Fastnet 2017 Start ( Photo © Barry James Wilson )

Sunday 6 August 2017

The Solent laid on ‘classic’ conditions for the start of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 47th Rolex Fastnet Race. In brilliant sunshine and with brisk westerly winds gusting up to 20 knots, the giant fleet tacked up the western Solent before compressing through the usual bottleneck at Hurst Narrows. A record-sized fleet of 368 boats started the race, 12 more than two years ago, confirming the Rolex Fastnet Race’s position as the world’s largest offshore yacht race.

(Photo © Barry James Wilson)

(Photo © Barry James Wilson)


The first start got underway at 11:00 BST for the nine multihulls and within minutes, the blue three-hulled streak that is Concise 10 had pulled out a lead, frequently heeling to an alarming degree, just one hull immersed.


By the time IRC One was starting at 12:20 Tony Lawson’s MOD 70, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, was already off Poole. Crewman Paul Larsen, who five years ago became the world’s fastest sailor setting a world record of 65.45 knots, reported Concise 10 was sailing under reefed mainsail and staysail. “We’re making 20 knots tacking past Poole and just dropping into the watch system. Glamour start conditions in the Solent. I can just see the next boats clearing Hurst Castle.” However Larsen warned that unless the wind freed up, there was little chance for them to break the multihull race record. By 1500 Concise 10 was already level with Portland Bill.

The multihulls were followed away from Cowes by two other ‘non-IRC’ classes – the nine doublehanded IMOCA 60s and twenty seven Class40s. Given the upwind conditions, the older, conventionally foiled IMOCA 60s were prevailing. At 1630 Paul Meilhat and Jules Verne Trophy record holder crewman Gwénolé Gahinet aboard SMA, the 2012-3 Vendee Globe (and the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race) winner as MACIF, were leading the 60s past Portland Bill. The first ‘foil-assisted’ IMOCA 60 was favourite Alex Thomson and Nicholas O’Leary on Hugo Boss in third place, taking a northerly route, close to the land.

In the Class40s present championship leader Phil Sharp on board Imerys led past St Alban’s Head, but later there was little too choose with the British boat neck and neck for the lead in this incredible fleet with the Maxime Sorel-skippered V And B, Burkhard Keese’s Stella Nova, Benoit Charon’s LMAX Normandie and race veteran Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France.

The five IRC handicap classes, chasing the race’s overall prize of the Fastnet Challenge Cup started with the smallest boats first at 1120.

This afternoon at 1600, the IRC One fleet had fanned out across the course to the southeast of St Alban’s Head. James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX was leading the charge inshore as Staffan Wincrantz’s Arcona 465 SALT 2.0 was ahead on the water to the south, just ahead of the venerable 1960s maxi Kialoa II, owned by Patrick Broughton.


Mid-afternoon, competitors in IRC Two were favouring the inshore route with Dutchman Frans Rodenburg’s First 40 Elke, closest to St Alban’s Head at 1620, with class favourite Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia nearby.

Marc Alperovitch’s JPK 1080, Timeline in the largest class – IRC 3 © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The IRC Three boats were following a similar tactic with the offshore tack being less popular. Having started 20 minutes earlier, they were still successfully fending off the advances of the larger, faster IRC Two fleet. The Russian JPK 10.80, Igor Rytov’s Boyatyr, was leading the pack inshore while the brilliantly-named Seafarers Ale Anticipation, the First 40.7 of former 470 Olympian Pete Newlands, was ahead on the water offshore.

The inshore-offshore spread was more evenly distributed among the smallest boats in IRC Four. Here Noel Racine’s impeccably sailed JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was ahead inshore while Dan Rigden’s Elan 37 Tacktic was furthest down the track out to sea.

The last to start were the largest in the IRC fleet, IRC Zero, including the line honours contenders George David’s Rambler 88 and Ludde Ingvall’s 100ft CQS. By 1520 Rambler 88 was off and close into St Alban’s Head, leading IRC Zero on the water just ahead of the biggest boat in the fleet, the 115ft Nikata.

