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Signal 8 joins FAST40+ Class for Lendy Cowes Week

Thirteen examples of the FAST40+ Class will make up the largest Grand Prix class, racing at Lendy Cowes Week. From the 29th July to 4th August, the FAST40+ Class will be the first start of every day at Britain’s most famous regatta.

Racing a mixture of tight Solent courses, and longer coastal races, Lendy Cowes Week marks the third scoring regatta of the 2017 FAST40+ Race Circuit. Sir Keith Mills’ British Ker40+ Invictus, currently leads the season’s championship. Stewart Whitehead’s British Carkeek Mk3 Rebellion, is second, just a point ahead of the young German team, racing the Felci designed Silva Neo.


Ker designed Signal 8. (Guy Nowell)

The latest edition to the FAST40+ Class is the Ker designed Signal 8, owned by Jamie McWilliam, Matt Hanning, and Patrick Pender, who are all members of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. The trio, and Signal 8, are no strangers to racing in European waters, having competed in the boat at Cowes Week and Cork Week in 2012. Signal 8 was shipped to the UK earlier this year and is undergoing final modifications by John Corby in Cowes, as directed by Ker Yacht Design. “We had a great time in Cowes & Cork with the other Ker 40s, and then went back to race at home in Hong Kong and around Asia.” commented Jamie McWilliam. “But then a few of our situations changed, so when we saw the fantastic FAST40+ Class racing at Cowes last summer, and heard about the rest of the season from Tom (Jamie’s brother) who’s been on Rebellion, we thought maybe that was where we should go next, and that ‘FAST, and damn the rating’ was the way we needed to upgrade the boat, in order to maximise fun.

So to get started, with Matt Curthoys running the project to Jason Ker’s designs and McConaghy’s build, we changed the keel to a lighter deeper one last summer, and extended the bowsprit to allow bigger kites. We also increased the mainsail girths about as far as we could practically go. That made the boat quite a bit quicker, but we never really got enough wind in Hong Kong to really light her up.Then we got lucky, thanks Charlie Massey, with a fantastic price for a sail-on/sail-off ship out of Hong Kong, and that sort of made our mind up to head for the Solent. She sailed off to Genoa and then on to Southampton after a short spell at Yacht Club Italiano, thanks to Eddie Warden Owen and Chico Isenburg.

Signal 8 (John Corby)

We pulled the trigger on the final mods we had already discussed with Jason Ker: a transom scoop and a rocker reduction. Can Ergun and his guys at CSC Composites in Turkey made the main pieces, and John Corby did the building in Cowes in his usual awesome way. Andy Pilcher and Richard Bouzaid at Doyle Sails NZ have made us some big new jibs to go with the other big gear they’d made, so we’re basically as powered up as we can get.

The crew of mates, from around the world, are coming together for the first time at Cowes, so we’ll be slightly making it up as we go along, but everybody’s been enormously helpful and we’re really looking forward to it.”


Follow the FAST40+ Class during Lendy Cowes Week. Live news, pictures and videos will be available on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FAST40UK/.

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