After almost a year training and racing together, our Club crew sets off on their Fastnet adventure at 1520 on Saturday 22 July.
They will face 690nm together on 2 watches and will race to Lands End, across the Irish Sea to the Fastnet Rock then back round the Isles of Scilly to finish in Cherbourg,
Representing the pinnacle of Lloyd’s Yacht Club’s adventures, the race can be followed live (see below).
We are hugely grateful to our sponsors Knight Frank, Ark and Aon.
The Race – follow Lutine LIVE
For only the second time, but a first for Lutine, the race will end in Cherbourg adding 90nm to the original course and providing some interesting navigational challenges across the hugely tidal sweeps of the Alderney Race.
You can follow the whole race live via RORC’s tracker at https://yb.tl/fastnet2023 or https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/competitors/race-documents/fleet-tracking
Or you can download the race on the YB Tracking app (Android and iOS) https://www.ybtracking.com/yb-races-app
Watch the Rolex Fastnet Race start
BLOG from the crew
James Brady “Fastnet is a true team endeavour where everyone’s contribution drives us towards success. I’ll be on the foredeck during the race, doing my part, and I’m most looking forward to the sights and sounds of the offshore world, whether the sunsets, the stars or the occasional dolphin. The low points are likely to be the 1.45am wake up calls for the overnight watch, although there’s a certain camaraderie on that one that gets us through. The campaign so far has been a lot of fun with plenty of opportunities to sharpen our racing skills and a lot of time spent with a cracking crew”.
Marta Michalska “It will be a wild ride of emotions, beauty sleep, best wind swept hairstyle, comfortable conditions below deck, endless hours of ‘’I spy’’ games and exciting chats about weather – I simply cannot wait to do it with the best team I could think of. I am most looking forward to gracefully, lightning fast, leaping from deck to the bow whilst enjoying the thrill of constant salty sea spray in a latest fashion show of my gear. I am most dreading the horrifying moment on the cold and long mid night shift when I realise best chocolate bars are gone. My role is a bowwoman – aka cirque du soleil acrobat, expert at detangling endless, forever surprising knot combinations, source of entertainment for the crew whilst breaking the waves with own body and pretending you’re loving it, all at 45 degree angle of course 😉”
Tom Bailey “This is my third Fastnet but the first on the new Lutine where I am Watch Leader (Port). We have a wonderful crew and doing it with a couple of family members will make it a memory I cherish for life. The campaign to date has been excellent. The crew gel perfectly under the direction of James and he has taught us all so much that we have seen significant tangible improvements. The highlight for me was the Myth of Malham which saw periods of no wind and the last 18 hours at 35 knots. Each and every one of the crew performed perfectly without missing a beat in both extremes. I am most looking forward to beating my French cousin in his boat over the finish line and most dreading the smell of the boat and the crew at the end of the race.”
Steve Hill “The Fastnet challenge for me embodies technical learning, teamwork, the taking of decision with risk and the sum of many factors leading to a race that rightly deserves to be in pinnacle position within the offshore sailing world. The campaign to date has been well organised. There have been challenging moments which have been countered by a crew that has come together with good camaraderie and a sense of fun. I most look forward to being put into a situation outside my comfort zone and hopefully rising to the challenge and learning how to really sail but I most dread encountering fog. My crew role is mainsail trim and weatherman.”
Noreen Boyhan “After the incredible Fastnet race aboard Lutine in 2019, I couldn’t wait to do it all over again. This time, I’ll be in on sail trim, as part of an awesome crew. The lead-up campaign has been a whirlwind of intense training sessions, tactical discussions, and a lot of laughter and banter on the group chat. I can’t wait to round the Fastnet rock once more, although there’s a bittersweet feeling knowing the campaign (with this amazing bunch) will eventually come to an end.”
Richard Laver “Being in one of the worlds most iconic sailing races on board Lutine is a dream come true. My role is bowman and reserve nav. The crew have gelled brilliantly and James guidance, support and wisdom have been incredibly valuable. Rounding the iconic Fastnet rock will be the real highlight.”