Rambler 88 (Photo © Barry James Wilson)

Rambler 88 (Photo © Barry James Wilson)

Rambler 88 (Photo © Barry James Wilson)

Rambler 88 (Photo © Barry James Wilson)

Among the seven one design VO65s competing in ‘Leg 0’ of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, it was very close, with the Charles Caudrelier-skippered Dongfeng Race Team a nose ahead and making 12.3 knots but facing a threat from Team Brunel, skippered again by Dutch race veteran Bouwe Bekking, making 12.5 as the boats passed St Alban’s Head.

This morning Xabi Fernández, skipper of MAPFRE, looked forward to the race: “Once out of the Solent it will be upwind sailing up to the Fastnet rock, and finally we will sail downwind towards Plymouth. This is the first time I’ve competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race. It is a historic race, much like the Rolex Sydney Hobart.”

Joan Vila, MAPFRE’s legendary navigator confirmed the forecast: “Once we leave the Solent, the wind will blow at around 20 knots. From there, it will drop until tomorrow morning, with the probability of encountering areas of very light wind. As we get closer to Plymouth, the wind will build again.”

Ned Collier Wakefield and twenty-one year old Sam Goodchild  (Photo copyright Team Concise)

The only all-British crew in this year’s Transat Jacques Vabre can’t wait to get racing. With just ten days to go, supercharged are heading for the start-line in France. Twenty-three year old Ned Collier Wakefield and twenty-one year old Sam Goodchild.
The duo are the youngest crew ever to take part in the iconic double-handed ocean classic that runs from Le Havre, France to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. It’s over 4500 miles of some of the roughest passages in the world. This will be the longest, hardest and most prestigious race both sailors have ever done.

The last two weeks have been spent training and carrying out final preparations to their Class 40 boat, Concise 2 in Hamble.

Sam Goodchild: “Training in the Solent has been going well. It’s been short but intense. We’ve combined fine tuning of boat-work with carefully stocking Concise with the food and spares we need for the race. We have also had some serious medical checks.We were both wired up for an ECG last week to make sure we’re fit enough for the race and had no hidden weaknesses The good news is we both passed!”

Sam and Ned will be living on a mixture of freeze-dried and boil-in-the-bag meals as well as 800 calorie super porridge for breakfast. Snacks of dried fruit, nuts. and energy bars will supplement their diets. They’ve got enough food onboard for 25 days but they hope the race will take no more than 23. After that it’s short rations..

Ned Collier Wakefield: “I’m eating a lot of carbs right now! Eight thousand calories a day. When I did the Round Britain and Ireland race I lost 10 kilos in 9 days! When we’re offshore we should be eating a minimum of 4000 calories a day and when cold and wet that should increase to 6000 ”.

The race will be a massive test for these young sailors. For Sam, it’s his first ever transatlantic race and the first double-handed transatlantic race for Ned.

Ned Collier Wakefield: “We will be on a flexible watch system. Depending on the conditions and point of sail there will be at least one of us on deck at all times. Both of us will be on deck for every race maneuver such as sail changes. Damage to a sail could mean the end of the race for us, so we have to be careful.”

Sam Goodchild: “We’ll sleep on our giant waterproof beanbag. We try to get 3-4 hours of sleep a day depending on the conditions but if it cuts up rough we could go for days without proper rest.

There are 16 boats in their class but Concise 2 is the only one using the North Sails 3Di technology. With it’s state off the art pilot system, sophisticated navigational equipment and determined crew, Concise 2 is looking for a good result.

Ned Collier Wakefield: “Although we’re racing against many other Class 40s there are subtle differences between us, our challenge is not to match the other boats but to beat them!”
Concise  (Photo copyright Team Concise)

Concise (Photo copyright Team Concise)

The German Youth Team will be racing on the Andrews 56 Norddeutcshe Vermoegen Hamburg (shown here at the 2007 HSH Nordbank Blue Race) in the Transatlantic Race 2011. (Photo courtesy of Nico Krauss)

The German Youth Team will be racing on the Andrews 56 Norddeutcshe Vermoegen Hamburg (shown here at the 2007 HSH Nordbank Blue Race) in the Transatlantic Race 2011. (Photo courtesy of Nico Krauss)

Among the 30-strong fleet preparing to compete in the Transatlantic Race 2011 in late June and early July, there are at least as many variations on the theme of traversing 2,975 nautical miles of ocean stretching from the start in Newport, R.I., to the finish at The Lizard on the coast of Cornwall in Southwestern England. For some, sailing across the Atlantic in this race, co-organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, is about the chance to sail into the history books, while for a younger generation of sailors it is about building a foundation for future success in the sport.

