The Fastnet that I’m referring to is the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. A sailing race for big boys with big boy pants and PFD’s (that’s personal flotation devices), which incidentally is why I’m not currently doing the race, or more to the point was not invited to do the race, and that’s a sensitive subject I’d rather not get into right now. It’s obvious word hasn’t reached them of my one-design J-boat domination on the Bay. They’ll be calling (cue crickets). But I digress, the long and short of this is, 368 boats racing flat out for 3 grueling days racing from Cowes near Portsmouth in England to the Fastnet Rock at the edge of Ireland (Erin Go Braugh!) and back to England finishing at Plymouth, a distance of some 608 nautical miles competing in some big water and weather. The mileage in and of itself is not the deciding factor that determines the degree of difficulty of this race, no. The boats sail through sections of the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the north Atlantic which more often than not are frequently unpleasant. And by unpleasant I mean people have lost both their boats and lives competing in this race and both scenarios are sadly, not out of the ordinary during this race given the demands placed on both crew and machines. This is a very technical, physical, and mental race, and as such requires loads of preparation and commitment with race registration opening 8 months prior to the start, and skippers often begin lining up crew in advance of the registration sometimes a year out. It’s so demanding that the race is only held every two years. Another equally brutal race is the Sydney to Hobart race in Australia that I hope to compete in one day. 2015 marks the 90th time the prestigious Fastnet race has been held, and it has created it’s fair share of champions and equal number tragedies over the years. You either need to be recruited or submit your sailing resume to any boat that has crew openings, and then you better be a rock star, which in sailing parlance means you’re a rock star and not a liability as you will be sailing in difficult conditions, day and night, competing not just against the boats in your class, but against mother nature. Anyway, one of those rock stars is a close friend and former crew member on mine from Mary Lou (J30) who is racing on a British (unfortunate I admit) boat currently competing in this amazing race. As of the time this post was published their boat, Anticipation was approximately 181 nautical miles from the finish line. I have included a handy map to visualize the route and key points on the course. So to all the crews and boats competing, sail fast, and stay safe! Godspeed, and kick ass Stan!
Finish: 4D 5H 30M 10S
88th IRC overall