Tim Blackstone “It’s 10 years since my last Fastnet on the old Lutine and I’m hoping that, even with the extra 90nm, the X-55 gets us to the beer tent even quicker! My role as Watch Leader (Starboard) is a huge responsibility but hardly seems it when all the crew is so well-trained and such fun company. I have the secret stash of Jelly Babies, as ever, reserved for the deepest night watches. It’s hard to imagine how we could have better leadership than James, I’ve learned a huge amount.”
Richard Trevethick “The race is an opportunity to participate in a famous and challenging event. The campaign to date has been a lot of fun and a steep learning experience having been a relaxed and very part-time sailor to date. I’m really looking forward to the feeling of being properly offshore, experiencing the power of the ocean and hoping not to succumb to seasickness at any point. I’m on the main but will be looking to help in whatever way I can to ensure we have a successful and enjoyable campaign.”
Julienne Kerr “The Fastnet Race is an iconic bucket list challenge. It’s that sweet spot distance between long ocean crossings and inshore racing. Wow, what a lovely crew! James’s coaching has been brilliant. I’m most looking forward to helming in perfect conditions but most dreading rainy night watches! My crew role is Pit.”
Christopher Bailey “I’m extremely excited to be part of the Fastnet crew this year and proud that Knight Frank are the main sponsor. The team training weekends and the two RORC races have transformed all of us as a crew and individuals in terms of team cohesion, understanding our own role and each other’s role on board and huge amounts of learning, understanding and reminders. As the navigator in supporting our fantastic skipper, James, I can’t wait to step up to the challenges that the Fastnet will present.”
Tom Seaman “I have always wanted to have a shot at the Fastnet and have always managed to come up with lots of reasons not to. But when the opportunity came up this year, which is also my 50th, it seemed that the stars were telling me I should get on with it! The build up has been a lot more intense than I was expecting and certainly requires a lot of commitment, but now that we are only days away it is clear that every bit has been worth it. The whole team are in this to race – there are no passengers – and I think we are all looking forward to measuring up against the usual suspects who we have been vying with over the campaign so far, and hopefully coming out on top. My main role is foredeck but I am also responsible for the victualling. To be honest I am not sure which is harder….”
Nigel Ford “This is my second Fastnet, being the only veteran on this 2023 crew of Lutine’s 2017 campaign. I’m pitman on the Port watch and one of two ‘weather girls’ with responsibility for weather forecasts. As in 2017, I’ve loved the way that we have gelled as a crew over the build-up races and the training weekends, and I look forward to greeting my crewmates in years to come knowing we have a special shared experience.”
George Bailey “To me the Fastnet race is a test of your skill as a sailor, your ability to work well as a team and the test of your mind. So far my campaign highlights have been the strong winds during the second night of the Myth of Malham race and also getting to know the many other crew. I am most looking forward to rounding the Fastnet lighthouse and the feeling of crossing the finish line, hopefully! I cannot say I am looking forward to the night watch routine as it is not suited to teenagers! My crew role is trimming, port watch.”
And the last word must surely go to our skipper, James Close…
“This will be my 4th Fastnet race, first in 2013 as a first mate on a Beneteau First 36.7, the next two were as skipper on Fortissimo, a Class 40 offshore ocean race boat that we operated commercially. It is my first Fastnet on Lutine, but I am in the fortunate position of knowing the boat extremely well now after 4 years with LlYC. I also know all the crew very well, over many years in some cases and we have had lots of opportunities to train together and build a great team.
I am excited by the challenge on Lutine and am really pleased that in the Club’s full-on schedule, this event gives us a chance to develop a crew, with mixed initial experience, into a cohesive team with everyone able to focus on a particular role on the boat. It’s been a great pleasure to get to know everyone even more over the last 12 months of the campaign and above all, I know we have a crew who will work really well together and race hard all the way to the line.”
Very many thanks on behalf of the Club and the crew for the support of our three sponsors who have powered us to a record-breaking level of sponsorship…