NEWS 7th Feb 2017

Bill & Batfish V to “cruise” the Fastnet…

Bill is taking on the Fastnet again
Bill is taking on the Fastnet again
The Rolex Fastnet

Frequently referred to as the 'Everest' of competitive sailing, the Rolex Fastnet race is one of the most famous offshore yachting races in the world. Organised every two years by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and first contested in 1925, it is still one of the trickiest and most demanding sporting events that an individual or a team can aspire to today.

The Rolex Fastnet 2017 starts on Sunday 6th August. More than 300 boats will race over 600 miles non-stop from Cowes along the south coast of Britain, past Land's End, across the Irish Sea and around the Fastnet Rock lighthouse just off the southern coast of Ireland. They return passing the Isles of Scilly and the Bishop's Rock lighthouse finishing in Plymouth. For most boats this will take between 4 and 5 days, pitting the crews in a constant physical and mental challenge against each other.

Bill Blain is taking on the Fastnet again in his boat Batfish V, this time raising funds for Sail 4 Cancer and Wessex Heartbeat. He is a staunch supporter of Sail 4 Cancer as result of many close friends going through difficult times with cancer. But this year he is also supporting Wessex Heartbeat after undergoing unexpected triple heart bypass surgery and a subsequent heart-attack in October. Bill is now pretty much recovered, and looks forward to another classic Fastnet with his excellent crew.

Bill Blain and his wife Nicola are well known in their home village of Hamble - the true centre of UK sailing. His sailing CV is pretty long and includes many regattas, his local dinghy fleet - the Hamble Foxers, offshore races and trips, but the Fastnet holds a particular fascination for him.

Bill says: "The crew of Batfish V are proud to support Sail 4 Cancer and Wessex Heartbeat this year.
The Fastnet is something almost religious. It's cold, wet and can be absolutely miserable. It's either blowing half-pelicans or nothing at all. I've come home sunburnt, but other times it felt like frostbite. You never know what's coming next and the forecasts can be all over the place - which makes strategy and tactics tough. But it's a race you can't miss.
We will be racing in as many of the qualifiers as we can. Some years our training works. Sometimes it doesn’t, like in 2015 when an entirely preventable electrical fault meant we retired within shouting distance of the Rock. In 2007 we had to give up following a storm. But, back in 2009 we trained and raced hard, becoming RORC Season Champions.
This year we'll take it easy, doing a 'Cruising Fastnet' in Batfish V. It’s going to be weather dependent. The rules of the Fastnet are very simple - if you prepare for the worst, you are unlikely to be disappointed. My weather strategy will be to buy new oil-skins and sailing boots just before the race which usually ensures the weather will be balmy!

Please sponsor Bill and the Batfish V crew and offer your words of encouragement using the donation form below.

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