If you have been following my tweets closely fans, you will see there have been some inklings of a new campaign afoot! Oh yes I have decided that it would be great to go and race against some of the best sailors in the world, on my own, for 20 days at sea, without any sleep and only freeze dried food to keep me happy! Also known as the 2000 mile Solitaire du Figaro! Raced in 32ft yachts starting in France in June I have lots to learn over the winter and can’t wait to get stuck in!
So in preparation over the summer I have been closely watching and literally following the British boys in their preparations for the 2015 race held in June. Making notes and thinking about how I might run my campaign for the 2016 edition!
As the fireworks rained down over the end of Cowes week there was a chance for me to start sailing aboard these amazing boats and compete in my very first Fastnet race. The Fastnet is a very old and prestigious race which involves starting from Cowes in the isle of wight, going to a grizzly black rock off the south coast of ireland and then back to Plymouth to finish! This can take the very fast dizzy trimarans a matter of hours but for us and most of the fleet it was set to be about 5 days in the ocean (many more than i have spent previously!).
Here you can see me excitedly preparing on the morning of the race. I am in my standard bright pink outfit and we are hoisting the storm jib which is never usually gets an outing but we have to sail past the race organisers with it up to prove we are ready for anything!
In reality there was absolutely no wind for the start and it was quite the drift off, seeing who could get the most tide under them as possible!
This is Hammy (Andrew Baker) Solitaire Rookie 2015 and my co-skip for the race! He is busy doing Naviguessing at the table of fun (usually covered in bits of flapjack)!
This is the sleeping quarters! i.e downstairs, Not the most luxurious arrangement but luckily i am very good at napping! With two of us in this race we generally sailed one hour on and one hour off with both being awake for manoeuvres and decision making times and occasionally interspersed by a meal time or dolphin watching! (see instagram vid!)
Some night time spinnaker action, amazingly your eyes adapt quite well and you can mostly see what your trying to do but you have to remember which rope is which before the lights go out as red and green and blue all look the same in the dark!
A beautiful dawn! There are a few amazing things that happen when you are awake all the time! and dawn is definitely one of them! Seeing all the other boats around you and still racing hard is a brilliant feeling.
Finally we reach the rock! After a long night of 30 knots and far too much rain straight into the eyeballs! Ireland is looking damp and uninviting but very pleased to get around this amazing landmark! I’m looking a bit more tired here but as soon as we were round we could hoist the spinnaker and reach nearly all the way back to plymouth!
Amazing feeling to have completed my first Fastnet double handed and first race in the figaro! We had some great moments, leading the pack on the first night, pods of dolphins playing with our boat and lots of great learning points for me.
So now back to the grind and starting from the beginning putting together a plan to get me in great racing shape to the single handed racing epicentre of the world in june 2016!
watch this space…..