1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)


Logs ( 20 )

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 06, 2005 - 2000hrs UTC │Cowes

2000hrs 06 Aug 2005 UTC Cowes

It’s going to be a very soft one – we’ll be lucky to get in in less than a week is my prediction based on the briefing weather. We’re berthed at the UK Sailing Academy – huge operation with BIG boats – we’re alongside an ex Global Challenge 65 ton steel boat and a couple of sightly smaller ones. We will leave the berth tomorrow morning at about 0800 for the 1100 start (BST) – the usual trisail and storm jib with an identity gate to find and go through. The press are after us but have not yet caught up – I have handed over the satphone number – who knows, we might have such a slow trip we will need someone to talk to…

The Solent will be wall to wall boats for the start – it’s vastly more crowded here than in Sydney and a real madhouse today, the day after Cowes week finished.

Back to the website from here please if you want to contact us.

I’m using the UKSA internet caf to do this and I hope I can get in tomoz to print some wx charts.

An early night and off we go….


1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 07, 2005 - 1351hrs UTC

1351hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC 50’37”N 001’38”E

This is what we came here to do – wooohooo!

Conservative start -100 metres from the line, picked the right (north) end slowest class first off so had the whole fleet behind us for most of the way to Hurst except for a few that got away even further north. Big hole at Hurst near Shingles – big boats and us going round in circles – now out of it, in SE breeze about 15 kts. Looks as if we will take the outside line from here – Think there may be more pressure out here. Will tack to lay Portland and hope there’s enough wind to take us over the tide. That’s the tricky bit. We’re still way ahead of a lot of boats and the insiders near Anvil Pt don’t seem to be doing as well. Fingers crossed.

[ed: and a short mention on the Fastnet site here]

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 07, 2005 - 1619hrs UTC

1619hrs 07 Aug 2005 UTC 50’24”N 001’56”E

Forgot to tell you – was a spinnaker start. Now SSW 18 and Berri is just flying -super light, no stern wave at 6-7+ knots – lee bowing what’s left of the tide so helping us along and still up with lots of bigger boats. May have to tack in later but we hope the wind will free us a bit as the sea breeze dies. Restorative consultation with Dr Murphy once we cleared the Needlesnoice – Conor has promised to come and find us near the Fastnet – and watch change at 1700 so G&T to fortify us for the night.

David N & Simon – if you’re out there, the AIS gadget is working – seeing lots of ships.

It’s good to be back in business. [ed: Pictures from the mobile phone on board here]

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 08, 2005 – 0500hrs UTC

0500hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC 50’02”N 003’17”E

Early morning after a clear starry night – right in the middle of the Channel along the northern edge of the traffic separation scheme. Long procession of ships passing us, with Portland light looming to the north early, and Cherbourg and Alderney to the south. We saw the Channel light vessel and we can now see Start Point to the NW. Took a big punt coming out this far and won’t know if it paid off for a bit yet – perhaps when we close Lands End and see who else is around. Certainly seems to have worked, as we held the breeze for all but an hour during the night. Depends what the rest of the fleet got close inshore.

Time for a bacon sando and a serious consultation to fortify me for the day.

An hour or so later – we’re still going well, past Start Point with about 10 other boats in sight around the forward and starboard horizon. Anything we we can see, I think, we must be ahead of on handicap, but we’re still very much in Act 1 of this little Soapie. Assy flying and about a knot of adverse tide, which will change in a couple of hours.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 08, 2005 - 1446hrs UTC

1446hrs 08 Aug 2005 UTC 50’07”N 004’29”E

The wheels have gone a bit squeaky – we’re trickling along with the assymetric kite set at about 30 degrees to an apparent wind of about  5 knots, giving us about 3. Lovely little sail. We can see 14 other boats around us including one of the 80ft Ocean Challenge boats (64 tons of steel…kinda slow in these conditions)so we must be going more or less ok. A bit short of sleep – we’ve both had interrupted sleeps but Dr Murphy has been at hand to assist. We’re looking forward to a surgery visit from Dr Gordon shortly.

