Chris Briggs, based in Plymouth, will be sailing his Nigel Irens 12m trimaran, The Edge in the Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the world’s most challenging and tactical offshore races, starting at the beginning of August from Cowes, Isle of Wight. Known as the largest offshore race in the world – The Rolex Fastnet Race which will see 400 boats in the 605 mile race.
The all-carbon composite construction was built in 1992 in Dartington as designed by Nigel Irens. Originally one of two, her sistership was lost during the 1994 doublehanded Transat Race. Chris Briggs acquired The Edge after almost 30 years of shorthanded offshore racing, including three Round Britain and Ireland two-handed races. In 2018 he raised around £1,200 for MIND charity while he raced.
This is not his first Rolex Fastnet Race on The Edge – he competed in 2015 and won the MOCRA Munster Trophy for first multihull under 50′ on elapsed time. The trophy has since been changed to reward corrected time, providing Chris with the focus of his ambition this year: “I would like to try to win back the MOCRA Munster Trophy!”
As with many of our other competitors this anniversary year, Chris Briggs has had some family history with the 1979 race inspiring his entry – his late uncle was crew on Scenario which was caught up in the events of the race; he luckily ended up safely drinking whisky at the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.
Dr Peter Rowe, also based in Plymouth, will be sailing his J109, Ju Kyu. Having owned and skippered Ju Kyu since 2007, Dr Rowe, a Consultant Nephrologist living in Plymouth and member of the Royal Western YC, has taken part in the last two editions of the race. This year he will compete with a team of 8 in total, including his on Jonathan as tactician/navigator who is planning to compete in a Mini Transat in a Pogo2. He met his girlfriend on the last Fastnet Race!
In 2017 Ju Kyu were 18th out of 75 in class IRC 3 and the 4th J109 home. The team race weekly in Plymouth Sound as well as coastal races in the South West, and across the Channel to Brittany and the Channel Islands.
“The biggest challenge is the multiple tidal gates and uncertainty over routing, but our aim is to improve on last time and to beat the boat speed record of 18.27 knots (on log) surfing down a wave on 11th August 2017,” says Rowe. His crew include seven other sailors, four living in Plymouth and one in Truro. 20-year old Georgia Furneaux, also from Plymouth, will be experiencing her first ever long offshore race. The mostly regular crew include: 3 medics, a web developer, a respiratory physician, an IT manager, an accountant and an engineer.
Plymouth man Simon Baker Is back racing his Dazcat 1495, Hissy Fit. After competing in 2015 and finishing top of their class in 2017, Hissy Fit has a lot to live up to. For owner Simon Baker, what makes the challenge all the greater this year is not just the wider competition, including this year four other Dazcats, but the fact that he’ll be racing against crews that have previously raced with him on Hissy Fit. “It should make for some interesting competition!” says Simon.
Other sailors from Devon, including Plymouth based Tom Kneen on his JPK11.80, Sunrise and Dartmouth man James Crockatt on his A35, Jump n’ Shout . Kneen is racing with a young group of sailors who are all under 35 and has competed twice before. When asked what is so special about the race, he replied: “We intend to push ourselves as hard as possible but the race is so special because of its history and the best thing is arriving at the harbour entrance in Plymouth! It’s the best feeling ever and then there’s the amazing atmosphere with the parties afterwards!”
Known as the world’s largest offshore race and one that is on the ‘bucket list of most sailors worldwide, there will be a diverse range of boats of all shapes and sizes, from 30-105 feet, from classic yachts to the fastest extreme foiling trimaran racing machines, and everything in between.
Around 3,000 crews from 26 countries will strive for the much-coveted Fastnet Challenge Cup for the overall win, but for most, just completing the course safely and in good time will be enough to feel victorious.
The 605 nautical mile toughest of races will take the crew out of the Solent, across the Celtic Sea, round the iconic Fastnet Rock and on to the finish into Britain’s ocean city, Plymouth where there will be a mass of arrivals from 4th-8th August.
Follow their race on the official website: www.RolexFastnetRace.com where you can also watch the start live (11.45 to 2.30pm on Saturday 3rd August), track their progress and look out for blogs, images and news from Sheevra and others in the race.
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