BSL home safely

18 08 2011

Ross and Campbell Field finished the Rolex Fastnet Race at 02:17 BST on Thursday 18th August 2011 in 7th place, only 40 minutes behind the leading Class 40. By 09:00 BST on Thursday morning, 70 yachts had completed the Rolex Fastnet Race. A steady stream of yachts came in during the night, 52 in just 12 hours.

On Sunday 14th August, Twenty Class 40s set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The biggest fleet assembled since the Route de Rhum in 2010. There was drama right at the start as Eutourist-Serv-System was dismasted in big breeze and lumpy seas. The battle was intense, right from the gun, the highly skilled fleet knew that they were in a race against the tide. Those that could make Portland Bill first would escape the grip of the foul current, those that didn’t would fall away from the lead.

Francesco Piva’s Farr designed Peraspera was first out of The Solent, followed by Initiatives-Alex Olivier designed by Simon Rogers and skippered by 2009 champion Tanguy de Lamotte. In hot pursuit were Michel Kleinjans’ Roaring Forty 2, another new Farr design and Guillaume Verdier designed BSL, co-skippered by Ross and Campbell Field from New Zealand.

Roaring Forty 2 broke away from the pack, heading offshore and the move paid off. By Portland Bill, they had opened up a 2-mile lead but the chasing pack was nipping at their heels. As they approached The Lizard, the fresh wind they had enjoyed since the start, began to fade and Initiatives-Alex Olivier stayed offshore hoping to get the new breeze first. This allowed Peraspera and BSL to squeeze past them. As the new breeze filled in Initiatives-Alex Olivier was into it before the rest and moved back up to second.

Concise 2, were to join the leaders at Land’s End, skipper Ned Collier-Wakefield was joined by the highly experienced Jonny Malbon racing Two-Handed, against fully crewed yachts. After Land’s end the Class 40 were really flying, in a sprint across the Celtic Sea, straight-line power reaching at speeds of 20 knots plus.

After rounding the Fastnet Rock and the Pantaenius Buoy, the Class 40s hoisted spinnakers for the first time in the race and hurtled downwind. Roaring Forty 2 was just in front of Initiatives-Alex Olivier but ahead of them the wind was fading for the second time in the race, providing one of the big tactical conundrums; when to gybe for home.

25 miles after rounding the Pantaenius Buoy, Roaring Forty 2 gybed, BSL and Peraspera were now several miles behind but followed suit. Initiatives-Alex Olivier and Concise 2 did not, choosing to continue for over 20 miles before making the crucial gybe. At 1800 BST, the five leading class 40s were still locked in close combat but BSL have found extra pace and hit the front for the first time in the race.


Wet and Wild onboard BSL Class 40

16 08 2011


Campbell and Ross Field  were impressively third in class to round the Fastnet Rock, just 28 minutes behind the first Class 40 – Roaring Forty 2 (BEL). According to the race tracker, at the time of sending (1800 BST), the team on BSL have moved up to pole position in the Class 40 fleet. Campbell Field shares his thoughts on the last 24 hours and the night ahead.

An interesting but fun 24 hours on BSL, with a pretty wild and wet ride across the Irish Channel – very fast, but also very wet! We got away from Lands End without incident, bashing and crashing through the overfalls, then the SW winds set in and a wild and bumpy night resulted in a few bruises, little sleep and  a bit of a mess downstairs.

 We passed very close by two of our competitors and were pleased to see that we had matching sail configurations. We made a mistake after dark and lost a lot of miles to them but we all met up at Fastnet Rock just after sunrise. So, we know BSL has potential.

Life on board has improved significantly since bearing away at the Fastnet Rock and hoisting the A2 – another great test opportunity for us as we rounded within lengths of two other Class 40s. The sun came out, and after a few gybes, Fish Pie for breakfast (our first meal for over 12 hours), a good cleanup of the interior, drying out some soggy thermals and a quick cleanup with some wetwipes, we are all in good spirits on board!

Some fantastic ‘champagne sailing’ – 20 knots flat off with the monster A2 up, dolphins for company and some very good plunger coffee and digestives. Also, unbelievably, it is hot and sunny.

