Why a stormy Fastnet Race would be a worry for this year's short-handed circumnavigators


As the RORC debates the wisdom of a 24-hour postponement to the Rolex Fastnet Race due to a severe weather forecast, one group of skippers will be quite content to let the worst pass over. They are the 18 sailors entered for the Barcelona World Race this autum. Those feelings will, I am sure, be shared by Cowes-based race organisers OC Group.

The Fastnet Race is the official prologue race for the two-handed round the world race, but a stormy ride could spell trouble. Although the start is three months away, any critical failures such as mast or keel problems among the Open 60s now (and we’ve already seen Pindar dismasted this week) could have a big knock-on effect. Several teams with new builds, including Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss and the OC Group’s own entry, Estrella Damm, have yet to to sail the compulsory 2,200-mile qualifier.

Another crew that will not be looking forward to storm force conditions is Pete Goss’s. Goss is sailing his lightweight Seacart 30 trimaran (pictured above) with former Team Philips crewmembers Paul Larsen and Andy Hindley. In ideal conditions, they’d be relishing a David and Goliath battle and spurring the super-fast little multihull past yachts twice the size.

But slamming upwind to the Scillies in a boat that was never designed for serious offshore work? That would not be fun.