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News > Bradfieldian Stories > Jay Kempe (F 67-70) achieves podium finish after brutal weather in Fastnet 2023

Jay Kempe (F 67-70) achieves podium finish after brutal weather in Fastnet 2023

Jay, an experienced sailor whose successes include representing Bermuda in the Tornado Class at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 with his brother Reid (F 67-69), served in the dual role as sail trimmer and helmsman aboard the Clipper 68 yacht ‘Ambitious’ in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Jay had participated in 2 legs (10,000 miles) of the Clipper Round the World Race 2012/13 and rejoined Clipper again for the 2023 Fastnet Race.

The Fastnet Race is the world’s largest offshore sailing race, first raced in 1925, and 2023 was the 50th edition of the race that follows a challenging course that takes competitors around Fastnet Rock off the SW coast of Ireland. The course starts off at the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes and this year finished at Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France.

The crew of the ‘Ambitious’ went on to receive third place in their class, a fantastic achievement, especially given the horrendous weather conditions that forced 142 of the record fleet of 430 to retire and having to start dead last and 2 hours late due to engine difficulties.

“At the start, we had a few wind gusts of 50 plus knots, and the waves were big but very, very steep and we could barely make headway or tack, but somehow, we managed to get through the narrow channel at The Needles. Rounding Fastnet Rock at night in dense mist and reduced visibility was very eerie but a triumphant moment. The run back to Cherbourg was quicker and relatively easier but still produced some challenging off-wind sailing at times. All in all, many high and low moments but an epic adventure including a fulfilling sense of accomplishment.’’

Having competed in numerous Newport to Bermuda Races, The Sydney Hobart Race and The Middle Sea Race, Jay is thrilled to have fulfilled his dream to compete in The Fastnet Race, the most prestigious of ocean races.

Jay and Reid racing their multi-hull Tornado 

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