The Fastnet has finally started and the fleet is well on its way past Portland Bill and heading for Start Point and I have been distracted at work by following their progress on the RORC race player (to be found here).
While the player has its clunky moments, thats not too unexpected given the fleet is not half a dozen as per many off shore races but a whopping 300. Its great fun watching the start as the waves of classes head off down towards Hurst Castle and then bursting out into the channel by the Needles (above).
One boat seem to be routing through the Isle of Wight but I'm guessing that is technical faults not unorthodox tactics.
It seems they will also avoid the worst of the weather - looks like a F7-8 peak and many will at that point be away from the strongest winds, as the chart below (from here) shows a dip in wind speed around the Lizard at the same time as the fleet should be getting there.
This might cause some to question the RORC's decision to delay the race. They say that blogs should always be controversial so I should stir things up and flame at committee mentality.
But the truth is I have some sympathy. The forecast did indicate a potential force 10, with wind speeds over 50 knots in the Celtic Sea just as the fleet would have been crossing it. It looks like this worst case scenario won't happen, but with the vagaries of the weather it might have.
And with gust speeds 50% higher than the continuous that would mean peaks of 75 knots, which would not have been pretty.
If you're not convinced read this great book about the 1979 race when 15 died.