As the fleet dribbles in to Plymouth, Mike Kopman reports from aboard the Irish entry Nicorette.

YW’s Mike Kopman was aboard the Whitbread Maxi Nicorette for the race.

“It’s been a frustratingly light race, really not the kind of conditions we needed. Most of the fleet missed a tidal gate and we spent a couple of hours wallowing of Portland Bill, even resorting to the anchor.”

Charles Dunstone’s Reichel Pugh 76 Nokia – Connecting People is currently the favourite to win. There is still a small chance that a smaller boat could come in to take handicap honours, but it is unlikely that any contenders will finish in the necessary time. The first four boats home, Alfa Romeo, Zephyrus, Nokia and Leopard, were almost 24 hours ahead of the next batch to finish.

“When you mention the Fastnet, most people invariably think of the horrendous conditions of the ’79 race. This year couldn’t have been further from that. The light stuff was the most testing with very little breeze over 25 knots for us. We did have some glorious sailing tho’, reaching at a steady 12 knots on a beautifully flat, moonlit sea. We had a great time out there, a slow race, but we really enjoyed ourselves. The Irish crew were brilliant, not just in their handling of the boat. We all had a really good laugh.”

Although not a contender for overall honours, Sebastien Josse’s VMI was the first Open 60 home in a six boat fleet.