On 3rd August till 8th August 2019, tranScrip’s Managing Partner, Flic Gabbay, will be competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Since it began in 1925, the Rolex Fastnet Race has grown to become one of ocean racing’s greatest events and is one of the top three offshore races in the world.
The Rolex Fastnet Race takes competitors across 600+ miles and up to five days battling the wind and tricky tidal conditions to round the Fastnet Rock on the Southern tip of Ireland. Three hundred yachts take part in the bi-annual Fastnet Yacht Race. Fastnet competitors head west down the Solent and out through the Needles, past the major south coast headlands, Anvil Point, Portland Bill, Start Point, and Lands End before rounding the famous Fastnet rock and returning via the Scilly Isles before finishing at Plymouth.
This will be Flic’s sixth Rolex Fastnet Race this year competing in IRC Two-Handed. Three of the Rolex Fastnet Races she has competed on her own boat, one was fully crewed, the other two double-handed. Flic Gabbay commented, “They both have their challenges. I think two-handed is more challenging in terms of stamina obviously, but less challenging in terms of managing a crew. The reason I raced her in one Fastnet fully crewed, with a scratch crew, some of whom had never raced offshore before, was to prove to myself that I was capable of being an effective and fully responsible, fully crewed skipper.”
For women looking to get into sailing professionally the path remains hard, but again more opportunities are gradually becoming available whereas before they were close to being non-existent. Women’s sailing received a massive influx when a rule changed for the last Volvo Ocean Race to make it highly beneficial for teams to take at least two female sailors. Introducing such quotas or incentivising teams to take women or young sailors is something which is being slowly adopted elsewhere in competitive sailing. As to women’s participation in offshore racing, Flic firmly believes there should be more. “They should be encouraged. We also need to make sure that people understand that as you get older it doesn’t stop you being able to compete. In the ‘Azores and Back’ and ‘Round Britain and Ireland’ two-handed, for which I bought Elixir, I came fourth overall in both races with relatively little experience. I think there are few sports where you can compete at that level as an older woman. I would like people to know that. It is really important, and I don’t think there is anything particularly brave or mad about me!”