A growing contingent of younger competitors is seeking sailing opportunities beyond the inshore dinghy programs typically offered at yacht clubs, high schools and colleges. The young sailors making up the Oakcliff All American Offshore Team (AAOT) on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) IRC 65 Vanquish and the German team on the Andrews 56 Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg are two groups who are taking advantage of the Transatlantic Race 2011 to expand their skills and hopefully build reputations as the next wave of capable ocean racers.

The German team is organized by Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt e.V., an organization founded in 1903 in Hamburg with the express goal of maintaining seagoing vessels and training young people, both physically and temperamentally, to become skilled mariners. The German crew looks to be the youngest in the race, with an average age of 22.5, but has experience that belies their years as all have offshore experience from racing long and short distances as well as making passages on the Mediterranean, Baltic and North Seas.

“This specific team never sailed together before,” said Eike Holst whose third Transatlantic Race will be his first as skipper. “We all knew each other and almost everyone sailed together somehow but never in this constellation. This is caused by the structure of our club. For example, me and my navigator, Max Wilckens, sailed together exactly in these positions in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, finishing second in our division, and we sailed together with one other crewmember, Katrin Hilbert, in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race when Max was one of the watch officers and I sailed as bowman.”

Holst selected the team to undertake the Transatlantic Race 2011 “with good advice of Max,” and noted that while most of the crew participated together in an ISAF Survival at Sea Seminar in March as well as in “teambuilding meetings” during the winter, the first time they all sailed together was in April. When Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg, launched in 1999, departs with the 15 other boats during the second start (June 29), Holst and his crew will have spent close to three weeks in Newport making their final preparations for the race.

“Probably we’ll be the youngest crew in the race this year and we’re really curious what the race will bring,” said Holst. “In long distance racing everything is possible, so let’s see what a young crew will achieve with an ‘old’ boat.”

Learning of the German entry in the Transatlantic Race 2011 was all the motivation Ralf Steitz, President of the USMMA Sailing Foundation, needed to form the Oakcliff AAOT earlier this year. Steitz brought his long-held desire to establish a youth-driven ocean racing movement to fruition with the backing of other leaders on the U.S. sailing scene, and, once the program was announced, saw 250 applications pour in over four weeks from sailors anxious to seize the opportunity. The average age of the 14 Oakcliff AAOT members who will race aboard Vanquish is 23.75, and, like the young German team, with just a few short months to prepare they will get a crash-course in working as a cohesive unit during their participation in Storm Trysail Club’s Around Block Island Race and the Annapolis to Newport Race prior to making the third start (July 3) of the Transatlantic Race 2011.

“I really enjoy sailing offshore,” said Nate Fast (Noank, Conn.), who will celebrate his 20th birthday two days before starting the race and is the youngest member of Oakcliff AAOT. “I did the 2008 Bermuda Race, which was my introduction to the high level and complexity of offshore sailing. Being the youngest means I have to work that much harder, but that will probably help me because I’ll be trying to prove myself. Offshore sailing is a lot of fun and a great experience and I hope to continue with it after this race.”

Both the American and German teams qualify as youth entries in the Transatlantic Race 2011, meaning that at least 50% of the crew is age 25 or younger on the date of that yacht’s start in the race. In addition to respective class honors, the two teams will vie for the Venona Trophy, which will be awarded to the highest placing youth entry.

“Of course we want to win this trophy!,” said Holst. “But it’s going be really hard work for us. The Oakcliff AAOT has a really young but very professional crew (some of them are sailing in the RC44 circuit regularly) and for sure the faster and newer boat. Crossing the finishing line in front of them would be great but probably as hard as beating them by corrected time. Of course we also have quite a lot of experience in offshore sailing but in a different way. The focus in our club lies on good seamanship and education for becoming skilled mariners but this doesn’t imply that we’re becoming professional offshore sailors. But besides that we’re having regular contact with Oakcliff AAOT and are looking forward to meeting them and having fun together in Newport.”

