BBC BLOGS - Rob Hodgetts

Archives for August 2009

Night of the long grinds

Rob Hodgetts | 14:21 UK time, Friday, 14 August 2009

Looming out of the darkness, the black boat crept up on us.

Like a pirate ghostship, our nemesis emerged silently, stealthily from the mist when we were least expecting it.

For two-and-a-half days we had managed to keep her at bay. But in the Irish Sea, she reeled us in. Now it was a dogfight to the finish.

We were sailing back from the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland in the 608-mile Fastnet yacht race, a crew of seven young hotshot sailors and me on board 60ft ocean racer Artemis the Profit Hunter.

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Fastnet fever takes grip

Rob Hodgetts | 18:53 UK time, Saturday, 8 August 2009

Sleep deprived certainly, soaking maybe, cold probably, possibly hungry and perhaps even a bit scared... sounds a right laugh doesn't it?

What better way is there to spend a few lazy days in August? Beats watching England play cricket anyway. Where do I sign up?

Actually, I already have after bagging myself a spot on a boat in the infamous Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland and back to Plymouth.

I say infamous for good reason - the cavalier attitude is just a front. This is the event that exactly 30 years ago witnessed one of the worst disasters in yacht racing history.

Fifteen sailors died as pleasant summer weather at the start gave way to horrendous storm-force winds and mountainous seas which battered the fleet.

Obviously we don't want that. But nor do we want no wind. It's not called the Slownet is it?

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