Not looking good for getting round the Lizard tonight – tide due to change against us in an hour or so and we’ll be doing well to stand still unless the wind fills in a bit.

Hope the photos are arriving – not much but better than nothing.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 09, 2005 - UTC 0534hrs

verbal from hisself

Off the Lizard – rounded at midnight – Crossing Mount Bay, Next target, the Runnel Stone which is south of Lands End – a dirty big rock!

25-30 boats around horizon.

Verbals as emailing stuffs up autopilot – but nice to talk to the machine.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 09, 2005 - 0534hrs UTC

0534hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC

verbal update

Rounded Lands End, Surrounded by Class 1 – big boats, must be doing OK.

Land’s End

Now into the Irish Sea, with 10 boats visible, 3 off stern.

6knots – flying! 160 miles to the Rock, going swimmingly.

Difficult bit done, so now across the Irish Sea, around the rock, then the Scillies and into Portsmouth.

The Traffic Separation ship for the Channel is to port. We are well pleased.

The reporting system for this race is not exactly high tech – each position report is by mobile phone to a mobile phone answering service…..

[ed: as Alex called in this report I had just clicked through a link to an article in Runners World about Leroy Chiao, Alex and Pete’s astronaut mate – click here to read it. Talk about coincidences]

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 09, 2005 - 0845hrs UTC

0845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC 50’13”N 006’19”W

25 miles out into the Celtic sea and still with some much bigger boats. Either they’ve got it very wrong or we got lucky somewhere – we would not normally expect to see anyone at this stage in aHobartrace and we are the second slowest boat in the fleet.

Fluky sailing with dropping NE breeze, about 8-10 kts and we have the assy up, getting 5+ knots with apparents around 9-10,pointing at the Fastnet about 140 miles away. Just has to be good for the overall result.

A tiny finch-like bird – yellowish green chest, olive/brown/grey feathers, short fine pointy beak has just landed on the backstay – will send photo when we get back in range.

Tom & Vicky, Peter, Hugh, thanks for wise advice – seems to be working out ok so far. Just hope this zephyr holds out for the next three days or so. We leave the Fastnet to port from here, then the Pantaenius Buoy about 7 miles SW of the rock and the Scillies to port and Plymouth breakwater.

A proper breakfast Berri style has been consumed and we’re on the case…We have 2 cans of Dr Murphy’s medicinal potion per day for six days, so we must finish by Saturday.

[ed: some relevant links: here and here]… a classic quote from the Fastnet website:

Alcohol seems to lie at the heart of Berrimilla’s success in this race so far. This doublehanded 33-footer, sailed by Australian friends Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier, is beating boats far larger. In the absence of other crewmembers, Whitworth admits to “consulting with Dr Murphy in the day and Dr Gordon in the evening”, referring to his two morale-boosting tipples. There isn’t much rest for these two sailors, as the three hours on/ three hours off arrangement isn’t always feasible when the sailing gets difficult. “We’re trying to run with a very flat spinnaker at the moment, which is taking all of our concentration. But we just passed one of the Global Challenge boats [more than twice Berrimilla’s length], so we’re going well.”

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 09, 2005 - 1845hrs UTC

 1845hrs 09 Aug 2005 UTC 50’30”N 007’07”W

Here we are in unknown territory – we are some way past the point where I got to last time in 1961 in Leopard – scary stuff! Last time, we were in a force 9/10 storm just north of Lands End and ended up running down with it, with the genoa halyard jammed, the sail still up and every warp we had on the boat streaming behind us to slow us down. We found ourselves south west of the Scillies and ran out of time and retired, going back to theHelfordRiver. Quite a contrast – we’ve spent a lot of today in glassy calm with 2-3 knots of wind trying to keep the assy filled and drawing – we never stopped, but there was no speed registered on the log for a couple of hours – hand steering and fierce concentration.

Now in a 10 knot NEasterly and doing about 6 knots up the rhumb line. Woohoo! If it holds, we’ll be at the Rock tomorrow evening. It won’t, of course. We have no idea how we are doing – we’ve been close to lots of bigger boats but they all seem to be somewhat recreational so not really a good guide. No skeds, like in a Hobart, so we don’t know where the real competition is. We can see two other boats – both look larger than us but hard to tell.

