Rolex Fastnet Race 2017

August 18, 2017

This was for me and Winsome Fastnet Race number eight, in a period I could have sailed ten. It was only Reima who joined me on the first one in 1999.

As my friend Patrick said last Tuesday, blogs after victories are published much quicker than after non victories, like this one which we scored only 12/84. He was perfectly right. It still took me two days after his reprimand to write and publish this blog.

In this race I believe we carried some extra ballast in the form of our Class win in the Lendy Cowes Week.

A full crew of eight: Leen, Dirk-Jan, Joost N, Floris, Richard, Reima, Peter Morton and myself.

We performed this race with perfect boat handling, excellent trimming and in a good team spirit. Nevertheless one could say ‘we played and lost’.

The next part is meant for those of you who understand the more technical part of sailing. If that is not the case; enjoy  the photographs. We have seen plenty of Dolphins in fhe Irish Sea, but we have no good photo of any of the perhaps 50 dolphins playing around us like we were a turtle doing 8 knots.

Here we go with the more technical news:

At the start there was no radio communication by the Squadron at all. We took no risk and simply started one minute late, just to be sure. Nevertheless it appeared a good start and we gained a lot on all the 84 boats in front us rapidly. At Hurst Castle Winsome was leading our entire class. So far so good.

Between the start and Hurst Castle. Photo by Bob (Eclips)

After Hurst Castle we crossed Foggy Dew several times within a boat length, but close to Portland Bill Foggy Dew went staight to Portland Bill going into an already strong tide to the East. I believe that Foggy Dew gained some 6 Nm on us. I must admit that I did get a professional advice from Greatcircle to do just that was Foggy Dew did, but I had bever seen it. I believe it arrived in my Junk Mail Box. Mea Culpa.

So we entered Lyme Bay with a great back log and we followed the fleet on their SE side. Then I got the idea to make a tack, say two hours after we passed the meridian of Portland Bill, but I waited. Then I saw on AIS that Galivanter with Wouter Verbraak on board, did it so we did it as well at the moment we crossed his track. An hour later or so Galivanter tacked back out to my surprise, so we stayed on starboard tack and persisted. This appeared later a good decision since we came very close again to Foggy Dew again and we must have recovered some 5 Nm here.

Lizzard Point became the next hurdle. We were in a good position until the wind dropped completely. We must have drifted there around 5-6 hours though we never considered to anchor (72 meters depth). Night and Day and Foggy Dew was closer to the shore, got first the wind and the eb tide and won enormously on us.

It took really hours before the wind came back and we started a long journey on the Irish Sea staying East of the Land’s End TSS.

Night and Day, the overall winners of the 2013 Fastnet Race were 10 Nm ahead of us but our new carbon fibre mast enabled us to stay at the same distance from them (double handed by father and son Loison)

Still proceding to the Fastnet Rock

At passing the Fastnet Rock we drank our G&T and were in fifth place in our Class.

A long run of 100 Nm was ahead of us. We had to chose either W or E. We chose W and by doing that we left the fleet. Another mistake, but  from this one we did not recover.

For a long time it looked like we would finish as 8th but we could not count some boats with a better rating like China Girl and Easy Rider (S&S, virtually a sister to Winsome). Congratulations to them. It will be good to have them competing with us in the future. We ended as 12th which we consider quite disappointing.

The upside of this race is that our new carbon fibre mast has given us extra speed, no doubt about that.

Our (Leen’s) hard fought berth in Plymouth

However we have had damages to our sails and rigging and we will have to sort out, with the help of Hall Spars, how they can be avoided in our next race to Cherbourg and thereafter in 2018.

It is hard to start writing down names. The entire crew did a wonderfull job, really high performance. It was a dream team. The navigational mistakes are on my account.

Thinking of RFR 2019, or of his Rela, or maybe of his new job?


Post by Harry Heijst | August 18, 2017 |


  1. Chapeau!

    by Carla | 23 Aug 2017 | 13:38
  2. Chapeau, Dream Team!!

    by Carla | 23 Aug 2017 | 13:39
  3. Congratulations Team Winsome for the Fastnet result and specially on winning Cowes. Alex

    by Alex Bisi | 24 Aug 2017 | 15:17