NEWS 5th Aug 2013

Draigy Qualifies for the Fastnet 2013

Crew Myth
Crew Myth

Kay & Kevin Stibbs are delighted to have qualified for the Fastnet Race 2013 with their team aboard Draig O'r Mor. This is the third time they will have entered the race on Draig. This year's team completed two qualifying races - The Myth of Malham and the De Guingand - to cover the 300 offshore racing miles in order to qualify for the race.

The Qualifiers

Robert enjoying the sunshine whilst trimming the spinnaker
The first qualifier (Myth) was from Cowes round Eddystone Rock (off Plymouth) and back to finish off Lymington. At 230 miles it took the team just short of 2 days - 1:23:17:05. This covers a fair amount of the Fastnet course itself and is a good trial of strategy through tidal gates and varied weather conditions. The Fastnet team aboard - (left to right) Helen Middleton-Stewart, Albert De Heer (from the Netherlands), Kay & Kevin, Robert Horton, Artur Skrzyszowski (our guest from Poland) and Mickey Carter. We tried a new watch system which worked well & meant less time on deck for each team during the wee hours. Light airs prevailed which is not exactly Draigy's kind of thing so we were pleased with a respectable 14th out of 34 result. Other than that the race was unremarkable. Painfully slow at times searching for breeze. A beat to the rock & a spinnaker home. The wind freshened as we approached the Solent which was just as well as it is no fun outrunning the available breeze.

The second qualifying race was The Guingand, Cowes to Guernsey leaving Alderney, the Casquettes & Guernsey to Port. Not your most direct route! With the wind forecast to be 25 gusting 30 knots on the nose it was rather worrying to only be able to muster a team of 4. Kay, Kevin, Rob Horton & guest John Poyner. We were all experience sailors & new how to sail a boat through tough conditions. With an agenda of finishing the race at all costs in order to qualify for the Fastnet we left Cowes in Idyllic conditions with a rather reachy start. Bang on the money we were first away and managed to hold that lead for at least half of the stretch to Hurst castle. 'With Alacrity' to leeward of us & 'Mefisto' to Port we were nip & tuck all the way. We did suffer from having our number 2 headsail up without the weight of crew on the rail, but we were happy we had chosen the correct sail later on! The forecast was for a massive 30 degree wind shift at midnight and our plan was to head as far west as we could before tacking over on that wind shift to a lay line for the West side of Guernsey. It was a great plan which if we had stuck to it would have worked magnificently. Conditions were grim. Damp, slamming waves, on the nose, proper beat, water down the neck, 30 - 40 knot gusts, grim. RORC website described it as a 'Wild Ride to Guernsey' and many boats retired through the night. Shortening sail, both reefing the main & changing down to a number 4, made it slightly more bearable. It was one of those moments when you ask yourself 'Why?' Late in the evening we experience a small unpredicted shift which made us doubt that a 30 degree shift would actually manifest. It's a brave man who sails away from their destination on the basis of a forecast. We stayed high which meant that as we tacked on the big shift (which did turn up as forecast), we were a little short of clearing Guernsey. It was an agonising 35 minute tack straight into the Atlantic rollers off the
It was a hard night
back of the Island but Draig took it well. Interestingly we were neck & neck with a Figaro II at the Windward mark on the SW corner of Guernsey. Once we all bore away & shook out our reefs they took off like a rocket. We gave pursuit and made good time at the Finish and were delighted to have finished 5th in class, 32 minutes behind the winning boat 'Mefisto'. Absolutely shattered we hit our bunks then a welcome meal ashore. Frustratingly we motored most of the way back to Weymouth the next day through lack of wind.


The Crew

The Fastnet Crew 2013 are Kay & Kevin Stibbs, Mickey Carter, Albert De Heer, Robert Horton, Nix Middleton-Stewart & Richard Veale. We have a core of 3 who completed the 2009 race - Kay Kevin and Mickey. Albert & Helen joined us in 2011. Albert with us again this time but sadly, although Helen completed the Myth, she has since had to pull out. Her daughter Nix has proved a ready substitute. Although she has not sailed on Draig before she has sailed offshore with Kevin on another boat. Rob Horton has sailed with us for many years but this is his first offshore season with us. He completed all the qualifying races. Richard is a keen offshore sailor on his own boats and has jumped aboard when he realised we needed extra crew. A strong crew indeed & we have great hopes for a good result. Fingers crossed for strong winds which are Draigy's preferred conditions.

The Last Last Supper


If you are around at all on the evening of Friday 9th August please come to Castle Cove Sailing Club & give the Fastnet team a good send off. Bring your own BBQ or we will send out for a takeaway if the weather is awful. As always we hope to raise money for Sail 4 Cancer and there will be a donation pot available on the night. If you intend to watch our progress please think about giving a little back. You can donate online here below.

Even just £1 would be great if everyone who showed an interest donated.

Richard & Nix enjoy sunshine - and 25 kts

We leave Weymouth in the wee hours of Saturday morning for Cowes to get all our last minute registration and race preparation in order. Our Race start is at 1230 Sunday. You will get a grandstand view of the fleet passing Portland Bill in the afternoon/evening. You can follow our progress on the Race tracker ( we all carry tracking devices) on the RORC Fastnet site

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Donors & messages of support


+ £28.64
Gift Aid
Thank you so much to Michelle & Sam ( Bride & Groom), Phil & Daphne ( proud dad & mum) for arranging a sweepstake of the length of speeches at their wedding
From s k mead


+ £50.00
Gift Aid
Well done to Kay and team from Rick and Paul
From S Bruton


+ £1.25
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Well done on your fantastic achievement. Both beating cancer and a fab race!
From Mrs Amy Hadgett

Amazing result in the race guys, superb
From np findlay


+ £2.50
Gift Aid
Good luck Team Draig
From Mr G L May


+ £6.25
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good luck


+ £12.50
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Best of British you lot. Wish I could be with you!. x
From Mr Peter Colquitt


+ £10.00
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A donation from mike carter at the last last supper
From mrs k mead


+ £25.00
Gift Aid
good luck K & K will follow your progress as usual
From Mr Brian COLQUITT

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