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)


Pete Goss

Pete Goss's New Class 40 DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

 Legendary British sailor Pete Goss MBE has joined forces with title sponsor DMS to tell the world it is time to PACK IT IN!  But Pete is not retiring from sailing; far from it, he is launching his latest solo campaign with a serious environmental message. Using boat graphics the like of which have never been seen before in ocean racing, Pete and DMS have pledged to the world of plastic packaging that it is time to PACK IT IN!
On his first solo ocean race since his heroic completion of the 1996 Vendee Globe, when he rescued fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli in the Southern Ocean, Pete Goss enters the gruelling 3500-mile Route du Rhum race in the Class 40 category. He is confident in his abilities to get a good result while inspiring race fans about the possibilities of changing business and consumer habits via the boats jaw-dropping graphics.

Pete Goss sailing onboard the "DMS" Class 40. Shown here training prior to the 2010 "Route du Rhum" solo transatlantic yacht race (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Pete Goss sailing onboard the "DMS" Class 40. Shown here training prior to the 2010 "Route du Rhum" solo transatlantic yacht race (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Partnering with Team Concise, winners of last year’s Class 40 World Championship, Pete and DMS enter a brand new boat into the Route du Rhum race, which commences from St Malo (France) on Sunday 31st October 2010.  The boat (named DMS) showcases specially commissioned artwork from one of the UK’s leading street art duos and captures DMS’s experiences of reducing plastic packaging throughout their business of Creative Packaging Solutions and supplying CD, DVD and Vinyl Records to the music and creative industries.

 Commenting on the race and partnership with DMS, Pete Goss said “I’m very excited about competing in the Route du Rhum, it’s a major fixture on the racing calendar which sees more than a quarter of a million spectators at the start cheering the field on.  Weather permitting, I’m expecting to complete the race in around 21 days.”  He continued, “It’s fantastic to have the support of DMS and I’m over the moon with the boat graphics, it truly is a first in the sailing world and I’m sure it will prompt business leaders and consumers to consider more ethical purchase decisions on their creative packaging.”  Goss continued, “As ocean sailors we’re more aware of the issues of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans than others. PACK IT IN! is designed to make people consider the simple solutions we can all take to stop a huge problem becoming even larger”.

Pete Goss sailing onboard the "DMS" Class 40. Shown here training prior to the 2010 "Route du Rhum" solo transatlantic yacht race (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Pete Goss sailing onboard the "DMS" Class 40. Shown here training prior to the 2010 "Route du Rhum" solo transatlantic yacht race (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Speaking about his pro-active business approach, DMS Managing Director Dave Summers said “Over the past 10 years we have built up a global business that now produces more than 2500 individual releases per year from independent artists through to multinational blue-chip companies. This results in millions of individual records and packaging units, which up until 2008 we manufactured in 90% plastic.”  Since 2008 DMS have offered a full range of low-carbon creative packaging solutions which have become increasingly popular with both their clients and the end user.  Summers continued, “Currently, only 10% of our total packaging output contains plastic and we’re aiming to eliminate all plastic packaging by 2012.”
Created by leading street artists Danny Capozzi and Phil Rees, contemporaries of guerrilla street artist Banksy, the PACK IT IN! artwork allows urban art to set sail on a dramatic new canvas.

Class 40 DMS (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Class 40 DMS (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Speaking about the PACK IT IN! artwork Danny said, “It’s great to be able to work on such a large-scale mobile canvas that will be viewed the world over.  Often art is confined to the space and audience for which it is commissioned, but PACK IT IN! has got some serious miles ahead of it and will be spreading an important message throughout its journey, plus it’s really exciting to push the boundaries of sailing livery.”  When asked about the central character of the design Phil said “Barney is a neptune-esque character, the ultimate Eco Warrior from the deep who is fed up with plastic packaging littering his oceans and he’s there to strike fear into the hearts of the ignorant, and maybe even some of Pete’s competitors!”
Pete Gossnow focuses on the final preparations of his race equipment and sea trials before the race start on 31st October.  The official naming ceremony of DMS and campaign launch party will take place from 5pm on 29th September at Mayflower Steps, The Barbican, Plymouth, with Dave Summers’ environmental mentor Alison Tickell, Director and Founder of environmental group Julies Bicycle, charged with officially naming the boat.



