Fastnet organisers to make final decision on whether to postpone the start at 1600 11/8/07

In light of the recent weather forecasts predicting severe gales reaching 60-70mph affecting the southern and western coastal areas during Tuesday and Wednesday, the organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race are considering the possibility of postponing the start.

A more recent forecast however, shows conditions slightly less severe but the Trish Jenkins The RORC’s press liason officer told this morning that a skippers’ briefing will be held at Cowes at 1600 to announce the final outcome. “The RORC are considering postponing the start by 24 hours. The start is planned at the moment to go ahead at 1000 in the morning but obviously with the big low coming in over the Atlantic and Newfoundland there are concerns for the fleet.”

Clearly there is a lot of concern among the 300 entries who’ll be lining up on the start line for the Fastnet with some saying that a delay will do them no favours at all. Chatting about postponement possibility Marcus Wilson from RAFSA who’s skippering the J/109 Red Arrow said: “Yes we are highly concerned but we’ll do what we need to do. We’ll get more of an idea with the forecasts later today. Looking at the tracking of the low however, I can’t see the 24-hour delay helping us at all, it will hit us at some point.”

Wilson who raced this boat in last year’s double-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race is this time part of an eight-strong team. There is a total of 10 J/109s taking part in this race some of which are going two-up.

Steve White who’s hoping to race the Vendee Globe next year will be racing the Fastnet doublehanded with David Melville aboard the aging Open 60 Spirit of Weymouth. This boat, which was originally Pindar, then Gartmore is in full racing mode again ready for the big one tomorrow.

Chatting about his predictions for the race White told “For us the weather would be absolutely perfect. We’d like it to go ahead whatever, but I can understand it’s a different call for the smaller boats that will be out the. Our boat would excel in those conditions, she has the original shorter rig, and when it blows she really comes into her own. In light air Akena Verandas which has a similar hull, has had loads of money spent on her upgrading her rig and in the lighter airs she’s fast, particularly upwind. She’s the one we’ll be keeping an eye on.”