Lutine and her crew participated in the last build-up race of the 2023 Fastnet campaign from Sat 27th to Monday 29th May; the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Myth of Malham Race, which provided the crew with a great opportunity to experience the first third of the Fastnet route.
The course of 235nm took the fleet from Cowes to the Eddystone Lighthouse, south of Plymouth, before returning to the Solent to finish near the Needles lighthouse. The record fleet of 147 boats started downwind under spinnaker and was quite the sight from Cowes after the 08.20 start gun on Saturday morning.
This race takes in some of the most challenging and complex tidal gates around notable headlands that include Portland Bill and Start Point and the first part of Lutine’s race was downwind in relatively light breezes and at some stages a complete shut down. In addition to the very striking Lloyd’s branded asymmetric spinnaker, the club’s Code Zero foresail got a taste of racing action and proved excellent for keeping Lutine pointing higher into wind than the pursuing fleet.
Rounding Eddystone lighthouse at 9am on Sunday in calm conditions was followed by a testing return leg upwind. Heading south to the TSS in the middle of the channel to find more wind, the crew weren’t disappointed: by late Sunday evening the promised storm appeared from the East with peak apparent wind across the deck gusting to 35 knots overnight (Beaufort 7). Bashing into choppy seas the crew showed great determination throughout the night in the cold and dark. Lutine crossed the finish line at 08:50 on Monday and finished 10th in her class, IRC Zero, after handicap rating was applied.
NMD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA) was the overall winner and runner-up was RORC Commodore James Neville in the debut race for his brand-new Carkeek 45 Ino Noir (GBR).
This was the last qualifying race for Lutine ahead of the Rolex Fastnet and the Skipper James Close and crew of 13 are now ready to take on the challenge on July 22nd.