We can expect some interesting action coming up for tonight as we are in reasonably close company with the top three Class 40’s, and the breeze is going to lighten and head us (hopefully!) down to Bishop Rock. We are converging on the guys in front, so have our sleeves rolled up and are working on a strategy to reel them in, lets see how that pans out over the next 18 hours!

Class 40 standings – top 10 Class 40’s to round Fastnet Rock on 16th August

1.       Roaring Forty 2 (BEL 107) – Michel Kleinjans 06:49:00

2.       Initiatives (GBR 30) – Tanguy de Lamotte 06:51:00

3.       Red (FRA 59) – Mathias Mueller von Blumencron 07:17:00

3.         BSL (NZL 76) – Ross Field Yachting Ltf 07:17:00

4.       Concise 2 (GBR 93) – Tony Lawson 07:48:00

5.       Moonpalace (NED 75) – Adriaan van Oord 09:53:00

6.       Tzu Hang (GER 53) – Axel Strauss 09:56:00

7.       Earwen (FRA 88) – Catherine Pourre 10:05:00

8.       Spilff (GBR 5455R) – Andrew Dawson 10:30:00

9.       MAXVMG (GBR 97) – Julian Metherell 10:31:00

Those 5nm caught!

16 08 2011

At 16:30 BST today, BSL is currently leading the class with 170.8nm to go until the finish of the Rolex Fastnet 2011 Race.

Home bound

16 08 2011

Having rounded the Fastnet Rock  and Pantaenius Buoy we are currently 3rd in Class at 10:30 BST. (only 5nm behind the leading boat in Class 40!)

Speed: 12.20 knots @ 175 degrees

Distance to finish: 224.1 nm

First 24 hours of racing on BSL…So far so good!

15 08 2011

Sunday was a pretty eventful day for the team on BSL, and to be honest a bit strange for Ross and I to have a few extra bodies on board to consider…

The Rolex Fastnet started reasonably well for us at 1120 off Cowes, a conservative start that turned into a very busy few hours short tacking up the Solent. Great fun and very interesting to already start comparing our speed and potential against the top boats in a fantastic Class 40 fleet. Once we exited the Solent we managed to settle into a steady pace and already some big decisions needed to be made; north or south, stick with the fleet or go our own way? We settled for a mix of the two, staying to the right and in contact with the majority of the fleet as we tacked our way out past Swanage to Portland Bill. A bit of a split in the fleet at the entrance of Lyme Bay left us wondering a bit how we were going against the fleet as the majority chose a lower road to the south over night. At daybreak, SW of the Lizard we still found ourselves in good company and learnt a great deal as we appeared to at some stages have the doors being blown off of us, but after a bit of reconfiguring, we were back in the game…a constant learning process.

The boat is proving to be everything we hoped it would be after the refit and a few minor modifications. The new inventory from Norths are a vast improvement, and the wetsanding session last Friday is paying dividends.

We find ourselves at the 1045 posreport in 3rd behind the two new Farr boats, and barely ahead of Tauguy who probably has the most miles of anyone in these boats. We have quite a few boats in sight, we are measuring every change in trim and speed against them and we are hanging in there.

Bruce, Magnus and James are doing well and seem to be enjoying themselves however seemed to be a bit surprised to be served nasi goreng for breakfast this morning…

Anyway, we are ghosting along in 8 knots with the zero up trying to lay Runnel Stone Light, better get back to it. We have almost finished the preparation for the blast we are expecting later today, conditions this beast is built for.


Team BSL out.

Latest Update from Rolex Fastnet Race

15 08 2011
After nearly 24 hours of racing, we are currently in 4th position  in class as of 10.15 BST 15.08.11

Position at: 15.08.11 10:15 BST

Speed: 6.80 knots @ 284 degrees

Follow us on the Rolex Fastnet Race 2011 Tracker

Start of the Rolex Fastnet 2011

14 08 2011

Images from the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2011

credit: Lloyd Images

credit: Lloyd Images