Skipper’s Eye View Of The Rolex Fastnet Race

1,939 views  |   August 8th, 2019 

Skipper’s Eye View Of The Rolex Fastnet Race

The FCS crew on Challenger 2 have won the Fastnet! Well, we exaggerate a little, we had two, 16-strong crews in the Fastnet race, both sailing the steel Challenger yachts, and having their own private duel amongst the 100’s of other competitors.

Sue Geary was the Skipper of Challenger 2 and Gary Rutherford was on Challenger 3. Both sent in midday reports and below you’ll get a flavour of sailing in this type of race.

If you want a taste, maybe a full course Fastnet meal, then speak to the crew in the FCS office and they’ll guide you to being ready for the next race in 2021!

In each report they give a short summary, time and a position and a couple of other vital details, we won’t show them all just Sue’s first and final one to give you an idea of what is expected from the skipper.

We’ve added screenshots from the Yellow Brick Tracker to give you an idea of their race positions at midday, or when the rounded the Rock.

DAY 1 Starting the Fastnet Race in Cowes.

Sue Geary, Skipper, Challenger 2

Time : 12:20 Saturday 3rd August Position: Starting Line

“Challenger 2 is ready to slip lines once Catzero has departed, approx. 1115. Next comms, tomorrow midday-ish.”

Gary Rutherford, Skipper, Challenger 3

“Morning all, CH3 shortly away Cowes for the Fastnet race. All well on board, crew fit and rested. ETA: To soon to tell”

DAY 2 Looking For Wind And Land’s End

DAY 2 Looking For Wind And Land’s End


Sue Geary, Skipper, Challenger 2
Date: 04/08/19 Time: 12:20 UT Position: 49  56.2N  003  42.8 W
Destination: Fastnet Rock
ETA: Early hours of Tuesday
COG: 210
SOG: 5.8 kts
Fuel: 2 full, 1 in use, 1 empty
Water: 2 full, 1 in use, 1 empty

Good afternoon all, After a good start and frustratingly slow first night trying to avoid going backwards, Challenger 2 is on the move again, heading south currently. It’s a choice of that or north atm. Hoping the wind will fill in from the SW this afternoon and we will be able to make better progress in the right direction. Breakfast was scrambled egg & crumpets and I am contemplating a lunch of chicken goujon wraps & salad, whilst it’s still flat enough for salad. Tomorrow’s lunch will need to be heavier, I hope. All dinners are cooked & in the freezer – lamb and spinach tagine tonight.

DAY 2 Looking For Wind And Land’s End


Gary Rutherford, Skipper, Challenger 3
Date: 4/8/19 Time: 1200 L Position: 50.04.1N 3.30.2W

“Morning all, Challenger 3 has made good progress overnight hampered by light breeze at first light this morning. Breeze is now back on and the rain has stopped. Crew has settled happily into the routine and conditions on board are good.”

DAY 3 Heading into the Wind

DAY 3 Heading into the Wind


Date: 05/08/19 Time: 1305 UT Position: 50  41.3N  007 49.2 W“Good afternoon all, What a difference a day makes! Currently 2 reefs, Y2 & stay, 60 degrees off the wind, which is SW, 27kts apparent. Angle of heel not conducive to typing. Some on green watch but otherwise all well.”

DAY 3 Heading into the Wind


Gary Rutherford, Skipper, Challenger 3
Date: 5/8/19 Time: 1200 L Position: 50.11N 6.42W

“Morning all, Great sailing overnight. Upsettingly not good enough to get us ahead of CH1/2. Usual running order is resumed. All well on board. Most are now acclimatised to life sailing to windward.”

Day 4 Passing The Rock And Heading for Plymouth

Day 4 Passing The Rock And Heading for Plymouth


Sue Geary, Skipper, Challenger 2
Date: 06/08/19 Time: 1200ish UT Position: 50 05N 007 17W
Destination: Plymouth
ETA: Wednesday morning
DTF: 130nm
COG: 130
SOG: 10.4 kts
Fuel : 2 full, 1 in use, 1 empty
Water: 1 full, 1 in use, 2 empty

“Good afternoon all, Beam reaching is so more civilised than upwind sailing. Challenger 2 rounded the rock shortly before midnight last night and are currently 25nm off the Scillies TSS. We’ve had a good clean, the sun is shining and the dolphins came to play this morning.”

Gary Rutherford, Skipper, Challenger 3
Date: 6/8/19 Time: 1200 L Position: 50.35N 8.21W

“Morning all, Today we passed a small rock in the Irish sea. Much excitement followed. Now we are going back the way we came.”

Challenger 2 First To Plymouth And Breakfast

Challenger 2 First To Plymouth And Breakfast


Travelled: 673 NM
Arrived: 07 Aug 06:25
Elapsed Time: 4d 10h 35m 39s

Challenger 3 In Time For A Plymouth Lunch …

Challenger 3 In Time For Lunch In Plymouth...


Travelled: 690 NM
Arrived: 07 Aug 14:18
Elapsed Time: 4d 18h 51m 14s


Racing With First Class Sailing

Who knows where your RYA courses with First Class Sailing will take you, it could be chartering yachts on the Mediterranean or it could be racing in a FCS crew? If you’d like to try your hand at the Rolex Fastnet Race or a similar adventure, then FCS have three options for you.

If you have any questions just talk to your friendly crew in the office 0203 006 3717.

Round the Island Race – Every year in June, over 16,000 sailors, from Olympic gold medallists and world champions to amateur crews and those trying their hand at racing for the first time, compete in this unique yacht race around the Isle of Wight.

The largest yacht race in the world, the Round the Island Race is a magnificent spectacle and one that you will never forget! You can be part of the action. No experience is necessary as full training will be given.

ARC Rally – Held at the end of the year, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) was first conceived in 1986. It started out as a safe way to cross the Atlantic in the company of other yachts. Since then it has grown, turned into more of a race, become more and more competitive and attracted bigger and faster yachts. Now over 200 yachts take part in it each year.

The Rolex Fastnet – Held every alternate August, to compete in this once in a lifetime challenge you will need the ability to be versatile, dedicated, committed and a team player. You will also be enthusiastic about sailing and racing a yacht.

You will need to have done some sailing but not necessarily have racing experience. You’ll also need to have a reasonable level of fitness as racing can be physically demanding. In return, completing this challenge will give you with a huge sense of achievement – and hopefully a great result!


Posted by: First Class Sailing


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