At 2200hrs local time in Australia **Mad Dash** will compete in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race. **Mad Dash** has already completed all three qualifiers, so we caught up with CYCA crew member Thomas Eizinger in the UK, to hear a little more about the boat’s campaign and how he got involved from his home in Sydney.
CYCA: Thomas we have heard rumours in the Club this week that you are going to take part in the Rolex Fastnet, is that right?
Thomas Eizinger: “Yes, the rumours are correct! Race starts tomorrow (Saturday, 1300 BST).”
What are you sailing and who are you with? We hope you’re feeling good?
“I am pretty excited to be honest. We are a crew of eight including our skipper. Mad Dash is an Elan 410. We've got a fairly diverse mix of experience, our youngest member is only 22! On the other end of the spectrum, we have Iain, who did all 11 months of clipper in 2016/2017.
How has the preparation for this race been?
“We've been training together since Easter. I found the boat via Crew Finder back in February when I was still in Sydney. It has been a bit of an adventure, because I was still in Australia at the time I joined the crew. I just knew I would spend the summer in Europe and wanted to get involved with some sailing over here.
Was that hard to achieve from so far away?
“Well yes and no, for Fastnet 50% of the crew must have raced more than 300nm together in the last 12 months. So we signed up to a race more or less every second weekend. Together we have now done local races including Trophy Race, the Salcombe Gin Cowes, the Weymouth Race, the Myth of Malham race and the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. Plus some other ones in June that the crew all did which I unfortunately couldn't attend.
Tell us more about the boat?
"Mad Dash is a performance cruiser racer, offering three double cabins and two heads. It is designed as an all-rounder for competitive sailing but its format is very forgiving to less experienced crews while still delivering good performance and exhilarating rides for those who are more experienced.
Was it hard to sell yourself into the skipper?
“After numerous emails back and forth with him, we agreed that I'd join them for the RORC Easter Challenge, which is a training weekend where professionals are out on RIBs and mentor you throughout several "races".
Ironically, there is now another Thomas on the boat, Thomas Dillon. He is originally from Sydney and has taken part in numerous Sydney Hobart's but despite that, we've never met before. Although now that we’ve spent more time together, we have discovered we do have common friends in Sydney. It’s such a small world.
He and I have been getting along quite well, but that’s the case with everyone on the boat! Funnily enough, I think in this crew we have all completed more Rolex Sydney Hobarts, than Rolex Fastnets.”
How is the weather?
“The weather is quite interesting. We are looking at an upwind start of 20 - 25 kts south-westerly.”
What is the mood like in Cowes? Is it exhilarating to be there?
"I am not yet on the Isle of Wright, as our boat is located in Hamble. So I can't speak to the mood on the island itself. But from what I know, 2023 looks to be the biggest Rolex Fastnets to date with almost 500 yachts starting!"
We wish Thomas and the whole crew the best of luck in the race.