More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – will feature 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length. In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.

The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.

For more information, visit

TR 2011 Roster of Entries
Yacht Name, Skipper, Hometown

Ambersail, Simonas Steponavicius, Vilnius, Lithuania
Beau Geste, Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, China
British Soldier, Lt. Col. Nick Bate, Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.
Carina, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., USA
Concise 2, Ned Collier-Wakefield, Oxford, U.K.
Cutlass, Nick Halmos, Palm Beach, Fla., USA
Dawn Star, William N. Hubbard III /William N. Hubbard IV, both New York, N.Y., USA
Dragon, Michael Hennessy, Mystic, Conn., USA
ICAP Leopard, Clarke Murphy, New York, N.Y., USA
Jaqueline IV, Robert Forman, Bay Shore, N.Y., USA
Jazz, Nigel King, East London, U.K.
Kamoa’e, Eric LeCoq, Bridgeport, Conn., USA
Maltese Falcon, Elena Ambrosiadou, Monaco
Norddeutcshe Vermoegen Hamburg, Eike Holst , Hamburg, Germany
Nordwind, Hans Albrecht, Munich, Germany
Ourson Rapide, Paolo Roasenda, Vedano al Lambro, Italy
Persevere, Bugs Baer/Colin Rath, Madison, Conn. / Darien, Conn., USA
Phaedo, Lloyd Thornburg, St. Barthelemy
Prodigy, Chris Frost, Durban, South Africa
PUMA Ocean Racing mar mostro, Ken Read, Newport, R.I., USA
Rambler 100, George David, Hartford, Conn., USA
Sasha, Albrecht Peters, Hamburg, Germany
Scho-ka-kola, Uwe Lebens, Hamburg, Germany
Shakti, Christoph Avenarius / Gorm Iver Gondesen, Hamburg, Germany / Flensburg, Germany
Snow Lion, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., USA
Sojana, Peter Harrison, U.K.
Sumurun, Bob Towbin, New York, N.Y., USA
Vanquish, USMMA Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, Kings Point, N.Y., USA
Varuna, Jens Kellinghausen, Hamburg, Germany
Zaraffa, Huntington Sheldon, M.D., Shelburne, Vt., USA

The Oakcliff All American Offshore Team will be sailing on the IRC 65 Vanquish (shown here at the Storm Trysail Club’s 2009 Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex) in the Transatlantic Race 2011. (Photo courtesy of Rolex/Dan Nerney).

The Oakcliff All American Offshore Team will be sailing on the IRC 65 Vanquish (shown here at the Storm Trysail Club’s 2009 Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex) in the Transatlantic Race 2011. (Photo courtesy of Rolex/Dan Nerney).

Pete Goss and DMS at finish of Route du Rhum 2010

Pete Goss and DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

by Colin Merry

This evening, after twenty days, four hours, fifty six minutes and ten seconds at sea the Class 40′ ‘DMS’ skippered by Pete Goss crossed the finish line in  ‘Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadalupe. It was a tremendous effort by Pete as he hadn’t raced single handed for fourteen years and to do it in the very competitive Class 40’ fleet is further testament to his determination and tenacity! By strange coincidence his position matched the amount of years he had been absent from the single handed race scene. For my part I was proud to one of the team that helped to get him to the start line.  I will now break open my bottle of Dominican Republic rum and have a few.

Cheers,  Colin


Pete Goss at finish of The Route du Rhum in Guadalupe

Pete Goss at Start of Route du Rhum (Photo by Colin Merry)


Pete Goss on his Class 40 DMS at the finish of the Route du Rhum 2010

Pete Goss on his Class 40 DMS at the start of the Route du Rhum 2010 (Photo by Colin Merry)

More Information from Pete’s Team
Pete Goss completed the 2010 Route du Rhum single-handed Trans-Atlantic race at 16:58 UTC yesterday (20/11/10) after nearly three weeks at sea.

Arriving in Pointe-a-Pitre in an elapsed time of 20 days 4 hours 56 minutes and 10 seconds gave Goss 14th place out of the 44 Class 40 boats that took part.

