigs. The prospect of having to beat into strong to near gale winds plus squalls for at least 12 hours together with not a particularly experienced team led us to retire by the Scillies and then return to Plymouth.
25 others also retired with at least 11 suffering damage attributed to the heavy weather. Others, like us, did not post a reason for retirement whilst 3 cited engine problems. The majority of those being forced to retire were around 40 feet and this reflects the luck that the fastest boats had with the weather systems which gave them much less beating as the North Westerlies arrived after they had rounded the Fastnet Rock.
Possibly the unluckiest entrant was Harriet Marwood who had been berthed near us prior to the race, the team had come several hundred miles to do the race so it was really unfortunate for them to run aground on the Shingles. [This bank moves around so much that only the ends have regular chart updates]. In the 2015 Fastnet a US yacht also ran aground there, she was rather inappropriately called ‘Lucky’.
We have a long established rivalry with Irish Offshore sailing and we had tacked to and fro against them for 2 hours before being ahead as we left the Needles, they managed to finish describing their trip up to the Fastnet as ‘trip up was very wet and squally’.
In heavy weather it is often crews that fail before the boat and other friends ended up retiring into Irish Ports with a very experienced skipper citing ‘an attack of sleep monster induced fear of the boat falling to bits’.
Whilst another e-mailed saying
‘We had 2 members that were imagining that the boat was breaking up. They pretty much convinced the others that the boat was delaminating and the keel was going to fall off. We had a pretty loud squeak on the port side which I could not understand as we had never had that before. I decided that we should retire and make our way to Cork to get the boat checked out, the 2 crew were imagining all sorts of things and at one time they told me the bow was just about to fall off and it was moving 100mm side to side! I assured them and the others that was not the case. They also wanted to do a Mayday and Pan Pan which I would not allow as I could hear there were plenty of other boats in a far worse situation. Anyway we got to Cork safe and sound and even had a lifeboat escort to our mooring had a full survey done on the boat which the surveyor `could find nothing wrong at all’. I then discovered our spinnaker halyard which we used when we done a headsail peel had a seized turning pulley on the deck which was where the creaking noise was coming from! Needless to say the 2 crew members got the plane back from Cork’.

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