The very best of luck and fair winds to Peter Coad and Darren in the Plymouth Fastnet 500 Race.
Blackjack sailed out of Dunmore East on Wednesday to join the brand new 500 mile race, which starts on Sunday afternoon in Plymouth Sound, leaving the Eddystone lighthouse to starboard, Fastnet Rock to port, Isles of Scilly to port and finishing at the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC) club finish line.
This is a brand new offshore race which will run in opposite years to the Original Lonely Rock Race.
Blackjack has already completed 13 transatlantic crossings and one around the world voyage under previous ownership, before the Coad family acquired her in 2003. Since then, Peter has raced it the two-handed class in several Round Irelands, a Fastnet race and several Dun Laoghaire to Dingle races.
Peter says he enjoys the challenge of 2-handed offshore racing in an older heavy displacement design like Blackjack, where if well sailed and with a bit of luck you have the potential to mix it with the modern lighter displacement designs.
And here’s a bit more about the challenges of the race from the organisers: “The challenges of this race are much the same as the Original Lonely Rock Race. Set at around 500 miles long, this is a race with 4 challenging segments. Starting from Plymouth, the race will not have to deal with the tidal gates at Hurst Castle, Portland and Start Point giving its competitors a chance to experience a shorter race around the Fastnet rock without potential for huge tidal gains and losses and without the logistical challenges of start and finish being in 2 different cities.”