After a morale-boosting first day, Ed Stacey has reported sail damage from the navigation station of the Challenge 67 Ecover, formerly Mike Golding’s BT Global-winning Group 4, taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race

“Our first full day passed without the excitement of Sunday, however the breeze remained consistent and we finally made it past Lizard Point and were able to bear away towards Land’s End around midnight. Then the fun and games began around daybreak.

“We were reaching along nicely under full main, staysail and the big genoa. It was decided that we should hoist the Code 5 spinnaker to get some serious speed up. We were bounding along nicely at 10 knots and over, and those of us on the foredeck were getting a much-needed shower.

“Then Boom! Our spinnaker exploded, the Group 4 logo landing about 50ft from the stern and now floating in the Irish Sea ready to trip up a pursuing yacht. Three further sail changes followed in the next hour thanks to another tear, this time in the No.1 Yankee.

“We are presently lying 131nm from Fastnet Rock but still making an impressive nine knots. The crew are in fine form and have settled well into the two-watch system. The sea has been pretty flat allowing those off watch to rest well and also to recover from the seasickness that affected some on the first lumpy night.

“Our skipper, Denise Caffari is floating between the two watches so both can benefit from her vast experience aboard this yacht as well as her dazzling personality. The watches are being led by the other two permanent crew: Mikey Ferguson and Alex Piper.

“Together, they make an easy going, likeable trio and they have to be. When they are not managing slick, well-oiled racing crews and providing support to Mike Golding’s Open 60 campaign, they run corporate days and longer offshore challenges: places are still available on the ARC this November.

Hand picked by Mike Golding, they have inherited quite a legacy. This 67ft Challenge yacht has completed two BT Challenges (winning in the ’96-’97 event) and until last year held the solo westabout record, now taken by Philippe Monnet’s Open 60 UUNET.

Meanwhile, the focus is on this year’s Fastnet. We are keen to do well, especially to beat the other Challenge yacht taking part. So now for some well earned sleep before getting around some rock or other before being reunited with dry land sometime in the next couple of days.

Ed Stacey