We sailed into strong winds and quickly had to change our No1 Genoa to our No3. Entertainingly for the foredeck crew we did this in a bit of a chop with large waves crashing over. Making steady progress passed Plymouth we saw the multi hull Maxi Banque Populaire heading for the finishing line! It’s huge and very fast….we were however a little frustrated that we were still heading for the rock!
We encountered incredibly light winds around Lands’ End and rode the tide for a considerable period of time going round in circles! We eventually headed for the Scilly Isles en-route to the Fastnet Rock flying our Very Large Spinnaker. We saw a pod of dolphins who gave us a spectacular display. As we headed to the Rock the wind built and we held the spinnaker for probably longer than we should but we did achieve a speed record for Rainbow of over 11 knots!
We rounded the Rock in the dark with the light house silhouetted by the moon. We’d heard that there was a Gale brewing for that night and we headed back to Lands’ End with some bravado that we need to catch up on time! We eventually put one reef in the main and hoisted that No.3 and screamed through the night thinking we probably should have put the storm jib up! Still we were again entertained through the night by dolphins enjoying our increasing wake. We took a large wave into the cockpit which turned it into a mini swimming pool until the water drained and we lost our second danbouy and horse shoe to a large wave (I can now understand why RORC state the boat has to have two to qualify!).
Sailing up the coast to the finishing line at Plymouth we again encountered light wind, but we made the most of it by drying out our wet kit. As we reached sight of Plymouth the focus was finishing the race in time to go to the bar! Alas the wind failed and in sight of the line, we missed the tide and spent the next 4 hours waiting on the tide to turn!
So we finished at 4.20am Sunday morning, we docked at the marina at 6am, had champagne courtesy of RORC at 8.30am and I was on a train home at 11.45am!
We made it round in one piece and in good spirits! We finished 53rd in class and 242 out of the 316 starters.