Fastnet doublehanded | Voador

Vi har ju tidigare hört från Mike West/Paul Worswick i Juneau, en av shorthand-J/105:orna som fullföljde Fastnet. Klassen vanns ju av Simon Curwen/Paul Peggs med Voador. Deras story nedan. Foto: Rolex/Daniel Forster.

J owners are known for being on the adventurous side, but when we recently looked back on 2007, a few events really stood out… the 2007 Rolex Fastnet being one of them. Simon Curwen and Paul Peggs won the double-handed division of this challenging race on the J/105 VOADOR, and finished second in Class 2 against eight fully-crewed boats. After a weather-delayed start and 35-40 knots, steep seas, and cold temperatures, only two of the seven double-handed starters completed the race – and both were J/105’s. J Boats checked in with Simon about his experience.

JB: Describe the two days of upwind sailing.
SC: It in no way compares with the 1979 Fastnet when people got caught out in the middle of the Irish Sea. Seas build up from the Atlantic against a shelving coast and conditions there can get very ferocious. This year was just cold and quite windy, and the short sharp typical seas are very unpleasant to sail in, but it wasn’t particularly dangerous.

JB: And after you rounded Fastnet Rock it was downwind?
SC: Dead downwind so no nice screaming reaches! Our closest rival was a class 2 fully-crewed French boat that was 1.5 hours behind around the Rock. So how long to carry the kite was the question.

JB: How fast were you going with the kite in 35 knots, and how did the boat handle?
SC: It’s a good stable boat downwind with perfect handling, an absolute joy to sail. We saw a maximum speed of 18.7 knots, but what was more exciting was sustaining long surfs, over minutes, at fourteen knots and above. We were probably averaging eleven knots, and the boat was very easy to handle. But then the halyard chafed through and we lost the spin overboard. So that lost us a bit of ground.

JB: What kind of speed did you make with just the main?
SC: More like eight knots, with surfs to twelve. But we were able to sail dead downwind, so we didn’t lose as much ground as we expected. In the morning we hoisted the spinnaker again on the jib halyard.

JB: Do you have any tips for sailing short-handed offshore?
SC: There’s very little that needs doing to the boat. Getting a good autopilot is required. We have a Raymarine ST6000, which has worked perfectly for four years And the #4 jib is a great sail; we sailed the whole of the Fastnet with that this year.

JB: Would you do it again?
SC: Oh yes….and in a 105. I don’t think there’s a better boat for doing two-handed campaigns. There were seven two-handed entries for this year’s Fastnet, certainly by far the biggest short-handed division for that race. We have a full circuit that includes singlehanded, doublehanded, and fully crewed events, and we could race every weekend of the year. The boat crosses all those boundaries very well.


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