Space has come down to Earth for this weeks legendary Fastnet regatta. Competitor Marc Thiercelins 20-metre Pro-Form yacht boasts lighter batteries, more efficient solar cells and advanced energy management systems - all spin-offs from Europes space programmes.
On Sunday 7 August 283 boats took off from Cowes in the Rolex Fastnet 2005 race, sailing along the south coast of England before crossing the Irish Sea to round the Fastnet Rock off Irelands south western tip before returning to finish in Plymouth on Friday. For the majority of the crews the race represents the pinnacle of their offshore racing careers.
For Marc Thiercelin with his Pro-Form yacht, this 608 nautical miles (1126-kilometre) run represents a short sprint by comparison with his previous round-the-world exploits. Even so, he takes the Fastnet Race as seriously as anyone. Excluding the War years, this event has taken place every other year since 1925, and has long been established as one of the major ocean classics.
David Raitt | alfa
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