Draig O'r Mor Fastnet 2011 Campaign
Draig O'r Mor Sailing 4 Fastnet
January, 2011
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The Campaign
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Daya by Day reports
8/6/2011 9:27:13 AM

Please check out our facebook group Draig 4 Fastnet for progress of the run up to the race & updates when we have a signal

New Mast has Arrived
7/27/2011 1:49:10 PM

After ( what seems like) a lifetime of waiting and missing an awful lot of sailing our new mast is here - Hooray. Big thanks to those at selden for pulling out the stops & producing in record time. The restepping is now scheduled for Thursday 11am - unfortunately too late for the Channel Race. All, but Albert, of the crew are going to have a relaxing weekend in Cherbourg. Well overnight Friday & back Sat night/Sunday morning. Should be a good team building experience & a good opportunity to try out the sails on the new mast. Looking forward to getting back on the water again.

Mast Replacement Update
6/17/2011 7:14:07 PM

Thankyou to everyone who has been so kind in hour of need. Our widespread search for a length of extrusion to repair the old Proctor mast is to no avail. Despair not - ye cry! Alex from Atlantic Spars has sprung into action and ordered us a new Selden Section which they have promised to get to us 'As fast as is humanly possible' Thanks go to Andy Young for chasing up his contacts at Selden which can only help with the sense of urgency. Times move on and it would seem you cannot get a mast that tall and skinny enough to fit through the hole in Draigy's coach roof. Sam Pascoe springing into action to make the hole bigger and repair the damage done in the mast break. We are fingers crossed and sadly without a boat for the Morgan Cup this weekend - good luck Peter & John on Scherzo. Again no boat for RTI so investigating the possibility of Arthur doing his 5th RTI on Rumrunner. Thanks got to Michelle Samways for organising the Dean & Reddyhof berth holders party proceeds to go to Sail 4 Cancer. Also Cassie Aston for donating all her birthday presents to the cause ( does she know yet?) and a group of sponsored slimmers at my work who are slimming 4 cancer. I really am overwhelmed by the support we are receiving. Please keep promoting our campaign and send details of this website to all your contacts.

Myth of Malham Race Report
6/17/2011 7:03:46 PM


Disaster Strikes Draig o’r Mor and the Race is ON

If you have ever seen a mainsail lashed to the boom by a lifeboat crewman you will recognise it in an instant. No nonsense, practical, no matter how high tech the sail, it gets the same treatment when lives are at stake. Back in Weymouth I looked down into Vertigo’s deserted snakepit and thanked my lucky stars that we had got off so lightly.

The RORC Myth of Malham race, Cowes to Eddystone Rock and back is a 230 mile taster along the start of the Fastnet route. The drama of our entry began with Kevin and Nic delivering Draig to Cowes under tri sail and storm jib. With winds gusting well over 30 knots they surfed down waves and made record time - in safety. The crew gathered like a reverse Red Arrows manoeuvre from Holland, Sherborne, Weymouth and Alton.  Kevin, Kay, Nic, Helen, Neal , Albert and finally Andy converging for a strategy meeting in The Anchor. We all slept well that night.

At 6am there was little breeze and we pondered our choice of headsail. As we headed out to pass through the identity gate we could see the white tops building past the end of the headland. Two fire extinguishers to show this time. I remember saying to Nic to make sure they were properly secured afterwards. Kevin had been on an offshore once where a girl had received a nasty blow to the head when a fire extinguisher had worked loose. We knew we were in for a rocky ride with a long beat to Eddystone.

Starting with a favourable tide was a novelty. With moderate north westerly breeze the northern limit of the line was favoured. With a smaller jib we hoped to hold starboard tack the length of the Solent. Second away behind our rivals, Hebzibah, we fought to gain height and worked hard to overtake them by Beaulieu. We couldn’t shake them off until we eased sails at Hurst to make for the Needles Bridge buoy. Amazingly a couple of Sigma 38s, who had started mid line, had managed to hold a high enough course so they didn’t have to tack and had taken advantage of stronger tide in the middle of the channel. We pushed on level pegging with an X34 Sunfast 37 and First 34.7 beating down the channel for hours waiting for the wind to back. Offshore from Portland Bill we struggled for breeze and changed up to our biggest headsail. The pressure built later on and we reverted back to our new code 3. With neap tides the tidal gates were not so critical and we pushed on making good progress into the night. As predicted a favourable wind shift and we tacked for Start Point as darkness fell.

