For the Mini Fastnet race will the Committee send the fleet North to the Irish Sea or south along the French Coast away from the dangers of a low pressure system which could cause problems with the tail enders of the fleet?
by Scott Cavanough
Scott Cavanough continues on his quest to qualify for the Mini Transat in September this time he is joined by Jessica Watson as his Co-skipper for another race around Fastnet Rock.
It's been a busy month since the UK Fastnet in May. Having done some racing on a class 40 which did not go so well having broken some gear not long after start but the race entries itself was amazing.
The entry list for the 300nm Armen Race had everything from a class 650 (21ft), class 40's, a few IMOCA 60 and the Gitana 11 trimaran at 72ft and then there was a IRC division with everything else in between. Then last week we had a short solo race at 220 nm which started and finished in Douarnenez.
Having only just been around the infamous rock less then a month ago once again we are preparing to hopefully go around the Rock again. The Mini Fastnet Race starts from Douarnenez, France on Sunday the fleet is sent north to Wolf Rock off the English coast then North West to Fastnet Rock and finishes back in Douarnenez. Today we hear from the race committee if we go north to Fastnet Rock a race of 600nm in length or they will send us on the alternative route south to a mark off La Rochelle a course length off 500nm. We all remember the havoc that the Irish Sea caused in the 1979 Fastnet Race and in a race where the fleet is only 6.50 meters long, yes only 21ft the race committee will always stay on the side of caution.
The race committee is concerned about the possibility of the tail enders getting 45 knots as they near Fastnet Rock. Like the race last month the UK Mini Fastnet this race also is double handed and the co-skipper this race is Jessica Watson. This will be Jessica's first big race out of Australia and a very tough one to start with and a much bigger challenge then her planned Hobart race 'Skippy' the yacht she is racing on is 17ft shorter then her yacht for this years Sydney to Hobart a race of similar length. I hope that the committee will today decide to send the fleet north not only for the super fast reaching conditions that the fleet will experience as weather models at the moment have the race being finished in 3 days but also for Jessica to see the Rock for the first time.
To do those speeds on a class 650 means the entire three days the boat will be on edge with either a spinnaker or a Code sail hoisted. Sleeping will be an afterthought as inside the little carbon boat it will sound like a steam train and on deck it will be like being in front of a fire hose as on these small boats you are less then a metre above the water.
Once we get word of the race course and the fleet tracking via Yellow Brick I will be sure send another update from France.
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6:26 AM Sat 18 Jun 2011 GMT
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