From Joe S.

Hope all is going well with you on the voyage to the Rock.
I showed you the letter I sent to the Rolex mob amd asked them when they were aboard “”Hot Ice”” (in front of you at Lymington Yacht Haven) and they told me that it had been passed to whoever does these things to get a bit of coverage for the guys who arn’t always at the front and big. In fact, when we saw you off Hurst, you appeared to be doing bloody well even compared with the Maxis.
You kick arse and have a good trip!! Us plastic stink pots admire you greatly!
All the best, when we come to Sydney, we will give you a shout.

Thanks, Joe Sq, Peter C. and David – got your messages. Joe, we were going really well till your 2 plastic stinkpots went past making a true southern ocean swell just for us – all those heavyweights on board, I suppose. Took us till outside the Needles to recover… Thanks for making the point with the sponsors tho.

Both bearing up well – we’ve both missed out on sleep but when we do sleep, it’s pretty solid. 3 hours on, 3 off works well – we’re effectively sailing singlehanded for our watches and can’t afford to goof off. Get a bit bleary eyed at times. We can pull in the BBC on long wave out here, which helps to pass the time.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 10, 2005 - 0620hrs UTC

0620hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 50’45”N 008’10”W

Parked, we were, for a couple of hours in Berri’s first ever Irish parking lot. Except we never stopped moving, even though the log said we had. Just about half way across theCelticSeaand half way thro the race distance. Misty dawn, plate glass sea with small waves just enough to spill any wind we’d so carefully conserved in the sails. Bits of seaweed imperceptibly moving past with the tiny bubbles of passage and the little fan of ripples that doesn’t really qualify as a bow wave.

The breeze has just filled in from the NW – a feather brush against the cheek, then a ripple or two on the surface and – bliss – .01 knots on the log – .02, .03… We’ve tacked to the west – slightly better that going north and we’re making 5 knots on 290M WOOOHOOO. 4 other boats ahead to leeward, 2 astern, small ship on the northern horizon. Very occasionally, a seabird.

I can hear all the little Irish barnacles that grabbed us when we were parked laughing themselves silly as they clatter around this very sexy Oz bottom we’ve brought along for their greater edification and pleasure. I wonder if they are immune to Oz antifouling. Or processed medicinal potions.

Will be a special – almost Cape Horn- moment when we first sight the Fastnet. I’ve had it out there since 1961 and I’ve always hoped to be back to go and find it before SOTMC. (one for Malcom or Kris or Hugh). Teeny photos if we are in mobile range, but we still have 64 miles to go, so not till this evening and then only if we get lucky.


Leftovers from being too busy over the last few days – there was thistledown blowing across the water off Falmouth a couple of days ago – gentle white globes of fluff that sometimes settled in the water – lots and lots of it – lovely. The Lizard and Lands End – tide with us, luckily – ships everywhere, boats all around us, just able to keep the wind to get out into the Celtic sea. Floated past our friends on their Cornish cliff at 2 in the morning – I’m sure I saw a candle in the window behind Tater Du?


Great unbating of breath when the Shuttle landed.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 10, 2005 – 1000hrs UTC

1000hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 50’50”N 008’26”W

Becalmed good and proper. Kite just hanging limp – rolling with the swell. We’re too far out for any land effect on the breeze altho we’re getting some breeze from the Irish radio stations.

Do dolphins live in pods or schools? whatever, there’s been a crown of them around us cavorting and snorting – quite big ones and about 40 or 50.

