The first test of our 2017 Fastnet Crew took place on Saturday the 22nd of April.
Having spent two weekends in April already out on Jedi drilling the manoeuvres and learning the boat we were confident everyone knew what was needed of them – but how would we get on in competition with other boats?
Boat preparations had commenced on Friday the 21st of April, with Jedi having only arrived back that morning from a round Ireland sailing challenge, Sail4CF, with the aim of raising money for cystic fibrosis care. The boat was fully converted to race spec, stocked for the day and cleaned down ready for the early morning start.
The crew were aboard early, and after a race briefing and tactics talk we docked out at 9am. The crew was eager to get into things, so we spent the hour before the start drilling a few manoeuvres and tuning the rig for the conditions, which were light. A challenging start saw some ground lost to the competition, but the crew got the code zero set and excellent sail trimming saw us rapidly overhaul most of the fleet. Afloat Magazine's report on the race has a great picture of Jedi just after the start.
The first mark of the course was the South Burford buoy, and rounding this we had climbed to third on the water. From there we slogged it out with several J109s, with Juggernaut and White Mischief giving us some stern competition. The light and variable wind put the crew through their paces, but they all rose to the challenge, delivering a great performance. Our shore team report at some points we were 1st on the water as judged by the AIS trackers aboard the fleet.
We arrived into Wicklow to a warm reception from Wicklow Sailing Club, and once a few refreshments were taken on we headed home for Dun Laoghaire.
We finished third overall, which is fantastic result and something the whole crew should be very proud of – and this certainly bodes very well indeed for the rest of the campaign.