Fastnet Race Report / 1000 mile qualifier report

August 2004

So, there you have it. Crean is back in Brighton Marina and I am back at work.

Obviously I am bitterly disappointed to not have completed the 1000-mile qualifying passage but at least I can say I tried as hard as I could and was beaten only by time.

I could have continued on with the passage and would eventually have finished. However, after eight days I had not got even halfway and it was clear that I would not have completed the course within the time-frame I had allowed myself. It seems clear that I need to allow three weeks for this challenge.

I am going to give myself a few weeks before I decide my next move but fully intend to complete this project. At some stage I will be sailing across the Atlantic single-handed. 

*   The good things that came out of the last six weeks are:

  • Pete and I completed the Mini-Fastnet.

  • I met some new friends and have to thank them all for the help they gave me, especially Charlie Hope-Lang who ferried me around between railway stations and supermarkets.

  • I sailed about 1000 miles single-handed and another 1000 double handed and wasn’t put off!

  • I saw my first whale, about 30 metres from the boat. I think it was a Fin whale, cruising through Biscay looking like he owned the place.

  • The boat performed brilliantly even when asked to beat into 40+ knots of wind.

  • Having made the decision to stop I went into Camaret and discovered, not only that it was Bastille day and there were fireworks and processions, but also that my old friend J.P. Chomette was there with his Open 60 ‘Solune’ fresh from breaking the round Britain record.  It was great to see him.

  • I saw the Eiffel tower for the first time. (very briefly, out of a taxi window!).

* And the bad things:

  • As much as I love sailing, the qualifier was very tedious. I spy something beginning with S.

  • The smell! After four days in the same clothes, and without breathable outerwear, it gets fairly unpleasant. Trust me!

  • I slipped and bit right through my top lip whilst skirting a little too close to the Portland race. It was a little rough to say the least! (I realised that I was dribbling even when my mouth was closed! Most strange).

  • It became clear that my wet weather gear is not good enough and needs replacing and also that my mid-layers could do with some improvement.

  • Having to give up on the attempt. Very hard.

  • Missing Elizabeth and Kim’s wedding.

July 2004

Next challenge: My 1000 mile qualifier.

This is a fixed route set by the French Mini Classe association and is intended to test Transat hopefuls and help educate them as to just how hard sailing 3500 mile single-handed really is.

The route is a loop from La Rochelle to the Coningbeg lightship off the south east coast of Ireland and can be joined at any suitable place along the route. I intend to join at Douarnenez as this where Crean is at the moment.

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