Andrew Alcock, chief operating officer at jewellery trade specialist insurance brokers TH March, will be setting sail later this week in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race as part of a six-man crew on the Grand Soleil 50, Class 2 yacht, ‘Emma Claire’.
The 605-nautical mile race starts on Sunday 6 August and is renowned as the world’s largest and most prestigious off-shore sailing race.
The race starts from Cowes, Isle of Wight, and will head westward, along the English Channel before crossing the Celtic Sea towards the Fastnet Rock off the southern tip of Ireland. Once there, the yachts will head back to the finish line at Plymouth.
The race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and has been an established fixture on the ocean racing circuit since 1925.
With close to 400 competitors, this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will be the largest off-shore race the sport has seen.
Alcock said: “Aside from the jewellery trade connection of sponsorship by Rolex, you couldn’t get much further away from my normal world. It has taken months of planning and preparation for ‘Emma Claire’ and the crew with lots of qualification stages. I have done a fair amount of sailing over the years, but never anything of this scale – I must admit to feeling pretty daunted.
However, we have a great crew of six, including a fantastic skipper, with plenty of experience on board. We expect to be at sea for four to five days”.
He added: “Strangely, the idea of being on a yacht for the best part of a week doesn’t appeal to everyone (including my wife, Helen). It is of course an epic adventure and I am thrilled to be taking part. All a great excuse to buy new sailing gear of course, and I think we are going to need it.”