Challenge and Adventure's Colin Merry Taking a Test Run on DMS, Pete Goss's New Class 40 (Photo courtresy of Pete Goss)

Pete Goss (Photo by Jim Merry)

A champagne toast for Pete Goss and Tony Lawson (Photo by Jim Merry)


West Country sailor Pete Goss has answered the question most asked of him in
recent years: “When are you returning to solo ocean racing?”  He announced
today that he is to compete in the gruelling Route du Rhum race later this

Pete has partnered with “Team Concise”, winners of last year’s Class 40
World Championship, to enter a brand new boat in the 3,500-mile race
commencing on Sunday 31st October 2010.

The Route du Rhum is a major fixture on the sailing calendar attracting a
fleet of more than 60 boats. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the race
village prior to the start off St Malo and watch the boats as they track
down the French coast before they head out across the Atlantic for the
Caribbean, finishing at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadalupe.

Racing a Class 40 will be very different to his last challenge, sailing
‘Spirit of Mystery’, a 37-foot wooden lugger weighing 16-tonnes, to
Australia at an average speed of about 4 knots. A Class 40 weighs a quarter
of that and can sail at speeds in excess of 25 knots.

Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry attended today and was able to tour the boat.   Below is a gallery of photos of Concise up close.


Pete says that he is excited by the new boat Concise 2. During recent sail
trials it more than lived up to his expectations.  He said: “It has been a
few years since I have sailed such a fast, high-tech boat and the systems
have come on leaps and bounds. Concise2 is fun, responsive and eager to
please so I am looking forward to working up to, and competing in, the Route
du Rhum
. It’s one of the ‘greats’ that I have always wanted to do. The
competition will be tough, but I am going for a result and then looking
forward to enjoying Guadeloupe. Despite all my miles at sea I have never
sailed in the Caribbean. I just know I am going to love it.”

‘Team Concise’ is made up of two halves, with the current young World
Championship Crew working up the boat to defend their title in Gijon in July
before they compete in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland race. Pete
will be working in parallel with this programme until Concise 2  moves to
Plymouth in August when he will start his own full time preparations.
According to Pete, “mixing it up with the young guns” will be a tremendous
help as he gets to know the boat.

The 48-year-old from St John in Cornwall is no stranger to sailing solo in
high performance boats though. He is perhaps best known for his
extraordinary single-handed rescue of Frenchman and fellow competitor
Raphael Dinelli during a severe Southern Ocean storm in the 1996 Vendee
, for which he was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen and the
Legion d’Honneur by the President of France.

It is this sort of experience that Pete brings to the ISAF World
Championship winning team. Team Concise owner Tony Lawson said: “This is a
truly symbiotic relationship. Pete will race a brand new boat prepared by my
boys as part of his short-handed offshore racing program. Meanwhile we can
benefit from the advice and inspiration of this world-renowned offshore
sailor, building on our knowledge base as we prepare for bigger challenges
ahead. We hope it is the start of a long-term relationship”.

 Asked if this race signals a return to a career as a solo ocean racer, Pete
said: “I have never had a career, just a series of adventures and who knows
where this one will lead. I never say never, so let’s see where this takes

Pete’s entry in the race has been made possible thanks to the support of
silver sponsors including: Girlings, Talisker, CSR and a fourth one to be
announced shortly; but he is still looking for a title sponsor. So if you
want to become part of the Team and support Pete’s return to solo ocean
sailing, please contact him through the website .


BBC cameraman taking video onboard Concise (Photo by Colin Merry)