Four days of intense racing
Published on August 23rd, 2021
After a year of training, double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson and Volvo Ocean Race and Figaro sailor Henry Bomby put it all to the test in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, racing their Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 on the 695 nm course
To document the effort, four static cameras onboard ‘Swell’ were filming the action and they both regularly reported into their onboard handheld ‘diary-cam’.
The forecast for start day was intense. A fleet of 337 yachts took off up an angry, confused Solent, heading into 30+ knot gusts before hitting the more regular swells of the open sea. It would prove to be a tough edition, with 25 of the 59 double handed entrants being forced to retire.
On board Swell, Bomby and Robertson did not start well, but their 34-footer was set up to excel in the windy conditions of start day and soon the pair were ripping through the fleet, resulting in a finish line duel with French Fastnet star Alexis Loison on board ‘Leon’.
It’s rare to get such an in-depth glimpse of life onboard a double handed Fastnet attempt, but the result is a unique and exciting glimpse into the biennial challenge, a 19-minute sailing film that captures their race from start to finish over four days of intense racing.
The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race started from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on August 8 in Cowes, UK with the finish line moved from Plymouth, UK to Cherbourg, France, extending the distance from 608 to 695 nm. The 2021 race had seven divisions for the 337 starters from 24 nations including Japan, Mexico, and eight from the USA, but the majority from Europe, including the largest ever turn-out from France.