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Fastnet update from JMII

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

RYA Press Release


11 August 2009

week remaining to enter 2008 RYA Youth Nationals

John Merricks II – Rolex Fastnet Race update


Sailors from the RYA Keelboat Programme are on course to round the Fastnet Rock this evening in the famous 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race, which departed from Cowes on Sunday (9 August).


After their second night on board the RYA-run TP52 John Merricks II, skipper Luke McCarthy provides this update:

“It’s been another eventful day.  We have spent most of our time hard on the breeze, as the wind seems to be going ahead of us each time we turn a corner!  Having said that, we are currently on starboard tack, and in a nice right shift which is currently allowing us to point straight at the Fastnet Rock some 90 miles away.


“As is to be expected in a race of this length, especially with as much upwind work as we have had, we have had a few minor issues with the boat. We have had a small hydraulics leak which has meant that the front of the boat on the inside has now been renamed the ‘Icerink’ as it is very slippery!

“Hydraulic fluid has a tendency to spread itself around and, in sorting this issue and cleaning up afterwards, there are now some quite slippery patches elsewhere, which require the crew to be careful in moving around the boat.


“Credit must go to Phil Miller, ably supported by Chris Noble amongst others, who has done an amazing job keeping the boat able to sail as fast as possible.


“Morale on the boat remains high, and the young sailors are still sailing the boat hard, whether this is helming and trimming in a straight line or getting involved with the numerous sail changes required as the wind increases and decreases.


“There’s quite a lot of water around us, and a few boats, although not as many as you might expect to see in a 300-boat fleet


“Everyone is looking forward to rounding the Fastnet Rock later today, both for the achievement itself (I am the only person on board who has done so before during a Fastnet race) but also as this signals a turn for home and, hopefully, some faster and more comfortable sailing with the spinnaker.


“We’re hopeful of reaching the Fastnet Rock sometime before dark – personally I’ve never seen it in the daylight and I’m not sure any of the others have either – so hopefully we’ll get there around, 8, 9, 10pm tonight when there’s still enough daylight


The crew of John Merricks II are hoping to reach the Rolex Fastnet Race finish line in Plymouth on Wednesday night (12 August).


To learn more about all the John Merricks II sailors and to keep track of their progress throughout the 2009 Rolex Fastnet visit


John Merricks II crew for the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race:

Skipper/navigator – Luke McCarthy (from Brighton; now lives Southampton)

Helm – Tom Smedley (Portsmouth)

Helm – Nick Cherry (Birmingham; now Southampton)

Trim/helm – Scott Millar (N. Ireland)

Trim/helm – Ben Pym (Cardiff)

Trim – Chris Noble (Glasgow)

Trim/helm – Josh Rumbol (Poole)

Trim – Sally Olsen (Devon)

Trim/grind – Ed Dyer (Reading)

Pit/trim – Tim Jestico (London)

Trim/pit – Becky Scott (Helensburgh)

Trim/sewer – Hester Robertson (Edinburgh)

Mast/grind – Rich Graham (Southampton)

Bow/trim – Peter Cowell (Shropshire)

Bow – Phil Miller (Southampton)

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