Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 – Training
Becoming aquainted with the 45 foot yacht, the safety features, and the varying sails involved in Fastnet racing formed part of Day 1 of training. The crew varies from our skipper who has multiple Fastnet races, trans-Atlantic crossings and more the 20k nm of sailing under his belt, experienced sailors at every level and then our MD, Trevor, the Novice!
With sunshine and blue sky, the initial day sailing was perfect to practice sail changes, trimming and generally getting a greater understanding in how the boat responds to the wind. While sailing into the night the breeze picked up, resulting in a really wonderful experience – it must be said, that sailing in these conditions lead for a false sense of what to expect in the Rolex Fastnet Race…
What yacht are we sailing?
The Beneteau First 45 Yacht, Zephyr is a Beneteau First 45 yacht and is a Category 2 “coded” vessel according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s code of practice for Small Commercial Vessels and qualified to sail in offshore racing.
To gain maximum speed, being as light as possible is essential, so the boat interior has been stripped of all it’s niceties, with only bare mattresses to sleep on and the minimum of cooking facilities. With only 6 available, ‘beds’, and 12 crew aboard, sleeping in shifts through the night is the norm, with 4 hours’ on deck and only 4 hours’ sleep!
Is there a fitness requirement to sailing?
Sailing is a fantastic sport and being fit certainly helps with enjoyment, especially when competing in an overnight race and having to change sails and, at times, move quickly around the boat. That said, when starting to sail, it is the power of the wind that is utilised and elite athlete fitness is certainly not a prerequisite. If you’re looking to get into sailing, certainly get as fit as you can for general wellbeing, it is a sport where fitness is not essential and may be achieved while on the water.
As for out MD, Trevor, it pains us to say that he is quite fit and participates in many sports, from Skiing to Football, so although a novice to sailing, his fitness levels will certainly come in handy during the long nights of the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The Spinnaker – 150 square meters!
Following sunrise and heading back to port, one more challenge for the weekend of training – THE SPINNAKER! Measuring 150 square meters, attaching the largest of our sails onboard is certainly a challenge, especially as a novice. In the challenging conditions of the Rolex Fastnet Race this will certainly be a different story, but in the gentle conditions we were lucky to have, only a couple of errors. Having the spinnaker line pass under the haul, you would have thought a nightmare ensuing, but our relaxed skipper instructing the crew with urgency and precisely meant any major problems were averted and the spinnaker was up – great to be involved in the issues that may arise in such benign conditions.
Spinnaker up, the power of such a sail were witnessed and the 45-footer, ploughed seamlessly through the waves – a real pleasure to be aboard and what a pleasure to be part of, putting the sleepless night quite literally to bed.
A well-earned beer after returning to the marina!
What a weekend and so much sailing knowledge gleaned in such a small space of time. Tired, yet still excited for the upcoming qualifying race events, the satisfaction for all the crew as we entered the marina and yet another sunny day.
On hosing down the yacht and tidying away the sails, we headed to the marina bar for a well-earned beer!… next up the Cervantes Trophy Race to Le Havre in France.
Find out more about Prestige Film at the Rolex Fastnet Race – #NovicetoFastnet?
Please take a look at our dedicated Rolex Fastnet Race – Novice to Fastnet…