After being out of single-handed competitive sailing for 14 years Pete said that he was delighted with the result and the boat: “It was always our aim to finish in the top third and as the first Brit home, which we have achieved. I didn’t get as many miles under the keel as I would like before we started, but the boat has been fantastic; we suffered no damage and I really feel at home on her.”

Pete paid testament to Tony Lawson’s Team Concise and especially boat Captain Tom Gall, saying: “Every time I went to do a job he had already been there with a little modification or tweak that makes all the difference. I can honestly say that DMS is the best prepared boat I have ever been on – a brilliant job by someone who in my view will go far.”

Title sponsor Dave Summers of Disc Manufacturing Services said he was delighted to work with Pete who saw at first hand the floating detritus that he and DMS are campaigning to eradicate with their message to ‘Pack it In!’ They hope that the striking message painted on the side of the boat and the unique and colourful urban artwork will have made people think and encourage them to consider reducing plastic packaging, much of which is sadly ending up in the sea. DMS itself is aiming to eliminate all plastic packaging by 2012.

Pete’s other sponsors GAC Pindar, Girlings, CSR and Talisker have joined the huge numbers who have been following Pete’s progress via the tracker on his website and posting messages of support on the site. Pete said the he would like to thank them all for their support, which has not only allowed him to compete, but also spread the serious message of reducing plastic packaging.

Speaking of the winner, Pete said: “I would like to congratulate Thomas Ruyant on Destination Dunkerque for winning the Class 40 division; an outstanding job by a young up and coming sailor who will be one to watch. I look forward to shaking his hand and buying him a beer.”

So what next for the 48-year-old Westcountry sailor and adventurer; does this race signal a return to solo ocean racing? Pete said: “I have had an absolute ball in this race and loved every second of it; I had forgotten how much I enjoy solo ocean sailing. It has been a whirlwind; this whole adventure came out of the blue. Six months ago the good ship DMS was a dusty new hull in a shed, but the whole team have pulled together like one big family and mounted a successful campaign. You don’t do these things on your own and I want to give one final big thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign. So what is next? I honestly don’t know, but for now I am going to have a cup of tea and spend some time with the family before deciding.”

Pete Goss on DMS  (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss on DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

A long, and busy night in Pointe-à-Pitre saw more and more finishers completing the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale, and it is only set to get more hectic when the Class 40 fleet start arriving late Wednesday or Thursday depending on how cruel or kind the winds on the approach to Guadeloupe turn out to be. Notable finishes last night included Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas), the two IMOCA Open 60 skippers who chose the southerly routing option. Desjoyueax arrived in sixth position, just under one day behind fellow Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou (PRB). He joked about going south for the sun early but admitted that there was very little to choose between the two options before making his choice “ I did what I wanted. From time to time you try things when you don’t know if they will be good or not so good. I expected to have 50 miles of deficit in the south of the Azores amticyclone and it was 150. There the mass was said.” Desjoyeaux said. “I have had time to digest this. Now we move on. Life goes on.”

The only IMOCA skipper left at sea, Christoper Pratt on DCNS 1000 – who has been battling with no electrics since last Thursday morning, was due to finish this evening (CET/Paris). Having sailed a very competitive and creditable first half of the race, the young skipper from Marseille, was enjoying a boat-for-boat sprint to the line against Servan Escoffier (Saint Malo 2015), due to finish seventh of seven in the Ultime multihull fleet.


But it is the Class 40 race which has race watchers twitching with anticipation as Thomas Ruyant closes to within 380 miles of the finish on Destination Dunkerque, with a lead now of only 59.8 miles ahead of Nico Troussel (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) who has closed back around 20 miles on the leader over the last two days, but the leading trio – Germany’s Jorg Riecher on, are now filing in a line towards the NW corner of the island, all knowing what the possibility of an overnight shut down of the breeze might do.

Britain’s Pete Goss holds 13th position, approaching Guadeloupe from his more southerly routing reported light winds today, and looks set to suffer slightly less wind on his course in to the island, but the Cornish skipper admitted he is delighted with his race so far:

“ In my particular circumstances I was parachuted into the race out of the blue, and jumped on the boat and went. At the start of the race in Saint Malo I had done four days of single-handed sailing in 14 years. I had not really sailed the boat much. The boat is immaculate, I am not criticising the boat, and Tom Gall the boat captain, Tony Lawson and Team Concise have been great, but it is about building a relationship, and as I said then, (at the start) I now feel ready to start the Route du Rhum. If you look beyond this race, then this is effectively a training race. I was a bit rusty at the beginning, but I have a bit of experience and so I did not break anything. I am loving it.”

