With more entries than ever before, this year's Fastnet Race clearly shaped up to be a very competitive one. In IRC class 1, a strong contingent of four Ker 40s as well as the Ker 46 Tonnere and the French Inis Mor, all had their eyes firmly on the trophy. Wouter was sailing with the Ker 40 Magnum III team that he worked with throughout the season, and no stone was left unturned in the preparation.
"The forecast for this year's Fastnet was rather moderate, which saved us from a long and uncomfortable ride, but at the same time meant that it was a very very strategic race. All along the English coast we were exchanging blows with the other Ker 40s, playing the currents and local weather features."
The fleet was still compact near the Scilly islands, but the crossing of the Irish Sea saw a bigger split.
"The Irish sea was very tricky. With light winds and a complicated weather scenario, we were playing a good game of chess. We were fortunate enough to play it well, and to round the rick with a small lead over the other Ker 40s"
The journey back across the Irish Sea saw the boats pick up speed in a building breeze.
"We were blazing through the pitch black night, with visibility down to zero in the squalls. It was very very intense, and whilst down below after an hour of steering, I noticed that the wind was more lifted than predicted. I checked and double checked and checked again, and then we made the crucial call to pass to the north of the traffic separation zone at the Scilly Islands. We blasted on through the night, not knowing where the others were. In the morning we isn't see any boats behind us, so we were rather anxious, but when we checked the tracker, we saw that we smashed the others and built a 10 nm lead on them."
From there Wouter and the team on Magnum III held their lead to the finish, to secure their Class 1 finish. They were even leading the fleet overall for a long time, but in the end five smaller boats pipped them to the throne.
"It was an amazing race, with an amazing team. The boat was well prepared, and we gave it our very very best right up to the finish. I am very proud of the team."
Wouter wins Fastnet Race in IRC class 1