Discovering your company when dawn reveals is always exciting and this time encouraging. We rounded Eddystone with Persephone, Sigma 38, and Storm Trooper Sunfast 37 at 0620. Andy said there were seals positively scattering. Albert, on the helm, decided we must bear away – now. Unfortunately he didn’t tell Neal on Mainsheet and Draigy responded by laying on her side and ignoring Albert. After I had shouted a few words of encouragement( bleeding ears all round), Draigy was back on her feet again and a coordinated bear away was achieved. We had overtaken Storm Trooper and our kite was up and pulling. Just Persephone to overcome now. It took some time but with each roller we surged a little faster than the Sigma, peaking at 14.5 knots and eventually we were past and putting good distance between us. We watched the J97 Jika Jika struggling with their Assymetric gybes then heading off at breakneck speed only to stop for another gybe as we caught up ( Known in Weymouth as doing a Melges!)

We had rounded Start Point, the finish  in our sights. An easy downwind blast with only places to be gained along the way. We knew we were doing well, then at 1225 the unthinkable happened. A combination of a hasty gybe a large wave and a big gust. Nic and I were below. We heard a big bang and a bucket of spanners being emptied??? Shooting out on deck to look for damage all appeared well but the boom was rather high. Back down below I was horrified to see a crease in the mast from side to side around the front where the coach roof anchoring points are. We span Draigy round and simultaneously put back stay on to support the rig. The crease opened up as the mast righted and I shouted to nick to keep well away in case it broke off. With sails down we admitted defeat and motored.

Emergency procedures became a priority. We were 20 miles downwind and tide from Dartmouth. Turning into both with a dodgy mast was not an option. 33 miles to E Shambles and another 7 miles to Weymouth we wondered about our fuel. We had half a tank which might be enough, but what if it wasn’t? I radioed Persephone the nearest boat – but no reply. I tried Brixham Coastguard – no reply. I tossed Andy the hand held VHF and after discussion with Helen we agreed to put out a Pan Pan. Many thanks to the yacht who relayed the Pan Pan to the Coastguard – I never did get their name. We agreed to push on to Portland Bill and then contact the Coastguard again when we were in a better range for both VHF and mobile phones. We were pretty miserable but not in danger so only one thing for it – we had a beer.

An otherwise uneventful motor back was broken by the turn of events on Vertigo. We listened to the VHF in horror. A crew member overboard who had been recovered, was conscious but obviously in a bad way. No sails or engine, the coastguard helicopter airlifted them off in the distance. We did not hear any of the Liquid Vortex rescue. They were nearer Start Point. Apparently someone hit by the boom and airlifted off. As we rounded East Shambles we saw the Lifeboat go to the Bill to escort Vertigo in. They had a rope around their propeller

Vertigo and Liquid Vortex came up Weymouth Harbour together minutes after we had arrived. I stood on the quayside and looked down on them tied alongside each other, deserted, one could only imagine they must have raced to hospital to seek news of their fellow crew members. Our plight seemed trivial by comparison.

Our hopes for the Fastnet are dashed – for now. If we manage to fix Draig in time we have shown good form for a high placing result. Prior to our mast break we were putting good distance between Draig and Persephone who are on the same handicap. They finished 7th so we could easily have achieved that or better – would have, should have, could have. I have asked RORC if they will consider the section of the race we completed as counting towards the remaining 48 qualifying miles we need ( 125 Le Havre, 127 De Guingand, 300 needed)

Frantically seeking a 6 metre section of Proctor mast or a new mast ( minimum 6 week lead time). We are putting out a plea to anyone who has contacts in the Marine industry to help push Draigy’s repairs on. We really want to compete and succeed in our campaign to raise £10,000 for Sail 4 Cancer. All money donated goes straight to Sail 4 Cancer – none is used to finance our campaign
Disaster Strikes Draig
5/30/2011 5:30:54 PM

Disaster Strikes Draig

Having made a fantastic start to the Myth of Malham race, beat to Eddystone and fast spinnaker run past start point, at 1225 Saturday the unthinkable happened. Draig was hit by a gust during a gybe which went badly and her mast moved forward and creased below deck. As the wind eased the mast straightened and left a gaping gash across the front  of the mast from midsection to midsection. Sails were downed and a Pan Pan issued due to the fact we had a 40 mile motor to Weymouth Harbour and possibly insuffucient fuel. On the way back we witnessed rescues to other yachts by the coastguard helicopter & lifeboat. Draig now safely tucked up in Weymouth Harbour awaiting repairs - watch this space