And Marco Nannini, the London based banker racing UniCredit, who has built a following of thousands for his unmissable blog (, said on today’s radio vacation:

“This for me is about me being an office worker who one week before the race I was sitting behind a desk in the office. I am not a French pro and I did not come here expecting to perform as a French pro. I held my own, especially in the first part of the race and I was very proud of what  I was achieving, then of course experience comes in and I made a bad mistake, but here I am, still racing absolutely enjoying every minute of it, in this adventure. I have seen things I have never seen before. I was caught in an electric storm last night, which scared the hell out of me. It is for me a great adventure, and so the blogs, sharing it with others, makes it so much more enjoyable. I receive many, many messages on the boat, reading my blogs – and I am talking thousands and thousands –every time, it is fantastic.”


Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 Wins The Route du Rhum 2010 (Photo Copyright AFP)

Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 Wins The Route du Rhum 2010 (Photo Copyright AFP)

When he brought the giant 31m trimaran Groupama 3 across the finish line off Pointe-a-Piitre, Guadeloupe today (Tuesday)under perfect sunshine and light breezes Franck Cammas (FRA) won the 9th edition of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale, the 3542 miles transatlantic race from Saint Malo for solo skippers which takes place every four years. Cammas crossed the finish line at 16..h 16..min 47. Secs (CET paris// 15h 16 mins 47 secs GMT,// 11 hrs 16 mins 47 seconds local time) The elapsed time for the course, after starting Saint Malo at 1302hr (CET/paris) Is. 9 days 3 hours 14 mins 47 seconds The average speed over the course on the water was. 20..39 knots for the actual course sailed of 4471 miles. . The course record of 7 days17 hrs 19 mins 6 seconds was set in 2006 Cammas adds his name to the legend of the ‘Rhum’ as successor to Mike Birch, Marc Pajot, Philippe Poupon, Florence Arthaud, Laurent Bourgnon, Michel Desjoyeaux and Lionel Lemonchois


Locking out at 0615hrs (Photo by Colin Merry)

by Colin Merry

“Alarm call at 0500hrs. this morning. but as Pete’s minder last night I was up and about at 0400hrs. in order not to miss the wake up call.  Quick slurp of coffee then down to the boat.  The rain was easing as we slid into the lock prior to being released to the sea. Even at this hour the lock sides were lined with waving cheering people!  ”


Crowds cheering their favourites. (Photo by Colin Merry)

  “A lot of them looked as though they had been partying all night! Slipping out through the entrance we headed seaward greeted by a magnificant sunrise, a good omen we hoped.  ”


Sunrise (Photo by Colin Merry)

“Several hours followed where Pete and Tom got the boat set up whilst I helmed. Normally not a problem for me, but this time it was different. ”


Porridge before the start! (Photo by Colin Merry)

“I have never experienced so much responsibility, and it was getting more crowded by the minute. After nearly four hours and with twelve minutes to go we wished him well and jumped into the waiting rib.”


Tom landing in rib (Photo by Colin Merry)

“Sorry that most of the pics. are of Class40’s but we were intent on following DMS for several miles and naturally we were surrounded by other 40’s. “


IDEC and Groupama 3 (Photo by Colin Merry)

After a studied start keeping clear of the mayhem that is a start line Pete broke out the fractional kite and settled into the race.


And They Are Off !!! (Photo by Colin Merry)

With the wind easing it was not long before he went up a gear and raised the masthead kite.


Before we broke off the chase he was overhauling a few boats and looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself! So 3500miles to go and a possible encounter with a hurricane. (there is a cyclone winding itself up out the West atlantic which has been upgraded to Hurricane ”Tomas).


