by Joe Harris
The Rolex Fastnet Race is now underway. GryphoSolo2’s skipper Joe Harris reports from Cowes on the team and the race course that lies before them.
Your roving yachting reporter is coming to you live from Cowes England as we prepare for the start of the famed Fastnet race. The Fastnet is Britain's oldest and most prestigious sailing race and is one of offshore sailing's 'big four', including Newport-Bermuda, Sidney-Hobart Transpac and Fastnet. The race is about 600 miles out the solent into the English Channel, down the south coast of England and then across the Irish Sea to Fastnet rock, then back around the Scilly islands and up the coast to the finish in Plymouth.
There are about 320 boats participating this year, making this the largest Fastnet ever. There will be twenty-one boats on our group of class 40's, so there should be some excellent competition. The weather forecast calls for a moderate southwest sea breeze at the start, so the challenge will be to beat our way out of the solent and get around the Portland Bill headland before the tide turns against us. The boats getting to lands end first will get into a building westerly that should allow for some fast sailing across to the rock and back. The breeze is forecast to lighten after the front goes through so we are hoping to finish by Wednesday before things go really light... But we will see. Neptune and Aeolus have their own plans.
Our crew is four - Josh Hall, David Minors, Tristan Mouligne and myself. I think we have a good group - competent and compatible - so looking forward to a great race.
I will be sending a daily report and you can also follow the race on the web at the race tracking web site or the race web site. The boats all have trackers so positions will be constantly available.
So there you have it. Looking forward to my first Fastnet race and the second race for GryphonSolo2.
Rolex Fastnet Race website
Gryphon Solo 2 website