Myth of Malham
5/24/2011 1:34:40 PM

Race start 0700 at Cowes round Eddystone rock & back to finish at north head near Hurst Castle

Crew shaping up as Kev, Kay, Nic, Helen, Neal, Albert, Andy. Going to have to work really hard to get that tidal gate at Portland - 6 hours

De Guingand Race Report
5/22/2011 5:34:37 PM


Draigy Enjoys the Breeze in the Rorc De Guingand Bowl

Peering through the spray on the Red Jet’s window we knew it was going to be an exhilarating weekend. Just visable in the distance was Draigy charging down the Solent under her storm kite. Lucky Kevin and Nic had an excellent delivery on Friday whilst Helen and I had been working. With a rendezvous in West Cowes,  a strategy meeting was formed in the Anchor Inn. We had been emailed the course – Cowes, Needles, Greenwich Light Vessel, Cowes, 127 nm and the forecast was for moderate to strong westerlies

We awoke to a breathlessness hailed by the marinas bunting. Everyone knew the plan. A good team, well rehearsed, we slipped out of the marina for an 0800 Saturday start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line. Usual drill, beating, adverse tide, so the Squadron was the favoured end. Except you couldn’t lay the line on starboard. Mid line there was a massive wind shift with a freshening breeze which put Hurst Narrows in our sights. Taking advantage of this we had a cracking start, windward boat and were arguably in first place for the first mile but then the wind eased. We had to foot off and drifted onto a leeward boat. Forced into a killer tack, which took us to the back of the fleet, unperturbed we chased on picking off our rivals one by one. By the time we cleared Hurst we were in 6th place. Staying high towards the needles others were forced to tack behind us and we took a couple more places. Some of the faster class, who started after us, began to catch up. We rounded the Needles Bridge buoy, big bear away and hoisted the biggest kite we have.

The fleet divided here. Some went radically close behind the Needles to dodge the tide and others sought the breeze offshore. We had studied our tidal streams and took a midline until the tide really began to pick up then sought refuge inshore about half way to St Catherine’s point. We certainly didn’t lose out by this strategy. The wind was steadily increasing and as we rounded the headland the seas increased and we saw more and more boats broaching. Keeping in really tight we were chomping up the miles but then some of the extra fast boats started careering in amongst us with their asymmetrics. We had a couple of near misses with bow sprits missing our push pit by inches so decided to keep out for a few minutes until they had passed.

Pushing away from the island, on a lay line for Greenwich Light Vessel, the wind really got up and the seas rolled on. We watched more and more competitors getting into trouble and changing down to smaller spinnakers. An X34 alongside us had a massive wrap around the forestay and struggled for half an hour before admitting defeat and retiring. Draigy never faltered and we enjoyed the rollercoaster ride carrying the same kite all the way. We were whooping with delight at each surge down the waves with a record speed of 13.5 knots. Spirits were high & concentration imperative otherwise a wipe out. Getting the spinnaker down after 8 hours was some feat and just as we positioned ourselves for the drop a big wave picked up Draigy’s stern and twisted her around. Helen and I let out a shriek in spite of ourselves.

With trepidation we cornered the light vessel for the beat but we need not have worried, Draig handled the seas impeccably. Sometimes my imprecise helming highlighted by a slam and a shower for those on the rail. Forced to concentrate hard, determined not to lose our downwind advantage, we beat on into the bitter cold wind of the night. The wind eased a little as we neared the Solent and we changed headsails but immediately it sprang up again to mock us. Trimming as if racing around the cans we held the larger sail but eventually had to submit to changing back to the smaller jib.

The lights of the Solent are a bewildering and fascinating sight offshore. Spinnaker tower like some crazy helter-skelter.  As we drew nearer and dawn approached our competitors appeared and it was clear we were doing well. At 5 miles from the line everyone has to radio the Committee boat to warn of arrival. It was good to hear some competitor’s position but not that Major Tom was 1.5 miles ahead of us. We had a tacking duel to the finish with an IMX 40 and finished within seconds of a Grand Soleil 45 at 0530 Sunday. We celebrated our finish with a breakfast beer.