Time to try the oldHobartcheater – very light tall thin cut down headsail that sometimes works to catch the wind from the boats roll.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 10, 2005 – 1615hrs UTC

1615hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 51’03”N 008’50”W

Difficult day but we’re progressing slowly. Irelandvisible and 35 miles to the Rock, but upwind. Maximus has finished, so the clock has been ticking since about 0830 this morning – not much chance of getting close to them on handicap but I think we’re still very much competitive in our class – maybe not in the 2 handed division tho – we’re flying blind – nobody knows where the opposition is. Still several bigger boats around us and we’re the second slowest rated boat in the race so something must be working. No idea where the slowest one is – I think I perfer the Hobartsystem but it wouldn’t work here because no-one has HF radio. We’re reporting in by satphone to a mobile phone message service and the press office are talking to us the same way. Don’t know where the articles are, but maybe on the www.yachtingmonthly.com site.

Long procession of kites returning from the Rock – we’re about 20 hours behind the ones we can see now.

Irish accents on all the radio stations – noice – and Berri is now further north than she’s ever been. Pete is hand steering and we’re doing it easy for the mo -as long as this fickle Murphy’s wind holds. We hope that Conor fromCorkwill be out near the Rock to say G’day in Gaelic but it will be around midnight if we get lucky, so maybe not. And probably no photos either.


1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 10, 2005 – 2045hrs UTC

2045hrs 10 Aug 2005 UTC 51’21”N 009’04”W

The Examiner is back. We are now headbutting a 25 knot NW wind with a short steep sea that makes life very uncomfortable. No 3 and one reef. The Fastnet is directly upwind at 19 miles – cant see it yet, tho its range is 27 miles. Have to catch its one flash every 15 secs when we are on top of a wave. Irish coast visible 9 miles ahead, traffic separation zone between us and the Rock. Looks like at least five hours if the wind holds as is – seems to be moderating a bit. All the other fast 2 handers will be hooning off downwind now – poo. Rumour has it we were 12th overall IRC some time yesterday, but we’ve probably fallen from grace since then.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 11, 2005 - 0236hrs UTC

0236hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 51’23”N 009’36”W

An update from the web team – thanks Mal – Berri rounded Fastnet at 2:36am and is in 113th place out of the 256 still sailing. 

This picture from Berri seems to show the Fastnet light (we think) as Berri rounded it…. We think…

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 11, 2005 – 0830hrs UTC

0830hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 51’01”N 009’06”W

We’ve turned for home – the numbers are decreasing in the header… We rounded the Fastnet at 0335 BST this morning – awesome experience – very dark night, lots of boats of all descriptions around and everything dominated by this huge light. It livee on a 30 metre tower on top of the rock and it flashes every 5 seconds. Not just any old flash – this one has attitude – it means to grab your attention. Range is 27 miles and it has (I think from memory), 4 lenses which therefore revolve once every 20 seconds. Underneath it, it feels like being under a massive spoked wheel with almost solid white spokes spearing off towards the horizon and rotating. Love to have seen it in daylight. The piccy is of one flash and I tried to get a bit of video but we were rather busy. More pics of other stuff, but we’re way out of range now.

There are still 18 boats behind us and we are hooning downwind averaging 6+ with the big purple and gold kite. There’s a boat called Alert, also 2 handed, on our starboard side and at least 4 others in sight. We’ve just been interrogated by the Irish Navy – very politely – and they wished us Godspeed. And, sadly, we were too late for Conor, who was waiting for us at the rock yesterday afternoon. Sorry mate – too many Irish parking lots out here.

Looks like we’ll miss the prizegiving on Friday – tomorrow but they promised us all another one on Saturday. Thanks for all your messages and good wishes. We’ll give it a shake.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 11, 2005 - 1505hrs UTC

1505hrs 11 Aug 2005 UTC 50’31”N 008’12”W

All y’all may get a message from Andy Rice saying that we could win this thing on handicap if we finish by 0220 on Saturday. I think he really means we could beat the line honours winner, Maximus. There are a lot of other boats still out on the course who could do the same and also beat us, so don’t get too excited.

Having said which, we will be Consulting frequently to ensure that we don’t miss any opportunity to go faster. At least until we run out of the good Dr Murphy’s medicament. No bloody sleep for the wicked – again. We have to average just over 5 knots to do it, I think. A gobsmackingly small possibility, given the bits we still have to sail through, but just on the cards.

So watch this space.