Kite going up (Photo by Colin Merry)

We at C&A wish him and skippers well in their endeavour to be in Gaudalupe first.

by Colin Merry



Veolia. Open 60' (Photo by Colin Merry)





The DMS Hospitality Boat (Photo by Colin Merry)



Au revoir from St. Malo. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Mega Crowds in St. Malo For The Route du Rhum Skippers (Photo by Colin Merry)

Mega Crowds in St. Malo For The Route du Rhum Skippers (Photo by Colin Merry)

Crowds flocked to the skippers reception last night.   Even a vociferous demo by the French unions (complaining about France’s rise in pensionable age) couldn’t dampen the way in which each skipper was applauded as they mounted the stage.   People crowded the whole area stretching back as for as the eye could see! 

More Crowds For Pre-start Festivities (Photo by Colin Merry)

More Crowds For Pre-start Festivities (Photo by Colin Merry)

 Some climbing trees and still others clinging to the lamp posts! Everyone was determined to get a glimpse of these brave men and women before they set off on the ”Route de Rhumb”.   I was particularly warmed by the reception Pete Goss got as his name was announced and he mounted the stage to what was the loudest applause and cheers all night.   The French still hold him in very high esteem to this day.

At Skippers Presentation Pete Goss shares a photo with Richard Tolkien, ICAP (Photo by Colin Merry)

At Skippers Presentation Pete Goss shares a photo with Richard Tolkien, ICAP (Photo by Colin Merry)

After the reception Team DMS, the sponsors and guests retired to a pub for some very welcome R&R.  I say pub but once inside it became clear that this was a strange hostelry indeed!   Dolls and weird bric a brac everywhere.  

At A Very Strange Bar (Photo by Colin MerrY)

At A Very Strange Bar with Swings for seats (Photo by Colin Merry)

 The bar seats were swings hanging from the ceiling.   Oh and did I mention the three piece ensemble that entertained us?   They were completely off the wall but good in a ‘different’ sort of way.

Swings At Bar Seats?  (Photo by Colin Merry)

A Very Strange in a good way bar . (Photo by Colin Merry)

Anyway, back to the race.   I walked past one tri for the best part of a week before recognising her. None other than Ellen MacArthur’s B&Q!

B&Q  (Photo by Colin Merry)

B&Q (Photo by Colin Merry)

  Gone is the familiar livery and now she is plain white. Turned into a Pizza delivery judging by the logos being applied as I watched one evening.

B&Q Pizza Delivery?  (Photo by Colin Merry)

B&Q Pizza Delivery? (Photo by Colin Merry)

On DMS we have a constant stream of visitors, Media crew who want interviews.   Other skippers. Sponsors and guests. Plus old friends of Pete and Tom’s that reads like a who’s who of sailing.   One such visitor was Frederick Meunier, the boat builder responsible for DMS. 

Frederick Meunier top man in Class40' building (Photo by Colin Merry)

Frederick Meunier top man in Class40' building (Photo by Colin Merry)

  Fred’s Tunisia based yard ”MC Tech” has order books full until next May for the ”Akiliria” brand known as the RC2.   As we sat and chatted he was looking around at the mods that Tom had made since she left his yard.   A testament to Tom’s attention to detail when said he reckoned that she was the best turned out boat in the Class 40′ fleet.

Another Media Interview (Photo by Colin Merry)

Another Media Interview for Pete (Photo by Colin Merry)

As crowded as our boat was, at times it paled into insignificance compared to the crowds who by now had swelled to massive proportions!   It was gridlock on the roads in and around St. Malo and it threatened to become gridlock on the pavements too.   Looking out from a high vantage point it seemed that the predicted 1.2 million visitors had all arrived together today!   I can’t even begin to envisage what 18,000 people on the water tomorrow are going to look like.   Also add to that 100 ribs that will be inside the exclusion zone prior to the start and you begin to get some idea of the huge logistical enterprise that is the ”Route de Rhumb”.

The welcome that awaits in Quadalupe on the the streets of St. Malo (Photo by Colin Merry)

The welcome that awaits in Quadalupe on the the streets of St. Malo (Photo by Colin Merry)

Hope you’ve all enjoyed my snapshot of the ‘Route de Rhumb”. Catch up with the start tomorrow on or of course
Cheers, Colin Merry


Crowds At Skippers Presentation  (Photo by Colin Merry)

Crowds At Skippers Presentation (Photo by Colin Merry)