Fastnet 79

About Fastnet 79

The 1979 Fastnet Race remains the worst disaster in the history of offshore racing. Fifteen race crew lost their lives, as did four from a trimaran shadowing the race and two from a cruising boat unfortunate to be in the area at the time. Now, 30 years on, we look at various aspects of that storm and the lessons learnt.

Fastent 1979 Winner

Alan Kerr

The story of Alan Ker

Alan Ker, then 23, was skipper of Assent, a Contessa 32 he still owns and sails with his father Willie. He was racing with four friends between 18 and 25, all of whom were experienced offshore...

The Survivor of the Fastnet 79 race

Stuart Quarrie

Stuart Quarrie's story

Stuart Quarrie, then 23, was navigator on board the OOD 34 Griffin. Along with Peter Conway and skipper Neil Graham he was one of three instructors from the National Sailing Centre and was racing...

The Rescue Fastnet 79

See a map of the rescue

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, then at Land's End, bore the brunt of the early stages of the disaster and progressively Nimrod aircraft from Kinloss, helicopters from Culdrose, Chivenor...

Fastnet 79 Enquiry

Life raft

A lesson learned

The official inquiry led to the most the most definitive report into the safety and performance of small craft - changing sailing standards forever...