Tired but elated we sailed into Cowes and had a couple of hours sleep until the tide turned and then headed for home at 9am. A typical beat all the way home we arrived on our mooring at 3pm and went ashore a very happy but rather sleep deprived team

Delighted to have finished 6th in class out of 24. We beat all the other British entries – just the French and Dutch to beat now. This put us 7th in the series so the pressure is on for a good result from the Eddystone Rock race over the bank holiday weekend. Also Jubilant to have been given £929 in donations for Sail 4 Cancer with a big chunk from the WSC Tea by the Sea party. Not far from our first £1,000 – can you help?
De Guingand Echo Article
5/22/2011 5:33:10 PM


Draig enjoys the Breeze –Fastnet Qualifier to Greenwich Light Vessel

Draig O’r Mor was in her element with some exhilarating sailing in strong breezes in the RORC Fastnet qualifying race last weekend. The De Guingand Bowl race started at Cowes at 0800 Saturday with a beat up the Solent to the Needles. Here spinnakers were launched and Draig revelled in a fantastic 8 hour rollercoaster ride, surfing on waves at 13+ knots to the Greenwich Light Vessel and rounding the mark at around 1800. From here it was a massive beat back to Cowes for the Finish at dawn, a total of 127 miles.


Draig really likes a blow and she never faltered as we watched others broaching and getting into trouble with their spinnakers. One yacht struggled for at least half an hour with a massive kite wrap before they were forced to retire. Some of the light displacement boats kept up with us on the spinnaker run but when we turned to beat back home Draigy’s weight really came in to her own and we left many behind as darkness fell.


With a team of 5 working well together we beat some strong competition and all the other Brits in our class and were delighted to finish 6th out of 24. Now lying 7th in the series the pressure is on to do well in the next race to Eddystone Light House and back over the bank holiday weekend.
cervantes race report
5/22/2011 5:29:35 PM


Draig O’r Mor first qualifier for the Fastnet Campaign. Cowes to Le Havre


I looked at the course that had been emailed to me with astonishment. We were on delivery passage approaching the Needles when it came in. I was pretty surprised that I had a signal & marvelling at modern technology then it hit me that this course was not exactly what I had expected. When we did the Le Havre race two years ago it was pretty much straightforward and straight there. This time we were to depart the Solent to the West leaving the Needles fairway buoy to port then beat against the tide round the island to Nab Tower on the East side and use this as our departure point for Le Havre 125 miles. Good Game Good Game. It’s not that I mind beating against the tide. But there’s something pretty sadistic about a course where you fight the tide for hours and just start to enjoy it as it turns in your favour. Then after about half an hour you turn a corner and have to fight back against it again - TWICE. Call me old fashioned but I’m more of a downtide downwind gal any day. (there’s a song there somewhere)


Anyway we had a good run ashore in Cowes Friday night and our new crew toasted the start of the campaign. Nic & Neal new to us from the RORC crewlist and Helen M-S on loan for the weekend– special thanks to her for turning down some distant relative’s wedding invitation. Other crew had not been available for this race so we were 5 up with Kevin and me (normally 8).


We had an interesting start (0800) narrowly avoiding the biggest boat you have ever seen, adopting some starting strategy of sitting stationary, broadside on the line with pole up ready to launch their spinnaker – reminiscent of the old WSC start line??? So we were not exactly in the best position on the line we had hoped for. Never mind we were clear away spinnaker up no trouble. Dead running, fighting the tide for an hour, keeping to the shallows. Exciting close quarter stuff. Not many Sigma 38’s as they had their nationals in Weymouth. A 101 like Terry’s sailed double handed doing well. Our old rivals Winsome Hepzibah & Iromiguoy running down towards Hurst & eventually some favourable tide. So here we were bombing along past the Needles to the Fairway buoy & after some discussion Kevin eventually decides to change the headsail ready for the beat. Now I’m not saying it was a bad decision. In fact we all applauded the headsail when it went up. It’s just I wish we had started just tad sooner. Before we knew it I was counting down the seconds to the mark – no pressure eh! All went well with a couple of seconds to spare but we certainly realised what the extra 3 crew members do!


