The team are all very busy with their final preparations before the Fastnet. Preparing the boat, ourselves – and our work lives! We will be completely out of reach for maximum one week which is for many something unusual, and requires some special communications to the home front to keep loved ones up to date on what is going on.
Larger preparations for the race – looking at the course, the weather, the current, tracking, sponsorship stickers, charity details … the list goes on.
Some smaller preparation items are also ongoing – filming of our Fastnet race, cameras, hotels before and after the race – when will we finish, so when to book? Luckily Team Heiner will be able to take an extra bag for us to Plymouth where the race finishes so we will be able to have a change of clean clothes and a shower!
For those wishing to track our progress, you can visit the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Fastnet tracking website, where the RORC have a tracking application showing the fleet, once the race starts. You’ll need to look for our boat, “Team Heiner One”.
We’ll be starting at 1350hrs BST on Sunday the 11th of August, following the traditional Fastnet course, which is a 608 nautical mile non-stop race. The race entails a gripping and punishing 608-nautical mile journey from Cowes, Isle of Wight to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.
Beginning at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, the Isle of Wight, the race passes noted landmarks in the English Channel including The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, The Lizard and Land’s End, ahead of the open water passage across the Celtic Sea.
The legs across the Celtic Sea to and from the Fastnet Rock are long and unpredictable. Openly exposed to fast moving Atlantic weather systems the fleet often encounters the toughest weather of the race on its approach to and return from Ireland.
The symbolic turn around the Fastnet Rock off the southern coast of Ireland; a rounding that heralds the race’s emblematic halfway juncture. The Fastnet Rock has significant standing in the minds of competitors, and is viewed as the halfway mark, even though the actual distance remaining is less.
The sense of achievement felt by crew must be tempered by a need to stay focused on the challenge ahead. The fleet then embark on the long return leg and the finish in Plymouth.
Distances on the course: Total = 608 nautical miles (1,126 km) The start of the Rolex Fastnet Race is from the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) line, Cowes, Isle of Wight. Yachts will race on a course of approx 608 miles via the Fastnet Rock to the finish line at the western end of the breakwater in Plymouth Harbour:
Cowes – Needles 16Nm
Needles – Portland Bill 34Nm
Portland – Start Point 54Nm
Start Point – Lizard 60Nm
Lizard – Lands End 22Nm
Land’s End – Fastnet 170Nm
Fastnet Rock – Scillies 154Nm
Scillies – Lizard 51Nm
Lizard – Finish 46Nm
We’re excited and a little nervous – but we’re sure looking forward to the race, the culmination of our campaign. Wish us fair winds and a successful race!
Author’s note: Route description is from the RORC official history of the Fastnet race guide.