27th October 05
One of the Trust’s skippers, David Stones (2nd from the left), trained and led an 11-strong crew in one of the world’s classic ocean races this year – The Fastnet. The team raised £1,400 for the Trust in personal sponsorship.
The biannual race started at Cowes on the Isle of Wight rounded the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in the Irish Sea and finished 610 miles later in Plymouth Harbour
David and his team raced Yacht Azzurra, a Beneteau First 47.7, from http://www.YachtVentures.com and finished 31st in class – an excellent result for the novice crew. The team took four days, 18 hours and 33 minutes.
“The race was quite slow this year because the wind was very light. It was a tactical race that called for patience and an instinct for the wind.” said David. “One of the highlights for the crew was a dawn watch where they witnessed a pod of 100 dolphins surrounding the boat. Some of the crew were disappointed that there was no foul weather and life threatening conditions, but David encouraged them to soak up the Mediterranean conditions and hone their wind sensing skills.
However, “By contrast the winds for the three qualifying cross Channel races were strong, making the races physically exhausting,” adds David. “Sleep was minimal as sailing non-stop requires a continuous and debilitating four-hour watch system. Even the simple tasks, like boiling a kettle, become quite hazardous at a 25-degree angle with rolling two-metre waves.”
The 2005 Fastnet was David’s third Fastnet but his first as skipper. Next year he plans to skipper the Round Britain and Ireland Race. He first sailed dinghies at 16 in his local duck pond.