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Join Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson on the Two-handed Rolex Fastnet Race - Video

by Shirley Robertson 24 Aug 2021 05:09 PDT 25 August 2021
Team Bomby/Robertson: Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson on Sun Fast 3300 Swell in the Rolex Fastnet Race © Paul Wyeth /

Catch this unique inside look of the Rolex Fastnet Race, as pro sailors Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson compete in their Sunfast 3300, sailing two-handed.

Four times Figaro sailor Henry Bomby competed in the last Volvo Ocean Race, aboard Turning the Tide on Plastic. This was his fifth Rolex Fastnet Race. Shirley Robertson is the first British woman to claim consecutive gold medals in the Olympics. The 2021 Rolex Fastnet was Shirley's third.

Having trained throughout the summer, Double Handed offshore team of Shirley Robertson and Henry Bomby were determined to put in a competitive showing in the 695 mile Rolex Fastnet Race, sailing in their Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 supplied by SeaVentures UK Ltd. Sailing as Team BombyRobertson, their boat is named Swell.

337 boats crossed the start line into thirty plus knot winds and a stormy angry Solent - ahead of them several days of flat out racing across the Irish Sea to the legendary Fastnet lighthouse, then back to Cherbourg, France.

Fifty nine double handed yachts took on the race, almost half didn't finish - it was a tough edition, and Henry and Shirley filmed every step of the way.

If you like offshore sailing, double-handed sailing, or are at all interested in the Fastnet Race, this film will give you a fascinating insight into what it takes.

The pair spent the year training for their Double Handed attempt at the biennial offshore classic, this film sitting as the fourth episode of a behind the scenes series documenting their progress.

Determined to put in a solid challenge, preparation for the race was hampered in part by Robertson's absence while reporting for the BBC from Tokyo 2020. Bomby too has suffered from time off the water but with a well setup boat, the pair were anticipating a solid challenge in their class.

The forecast for start day was intense. The fleet of 337 yachts took off up an angry, confused Solent, heading into thirty plus knot gusts before hitting the more regular swells of the open sea. On board Swell, Bomby and Robertson did not start well, but their Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 was set up to excel in the windy conditions of start day and soon the pair were ripping through the fleet.

Four static cameras onboard 'Swell' were filming the action and as the team ate up the miles they both regularly reported into their onboard handheld 'diary-cam'. It was a tough edition, as the race unfolded twenty five of the fifty nine double handed entrants would be forced to retire. All the while, onboard 'Swell', Bomby and Robertson were putting in a resolute performance. Soon they were locked into a race for the line with French Fastnet star Alexis Loison on board 'Leon'.

It's rare to get such an in-depth glimpse of life onboard a double handed Fastnet attempt, but Robertson and Bomby both filmed throughout the entire race - the result is a unique and exciting glimpse into a genuine Fastnet challenge, a sailing film that documents their race from start to finish as they relentlessly push their Sun Fast 3300 over four days of intense racing.

The film marks the finale of a four part series filmed and edited by Tim Butt of Vertigo Films.

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