Matson men in Fastnet race success.

PUBLISHED: 09:19 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:43 10 June 2010

LAST week we reported that Father and son Neil and Sam Matson (18) had crossed the Plymouth finishing line in the Fastnet race, to take 47th place in the IRC3 class, writes Mike Rice.

LAST week we reported that Father and son Neil and Sam Matson (18) had crossed the Plymouth finishing line in the Fastnet race, to take 47th place in the IRC3 class, writes Mike Rice.

Now Neil Matson can tell the story of this gruelling race in his own words: " There was a lot of drizzle and rain with winds from 0 - 28 knots, and we seemed to be beating into the wind most of the way, but it was a great race. We were becalmed off St Albans Head for hours and we should have put an anchor down to avoid losing ground with the tide. Crossing the Celtic Sea there was a horrible, boat slamming chop and when we were within twenty nautical miles of the Fastnet Rock, we were almost becalmed again. We managed to creep round the Rock at about two knots. We then thought we would have the wind behind us to take us on a run to the Scillies, but no sooner had we gone around the spreader mark than the wind turned and we were again on a (slow) beat. As we reached Bishop's Rock the wind moved around to the South West and increased and we were, at last, on a run - a hundred nautical miles with the spinnaker to Plymouth. This was an amazing run, with speeds in excess of 10 knots in the darkness and Sam doing the sail trimming. We crossed the finish line in the early hours of Saturday morning, five days and fifteen hours after leaving Cowes, to take 47th place in the IRC3 class.

This was a major event for the Matson family, as Neil's eldest son Mike was also in the race, crewing on the Class 2 boat Artemis. As Matson said to the event organisers on arrival at Plymouth: "this was the first time we had competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the challenge of taking part in a renowned offshore race such as this, along with the opportunity of doing it with my son, is my reason for taking part. It was an amazing experience."

The Cadet national championships are taking place at Pwllheli in N Wales this week. After three races, Emily and Kate Kinver were in 19th place and James and Chris Turl in 47th, out of the 91 boat fleet. Best result so far was the Kinvers' 7th place in the third race. The first day's racing was lost through high winds and torrential rain.

Entries are still open for the next major event to be run by Exe Sailing Club - the Champagne Challenge, taking place on Saturday, September 12. The event, open to all River Exe clubs, takes the form of a race to Brixham, followed by a champagne reception, prizegiving and dinner at Brixham Yacht Club and a gentle cruise back to the Exe on the Sunday. Racing will be organised into two classes: Class 1 (Racy) and Class 2 (Comfort). The race is traditionally started off Orcombe Point by the Exmouth Lifeboat, with the slower classes starting at 11:00 and the faster ones half an hour later. This year's event is sponsored by two local businesses: Aqualine Bathrooms and Kitchens, and Graham Sykes Insurance.

For full details and online entry go to the website at www.champagne-challenge.co.uk.

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