Race Report Fastnet 2009 - 10th August 2009
In X Celsis – Race Report

Fastnet Race – 2009

Crew PJ plus Oliver Overstall, Dave Johns, Tom Gadsden, Nick Tilt, David Dyer, Dave Jenkinson, Ant Garratt, Oliver Wyatt and Rowan Pollard.

Introduction

A good season of races prepared the boat and the crew for a competitive entry in this great race. Races with JOG to Cherbourg and back, Nab Tower Race and Solent races gave good experience and were valuable team building. The Le Havre Race, St Malo and Channel Races saw us climbing the fleet in the results with an excellent 3rd in IRC 2 in the Nab Tower Race, 4th in the Cowes / Yarmouth, 5th In Round the Island and 9th in the Channel Race. Crew changes saw Ollie Wyatt joining for the Channel and Fastnet Races and Rowan Pollard making the trip from Melbourne to do the Fastnet.

The Race – Start 1240 hrs RYS line Sunday 10th August

With a 1240 hrs start on Sunday on the Squadron line at Cowes, In X Celsis reached the Needles Fairway towards the front of the class 2 fleet in light winds of around 8 – 10 kts. While the majority of the fleet opted for an offshore rounding off Portland Race, In x Celsis took the inshore passage and at 0900 hrs Monday was showing at the front of the fleet, The inshore passage having paid off “big time”!

Increasing winds to 30 kts. and more through Monday demanded the first reef and then the No. 4 headsail as we beat towards Start Point across Lyme Bay. Then across to the Lizard in variable winds and through the night to Tuesday morning and still in the first 10 boats in class 2 we took a course North of the 7 Stones lightship across the Celtic Sea. Dolphins sighted and photographed.

Nourishing meals in passage had included Thai Beef from the Tilt household, Irish stew from Golant and Chicken Curry from Ascot.

As we approached the Rock, a hard night’s sail in 25 – 30 kts kept the crew working hard. An air lock stopped the engine, later fixed with bleeding the fuel line solving the problem. As the skipper says, “ a boat without an engine is not a boat”

In heavy mists we found and rounded the Fastnet Rock at 1545 hrs on Wednesday at the same time as a J109, “Jump”. A fast reach to the Pantaenius Buoy rounded at 1634 hrs enabled a hoist of the HW spinnaker, now doing its 5th crossing of the Irish Sea.

Nick produced a Lloyd Grossman sauce pasta which nourished a tired crew after a frustrating Wednesday in sight of Bishop Rock in light breezes being circled at on stage by a basking shark! Also a lot of smaller boats caught up. Grrr!

“You never see a dead cat up a tree” said the skipper and slowly but surely the wind freshened enabling a reach to the Lizard and once more to the HW kite on a solid 7 / 8 kts reach to the finish, Ollie Wyatt getting us through the line at Plymouth 1445 hrs on Friday.

10th of 30 starters in IRC 2A was a fair result in all the conditions. A more Southerly passage with a tack towards Bishop Rock before the Celtic Sea crossing paid off well for boats choosing that course. The crew arrived in good spirits having had much good humour throughout the passage. Showers or a swim in the Tamar at Mayflower Marina washed us clean!

On shore celebrations then followed with several pints of the amber nectar being downed! No names but the standing on head and fraternising with the military followed by hostilities with the natives combined to make an enjoyable and eventful evening!

With 3 departures in Plymouth, Dave Johns, Dave Jenkinson, and Ant Garratt, we were joined by Jess Savin and with 8 on board made a successful return to the Hamble at 0620 hrs Sunday morning.

Summary

Probably one of the best all round crews on an In X Celsis, this was an enjoyable and demanding race over the 5 days at sea. Good sail changes and good teamwork were a significant feature of the passage.

Oliver Overstall – Watch leader and now on his 3rd Fastnet with good back up on navigation. Thanks and well done Ollie.

Dave Johns – Watch leader on second Fastnet and steady helm. Calm in danger and good support on the victuals! Thanks Dave.

Tom Gadsden – Navigator and Tactician. A real asset to the crew, ever alert to keep the boat on its best course. A boon to the skipper! Thanks Tom.

Nick Tilt – Foredeck and Chef de Galley! A combination of total commitment to the foredeck task with no errors in the race and true devotion to crew morale with delicious hot food and cleanliness in the galley as well as repairing the heads handle! Many thanks Nick.

Dave Dyer – Oz Dave not only added avoirdupois to the windward rail, but proved solid on the helm and guy. He also combined with Rowan to maintain the stream of good humour. Well done and thanks Dave.

Ant Garratt – Talented on the helm as well as an artist. PA ? Source of much good humour and a safe pair of hands always. Violin next trip Ant ? You are a star.

Dave Jenkinson – Solid sailing knowledge added to calmness under pressure and always willing to lend a helping hand make for a fine crew member. Glad you joined Dave. Many thanks.

Oliver Wyatt – Young Ollie arriving late in the season added so much knowhow to the crew as well as a real talent on the helm and spinnaker peeling without “cock ups” ! Slow out of his blanket at watch changes but more than compensated for with good natured total competence. Thanks Ollie. You did great.

Rowan Pollard – All the way from Melbourne, Australia. You were a strong addition to the crew at the last minute. Solid on the helm and good all round the boat. Great good humour and team photographer! Good to know you and thanks Rowan

Good victual ling throughout contributed to the wellbeing of the crew whose regular laughter was always reassuring to the skipper. Bovril proved a real success on the night watches with 3 jars being consumed in the race. Fuel and water planning were good. Good strength in depth on the helm and diligent navigation all combined to make this one of the more memorable of the skipper’s 9 Fastnet Races.

Will this be his last?


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Race Report – RORC Race to Le Havre 2nd May
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