Billed as one of the the world’s toughest yacht races, the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race stood up to its reputation. With forecast strong winds, competitors were tested before they’d got out of the Solent! Matt Bundell and crew aboard Assassin took on the conditions and after seeing 44 knots of apparent and 38 knots of true alongside 5m high waves, took the sensible option of seeking shelter in Portland at midnight on Saturday. By Sunday morning over 25% of the fleet had retired (a number that increased during the day), one boat had sunk in the Needles channel and several others suffered rigging failures or injuries.
On shore, the PCC members watching the fleet as it made its way through Hurst Narrows were treated to a spectacle of the leading trimaran (at that point Banque Populaire), the IMOCA fleet and then the various IRC classes, all battling to tame the conditions described by professional sailors as ‘brutal’.
If you missed the start, catch-up with the video below – and while in Portland, the local ITV news crew turned up giving Assassin and PCC crew member Ian Bloxham their five minutes of fame!
Planetsail reports on all the action from the start with a mix of on-water footage and interviews with the Pros. (YouTube)