Sunday, 23 August 2015

When the racers came to stay

The fastnet race is one of the biggest off shore races in British sailing. Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (yes, even its name is posh) and held every other year, it is now celebrating its 90th year and had the biggest fleet ever.  

classic yachts and brand new racers compete together

We are certainly not racers by any stretch of the imagination but it has been fascinating to watch all the boats pouring into our marina which played host this year to the race village and most of the returning boats. We have had a short holiday moored in a different part of the marina to make room for all the race boats.

a sunny start in Cowes and a misty end in Plymouth

There were a record 356 boats taking part this year from 100 foot to 30 foot. Some professional teams with 15-20 crew members take part as training for round the world races whilst two-handed family teams take part for the challenge. They left from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, sailed over 600 miles through the Solent, across the Irish sea, round the Fastnet rock and back to Plymouth with the breakwater marking the finish line.

rafted 6-8 deep on the pontoons

The first boat back in 2 days and 11 hours was the Spindthrift 2, a 130-foot trimaran which is recognised as the fastest off shore race boat - currently. Several boats retired and the final boat reached the finish line after 6 days at sea. The overall winner was Courrier Du Leon with a 6 man crew, skippered by a French sailor who has entered the race 13 times since 1977 and was, as you can imagine, very happy.

race winner

The village has all been cleared away now. The boats and their adrenaline filled crews have dispersed and this week we'll be heading back to our normal berth.

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