Fastnet history for London schoolboys
A crew of schoolboys from London has made yachting history as the first state school to compete in the Fastnet Race.
Eight pupils from Greig City Academy raced a restored 45ft Admiral’s Cup yacht around the 603-mile course from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off the southwest tip of Ireland, finishing in a time of four days, 13 hours and 59 minutes, 36th in the IRC 3 fleet and 142nd out of 368 competing yachts.
The schoolboys from Greig City Academy in Hornsey, north-east London, were racing Scaramouche, built by Palmer Johnson in 1981 for Chuck Kirsch to race for the USA in the Admiral’s Cup. The school renovated the racing yacht with sponsorship funds raised by the pupils.
The project was the brainchild of geography teacher Jon Holt, who started taking his pupils sailing in Poole Harbour several years ago. Describing the race, he said: ‘The crew raced in three watches of four, each supervised by a teacher and a professional skipper. It was the boys, however, who sailed the boat. The lads have been brilliant and disciplined throughout,’ he said. The crew weas also awarded the prize for the best media campaign.
Lead helmsman Montel Jordan, 17, had spent the week beforehand helming Lloyds of London’s X-55 Lutine in Cowes Week, having helmed an Etchells to 4th place in the Gertrude Cup the week before.
He said: ‘The highlight for me was helming downwind. With over 20 knots of wind
Scaramouche was surfing. I had to concentrate on every single wave because one wrong turn and we could gybe or broach, which could cause injuries. I am asking as many people as possible about how to get into a race team, maybe someone will find me a place!’
Elsewhere in the Fastnet Race, French boats dominated the leader board. Eight of 11 main prizes were won by French crews, with all but one of the IRC classes going to French boats, as well as the IMOCA 60 and Class 40 events, although the British trimaran Concise 10 won the multihulls’ race.
Didier Gaudoux was the overall winner, sailing his JND39 Lann Ael 2.
Montel Jordan, 17, helms Scaramouche around the Fastnet