14/08/2019 - 15:45

On Aug 3 a determined crew from Oarsome Chance, including apprentices from our programmes and skippered by our Principal John, embarked on the mammoth task of sailing the Rolex Fastnet race. The world famous race is the pinnacle of ocean racing and we were immensely proud to have taken part.

Many thanks to a friend of the charity who entrusted the Swedish 38, Flame of Anor, to John and the crew, as well as kind donations, including a generous grant from The Whirlwind Trust, that helped cover the costs.

Over the months bfore the big race, the Oarsome Fastnet crew, had been training and racing to get themselves ready for the gruelling 5 day offshore race. With weekly training sessions, essential skills learning, qualifying races (including Cervantes and St Malo) and the Round The Island race, the team put in the hard work needed to get themselves ready for the challenge.

All the training and preparation paid off as the team faced the challenges the Fastnet through at them (not least some rough seas and sea sickness!). With changeable conditions they successfully rounded the Fastnet rock, but sadly on the return ourney, lost the wind in a very difficult spot off the Scilly islands. The crew spent hours with no steerage or control where it was too deep to anchor and too close to one of the most treacherous and notorious rocky shores with the tides running faster, they made the extremely tough descision to retire for safety reasons.

As John explained at the time: "All crew had worked so hard but safety had to come first as always. The descision to retire has not taken anything away from the huge learning curve and experience that we set out to achieve... Thanks to everyone who helped to get us to the start and along the way and the amazing support."

We are immensely proud of the Fastnet team and a special well done to the young people on board who took on some tough conditions - their experience will arm them with resilience, determination and team work - valuable lessons to take with them into their future learning and careers. As well as giving them an experience they will never forget!

See the video montage here:

Bring on Fastnet 2021!