03.25 Rounded Fastnet to port with much cheering, singing and celebration in Nelson’s Blood. No reply to our signals. Starting a whip round to buy gelignite to blow the rock up so we won’t have to go round it again. The rock, the light and the surf a very impressive sight, a bit too much from so near.

09.00 Surgeon retired wondering if soles really are good for breakfast. Crews awakening like the break of day in a boozing den.

10.30 Chronometer fast on GMT 1 min 5 secs.

16.30 A real blow. Wind increasing and sea rising. Decided to heave to and furl mainsail and jib. Setting mizzen and staysail. Lay to under jib thereafter furled main, got in jib and set mizzen and staysail. Gusts of 8 blowing a full 7.

20.00 Alligator, George F., the Soldier and Bosun took a simple repast of mulligatawny Thalassa, sardine puree a l’Oxford & Bucks, Peches de Barts, brandy, fine champagne, Martell de Guigand.

23.00 A dirty night, big sea running and looks like closing in, maybe a heavy blow too. The Alligator is considering buying a farm and beating his sextant into a ploughshare, the solider is considering following the land girls back to the land.

2400 Things look brighter. Picked up Bishop light just where it should be. Nice landfall.

10th August – Cleared S.W. Scillies between Bishop and overfalls by series of cross bearings and set course for Lizard. Mainsail set. Making splendid progress. Big sea running. The soldier producing fine tea. Might get a dry out later. Beautiful smells of frying fish coming from forward.

Display by Austin Reed’s on deck of Davis wet gear – about to cover “parrot cage” for good – hooray.

12.00 Crew celebrated end of fifth day at sea with beer, cheers and song. Rain about, overcast Lizard nearly abeam ….. Signal made to Lizard. Answering pennant hoisted, greeted with cheers. Lizard 1.5ms. abeam. Set course E by N for Penlee.

16.30 Log carried away on spindle. Dirty sort of afternoon. Rain complete murk and very light wind aft.

20.00 Lights of Plymouth ahead, 14 miles, after long period of calms and light airs from aft. What a race, every damn thing – head winds, fog, gales and then to be becalmed 14 miles from the finish after sailing nearly seven hundred ------ miles!

11th August - Very light airs bringing us slowly to Plymouth on the last of the tide, hope we make it! Last of the drink now being absorbed …. “All hands suffering terribly from thirst, scurvy rampant”. No food, no drink, no wind, no women, no hope.

03.27 Breakwater light abeam, crossed line, signals answered. Dropped hook in 8 fathoms by pier under Hoe. Crew singing to greet Plymouth. Crew postponed keelhauling the Captain till daylight. Turned in as dawn breaking.

10.00 All hands on deck. Cold morning and looks squally. Customs aboard, just heard we have a second, just beaten by Rose in our class. All very elated as Rose, a big fellow and our old lady – just “poor little Piccole”. Now drying sails and all wet gear from below. Customs Officers considers Alligator to resemble a film star, take pity on the girls of Plymouth (Rin Tin Tin, King Kong, Pop-eye, and Donald Duck are film stars, beware of flattery – Algal)

So ends the Fastnet of 1939. Distance sailed 670 miles. Time 5 days 15.5 hours. Average speed 4.9446 knots.

Footnote:
The 1939 Fastnet was sailed only a month before the war broke out. Ian Dear in his history of the RORC records that the skipper of one of the two German boats which took part made a speech at the prize giving dinner about how the Germans intended to win the 1941 Fastnet. It is said that no one present was left in any doubt what he was alluding to. When crew members gave the Nazi salute they were roundly booed.

It is known that at least one of the 1939 crew of Thalassa “the soldier” died in the war. Of the others, “the Alligator, the Doctor and the Bos’n” continued sailing long after.

This log came to light when Richard was approached at the Portsmouth Festival of Sail by Dilys Renouf, the niece of George Faint, the “professional skipper” for the race, whose family had treasured it ever since.