The Fastnet or not…

This is one of those updates that I really didn’t want to have to write.

As you may have seen, Hannah Stodel Racing didn’t make it to the start of the Rolex Fastnet race today.

We had secured our entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race at the beginning of the year, which in itself is no mean feat, given that this is the Worlds biggest offshore race, and ordinarily spaces are sold out within minutes.

It’s no secret that I have been after my own boat for a very long period of time, and I utterly detest chartering… it’s essentially wasted money, and it’s getting more and more expensive to say the least… We lost our original Class 40 charter boat as it was sold on earlier in the year, but we were still hopeful that we could find a replacement. Sadly we were wrong…

Finding any charter boats has been impossible, but Class 40’s exceptionally so after the recent announcement of a Round the World race for the Class 40 – every man and his dog has been buying up whatever boats are left… To give you an idea of the price hike – the one boat we did find wanted 6 times the amount we paid for our last Fastnet charter. That was a figure we could not meet, let alone justify…

Whilst all of this was happening, I spent hours on the phone, sending emails, begging owners to charter me a boat, and days wondering whether I am just not good enough to keep fighting this battle.

I’m also going to answer a question that I know a few are perhaps asking right now… why don’t I just do it on something else? And here’s the stupid thing; my team and I tried to make that happen.

I tried to charter literally anything else that floated, I found a slightly worse for wear Sunfast 3600, but again the numbers were silly, and the timeframe required to get the boat race ready just didn’t fit. We needed new sails etc, and financially buying a boat that I don’t own new sails, as well as paying a charter fee feels a bit much.

I even explored the option to take a ride in a school boat, and yes there were a few options, but again I would be spending over 3k just to sail around the rock as rail meat.

So, I finally wrote the email I didn’t want to write to RORC officially withdrawing my entry from the race.

What I wouldn’t give to be smashing through waves towards the rock…

To say I’m devastated would be an understatement. I have failed to get to the start-line of one of the key races that matters this year, and it’s going to take some serious reframing for it not to feel as shit as it does right now.

So, on a personal level, I must admit I’m not in a great place right now, and the failure I feel in not making it to the start line of this edition is pretty brutal.
I of course watched the start of the Fastnet this morning and I will be following the tracker and all updates obsessively. I wish every competitor all the very best for this epic race.

Despite knowing that the next 18 hours of weather and sea state will make this a fast but brutal start to the race, despite knowing I would be wet, sleep deprived and at times probably terrified, I would still give anything to be out there with them!

I will keep fighting because I know ultimately that I can achieve my dream of one day racing in the Vendee Globe, this is just another speed bump in the way…

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