[ed: press release via Andy Rice (thanks):

Alex and Peter are storming along in the Fastnet. It has turned into a small-boat race. Here is an extract from the press release for Berrimilla followers:

Weather expert Mike Broughton’s analysis of the weather suggests the westerly breezes should hold steady for the next 48 hours. The wind could vary in strength from 10 to 15 knots over the next day, then start building during late Friday night.

Broughton’s forecast will be sweet music to the slowest boats in the fleet, still running downwind from the Fastnet Rock. Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier were enjoying the best sailing conditions of the race this afternoon, their Brolga 33 Berrimilla making a very respectable 7 knots’ boatspeed in a 16-18 knot north-westerly. “We’re going like the clappers, this is by far the best breeze we’ve seen. We’ve been having a ball,” he said.

Whitworth and Crozier are not professional racers, but two friends on a global adventure. Having sailed their boat up from Sydney, they plan to sail back via the Cape of Good Hope to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race this Christmas. Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race had never even entered their minds, and on hearing that they were in the running, Whitworth still refused to believe his ears. On current progress Berrimilla would cover the remaining 180 miles to Plymouth by 1730 Friday evening, and yet such is her handicap rating that she could still beat ICAP Maximus’s time if she arrived by 0220 hours Saturday morning. “I rate our chances of doing that no better than 2 per cent,” said Whitworth. “The boat you should be watching is Aye! We saw her earlier and she is sailing very well.”

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 12, 2005 – 0700hrs UTC

0700hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC 49’53”N 005’53”W

Bishop Rk @ 0400, eta Lizard around 1200 local, earliest possible finish around 2100 if we get really lucky. If you have Andy Rice’s email address, please forward to him. Ta.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 12, 2005 – 1213hrs UTC

1213hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC 50’00”N 004’59”W

Lizard astern, Plymouth and the finish in about 7 hours. Sadly, not in the money, but not a bad result – will be in touch again later. Knackered and smelly and still lots of work to do. G&T to follow as restorative but not deodorant

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 12, 2005 – 1933hrs UTC

1933hrs 12 Aug 2005 UTC Plymouth

We finished at 193355 and cracked second in the 2 handed division – half an hour behind Pascal Loisin – google him. Will try to do proper update on shorebased pc tomoz.

1-17. Fastnet Race 2005 (with qualifier)

Aug 13, 2005 - 0800hrs UTC │Plymouth

0800hrs 13 Aug 2005 UTC Plymouth

The morning after. Pete and I went to bed really early last night – 2 consultations, a big plate of lasagne at the yacht club and a visit to a huge catamaran that a friend was on and that was it.

Checked the results this morning and it’s true – we really did crack second in the 2 hander and 11th overall. Blimey! Andif we’d had the tide for the last leg into Plymouth, we’d probably have won the 2 hander. Having said all of which, it was very much a small boat race. All the top few boats arrived at the Fastnet at exactly the right time to catch the sleigh ride home. We flew the big purple kite all the way from the Pantaenius turning mark 7 miles SW of the Rock to Mevagissey, past the Lizard. 18 – 20 knots on the quarter and clocking sustained periods of 8 knots plus. WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! Wearing Malcolm’s daggy hat. A slightly hairy bit approaching Bishop Rock where we had to sail dead downwind in biggish following sea to get around but no dramas.

We put up the assy almost immediately after dropping the biggie and ploughed past the Eddystone right on the edge to within a mile of the finish at the Breakwater. That’s probably what got us into second place – we were doing 7.5 – 8 knots with the lee gunwale awash and lots of overpower against a 1.5 knot tide for 50 miles. Grand – Berri was wonderful.

I’ve just heard Pete open our very last can of Smoothie – cheers.

Rations minimised for the race – got it just about right – ran out of tsnk water in the marina! – half an hour too late. Cant win em all.

And now the press and the TV mob are looking for us. Prizegiving around mid-day.


Lot’s of articles on http://www.regattanews.com

Photos here

[ed: 11th overall, 8th in class, 2nd two handed, details here, the map is here , and Fastnet Piccies are here including the awards ceremony and a damn big trophy!]: