Over 90 boats retire within 24 hours of Fastnet Race start 14/8/07

The latest news from the Fastnet Race shows 93 boats having retired from the 271-strong fleet which set off from Cowes yesterday.

According to Trish Jenkins – from Fastnet Press office based in Plymouth – yachts have been streaming into Plymouth and other ports along the Devon and Cornwall coastline to seek shelter from the raging gale force winds and atrocious sea state.

One of the race’s hot favourite, the super-maxiAlfa Romeoretired last night at 2250 in winds gusting up to 40 knots. Apparently the yacht’s owner Neville Crichton and crew were concerned about the conditions at Land’s End, commenting: “We had made a decision before the race to assess the conditions at Land’s End. It’s hard to just throttle back – we were match-racing along the coast with Leopard, on port tack with a triple-reef in the main and had just cracked sheets when the mainsail tore. While this damage was minor we were more concerned with the possibility of damaging the rig.”

Alfa Romeois now back safely in Gosport.

Roland Jourdain on Open 60Veoliais currently in Plymouth with an intention to continue the race see previous news story here. 

Latest news shows two dismastings includingJambalaya, a J/105 off Salcombe in Devon, andOz Privateerthe Swan 47.Arielalso has forestay problems and is currently anchored off Plymouth Sound.

Meanwhile those still racing are heading towards the Fastnet Rock and leading the fleet right now isRambler- George David’s Reichiel Pugh-designed 90 footer, followed by Mike Slade’sICAP Leopard, Vincent Riou aboard Open 60PRB 2,Hugo Boss(Alex Thomson), andTemenos(Dominic Wavre).

Fortunately the casualties to crew have been reported as minor although there is news of a crew member with a broken leg taken into Plymouth.

More news when we have it.