Fastnet Race - the first few hours


Mike Broughton's essential reading for anyone taking part in RORC's classic offshore race
The Start Line to St Alban's Head New Prohibited Area off Cowes - Due to the extra moorings off Cowes for the Jubilee Regatta this year, beware getting caught sailing into the prohibited area off Cowes Green (see diagram). Treat the northern most line of buoys as a 'continuing line of obstruction' - which is right in some of the best tide! Also don't get caught out going inside Gurnard Buoy (northerly cardinal buoy), which is a new mark of the course (less than 1 nm from the line). Beware the Escape Route - Beating against Sunday's predicted southwesterly, along the Green with a close fleet can easily end in tears! You may be in great shape, as you race in on starboard tack, in clear air, with the fleet lined up on your starboard hip, but you have to be able to plan your escape! If you have larger faster boats inside you, it can be very tricky and if you have a poor tack, you could well end up dipping a lot of sterns as you exit on port tack. If the fleet is close up to you and you approach the shore and have to call for water, start the dialogue early. The boats close by inside may also be trapped on starboard by other boats on their hip. The fifth boat in may not have anticipated the pending problem, as she merrily continues on starboard tack, leaving you sweating as the shore fast approaches. It was here that one Fastnet Race favourite ended their race damaged after only 200m, while another boat sailed the whole course, thought they had won, and later got disqualified for an infringement after only 55 seconds of racing. Initial Strategy - Plan to aim for Sconce buoy where you can make the most of the

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