Start of the Fastnet 2019 and finish for some
Local Lymington Rogers Contessa 32 in continuation of historic story from 1979
It seemed like a good proportion of Lymington folk with any means to be afloat last Sunday were on the Solent enjoying the hugely impressive spectacle of the Fastnet yachts reaching past Hurst Castle and out into Christchurch Bay on their way to that little rock which has been the subject and cause of so much past challenge, delight, tribulation and indeed tragedy.
You can watch a video of the amazing sight of the start and early stages of the race, and listen too to the history of this legendary race, by clicking this link to the official website.
More below including reflections back to 1979 when things were so different in so many ways...
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Records broken and amazing feats of endurance
Meanwhile this year's 32 metres long Ultrim trimarans hoped to complete the race in an unbelievable sounding 24 hours.
And they nearly did it, not quite but still smashing the record and finishing in as spectacular a fashion as their start with Maxi Edmond de Rothschild pipping MACIF at the final post on the finish line at Plymouth. Read more about the trimarans and their dramatic finish on the official Rolex Fastnet website here
Anybody can go aground
However not everybody out on the water on Sunday will have spotted the ignominious sight of the magnificent full sailed Maxi shortly after passing Hurst suddenly coming to a grinding halt on one of those pesky shingle banks!
Apparently the skipper said the bank must have moved...because they were prepared... it was not marked.... hmmm! Would we who think we know our local waters have known better to beware?!
Maxi wasn't the only one either, as you can see here from this rearview!
Smallest boat, biggest message
At the other extreme of the fleet was the 1972 vintage Contessa 32 Assent from Lymington, sailed by members of the famous Rogers Lymington yacht design/boat building dynasty created by Jeremy Rogers: the crew his sons Kit and Simon together with their respective eldest children Jonah and Hattie.
Assent is this year not only the lowest rated boat across the entire 320 boat fleet racing under IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Trophy, but she was also the last boat home in the 1979 Fastnet which is being especially remembered this year as it is the 40th anniversary of that tragic race which cost 19 lives.
Willy Ker and Assent
Tiny Assent, skippered by Willy Ker and his son Alan, “was the one and only boat in Class Five during the 1979 race to finish out of 58 starters....Retired Major Ker was also renowned for taking Assent multiple times to the Arctic and Antarctic. For decades Ker held the unofficial record for having sailed the furthest north in a sailing boat. During his escapades he mapped much of the north of Greenland.”
You can read a really detailed account of the Assent story, including all about Willy Ker and 1979, and the current Rogers Family aboard in 2019, on the official Rolex Fastnet website
You can also follow Assent’s progress on the Rogers family's own Facebook page - latest at time of writing this is that they rounded the rock on Tuesday evening! STOP PRESS FRIDAY MORNING THEY HAVE FINISHED! Hoorah and congratulations!
Now the wind is building, the gales are on their way, weekend events are already being cancelled, our thoughts are with the little boats which have safely made their way home in relatively fair winds this week.
And a Steamship!
Those out waiting for the Fastnet yachts on Sunday also had the treat of watching the Steamship Shieldhall on her Solent jaunt between Southampton and the Needles.
Shieldhall is the largest working steam ship in Britain. A member of the National Historic Fleet she serves as a sea going tribute to Britain's maritime heritage.
As a passenger you too can experience the golden age of steam by booking on an excursion or visiting her in Southampton.
We found her website; we'll find out if they'd like to tell you more...
Selective Photo Gallery
For those who haven’t been glued all week to the official and very comprehensive Rolex Fastnet website, for the record of a brilliant sight on the Solent we thought you might like to see a few more of our own amateur photos. (Our team's Solent photographers: Giles Lloyd Williams, Tracey Thompson, Jane Porter, Tanya Baddeley)
Weekly What's On from Lymington.com
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