Now we were beating towards St Catherine’s point. During RTI is a relatively easy duck from the Needles into the Bay out of the tide but from the Fairway buoy it’s a major detour & more of a balance – keeping check of the foul tide on each tack & tucking in fairly close. From St Catherine’s it was a proper old fashioned short tacking beat keeping in really tight with big holes in the breeze, dodging boats like Partouche ( Class 40) with its amazingly long bow sprit ( ooh err !). We were doing reasonably well until the port runner jammed in the block & we had to tack away from the others until it was hacksawed off. A spare soon in place and we were back in contention. As we approached Nab Tower we started to enjoy the favourable tide but looked over with dismay to see that no one had launched a spinnaker, as we had hoped, for the long haul across channel. As we followed we could see why and carried our largest head sail on this close reach against the tide out into the channel. Here we launched our new Code Zero with high hopes of carrying it through the night. Something was not quite right & we need to experiment more with this sail. We were rather bows down & rounding up dramatically which is not like Draig at all. Anyway we decided to drop in favour of the genoa at sunset & really didn’t lose any speed and were far more controllable.


Our approach to the turning mark A5 was pretty spot on (So I’m told. I was asleep at the time – confidence in my navigation? – no just knackered) and we took many places as others struggled to get round. From here it was a slight harden up and straight for the finish line as dawn approached. Its so fascinating to identify the boats whose nav lights you have been sailing with through the night. We finished alongside a Challenge yacht, a First 34.7 & X34 and were pleased to hear others from faster classes arriving after us. We were 15 out of 39 not bad for a first effort. We learned some valuable strategies and beat some serious competition.


With a forecast for stronger winds on Monday we sailed straight through the line & put the spinnaker up and headed for home – Kevin sneaked a beer in celebration at 0600 while the rest of us waited until at least 0800. Arriving in Weymouth Bay just as the fireworks started on the seafront was a real buzz. We had sailed 242 miles non stop over 38 hours, beat the rain and more importantly caught last orders.


As we toasted our homecoming I suggested an extra race in 2 weeks time & everyone thought it was a brilliant idea. A great team really working together by the end of the race and with full complement of 8 next time we should to do even better. The De Guingand Bowl is a race around marks in the channel over 24-36 hours on Saturday 14th May.
Cervantes race Echo Article
5/22/2011 5:27:06 PM

Fastnet Campaign to Raise £10,000 for Sail 4 Cancer First Qualifier to Le Havre


After months of careful preparation Draig O'r Mor finally hit the Royal Yacht Squadron start line at 0800 last Saturday to enter the RORC Cowes to Le Havre race.  This was the first of her qualifying races where her crew must show they are capable of handling the yacht through every possible extreme of the elements over a minimum of 300 miles in RORC races.


The Race Officials carefully planned the Le Havre race so most of Saturday was spent beating against the tide right round the Isle of Wight until a final UK departure mark at Nab Tower on the East of the Island was reached. From here it was a close reach across channel through the night to the finish line outside Le Havre early Sunday Morning. Draig O'r Mor completed this 125 mile race with a crew of 5 who had never sailed together before and were pleased to be ranked 15 in class out of 39 entries.


With a forecast of strong winds and thunderstorms on Monday, Draig sailed through the finish line & immediately sailed back to Weymouth during Sunday. “We arrived in Weymouth Bay just as the fireworks on the seafront appeared to herald our return. We had sailed 242 miles non stop over 38 hours and it was a real buzz to receive such a homecoming. We were pleased with our first result with a new crew. We did not disgrace ourselves, valuable strategies were learned and we still beat some serious competition. By the end of the race we were really working as a team and with full complement of 8 next time we hope to do even better.” So inspired, the team are entering an extra qualifying race in two weeks time - The De Guingand Bowl which is a race around marks in the channel over 24-36 hours.
De Guingand race this weekend
5/9/2011 9:50:35 PM

Looking forward to the race this weekend. Unfortunately short of crew again. 0800 start on saturday 24 - 36 hours of racing starting and finishing in the solent. Need to get out of the solent by 2pm sunday to beat the tide

mast down
2/12/2011 12:41:29 PM
0810 sunday 20th February unstepping Draig's mast at Weymouth Sailing Club. Hoping to re-rig her ready for the next spring tide
sail 4 cancer link
1/18/2011 11:24:31 PM
cathy is setting up draigy pages on the sail 4 cancer web site
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