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BK06 | Fastnet Storm Room

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BK06 | Fastnet Storm Room

This room shows a furious storm at the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse from the deck of a yacht!  It is a reminder of the perils of Atlantic Ocean storms.

The Fastnet Race

The Fastnet race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) as the culmination of Cowes Week every second year (biennially) from Cowes (on the Isle of Wight off the South coast of England at Southampton) round the Fastnet and back. It is held in August and the most notorious year was 1979 when a storm blew up and created havoc among the boats. Of the 302 boats in 6 classes of yacht that started, 217 retired, 16 were abandoned, 5 were lost believed sunk and 15 crew were drowned. Thirteen lifeboats put to sea to aid boats. On August 13th, 1979, Baltimore Lifeboat went to the rescue of the two yachts REGARDLESS saved boat & rescued 9 crew and MARIONETTE saved boat and rescued 12 crew, spending 32 hours at sea.

If you put 'Fastnet Race 1979 Disaster' into a search engine there are many articles and books recounting that fateful journey.  At the end of this page is a Fastnet file.  If you go to the end of it there is a description of the 1991 Fastnet Race by a timekeeper from the RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) who was stationed on the Fastnet to observe the yachts  going round.  He was the second non Irish Lights timekeeper  on the Fastnet.  Up to 1989 when the Fastnet went automatic and the men were withdrawn from service, the keepers performed the task.

This is a photo of the Fastnet in 1900 before the present tower was constructed. It is only possible to get directly from a boat onto the Fastnet Rock maybe twelve times a year.  The swell is such that a breeches buoy which swung people and goods up onto the Fastnet Rock, was used.  You can see the derricks in the photo in 1900. By all accounts, it was a hair-raising experience!  The Irish Lights helicopter service superseded that.


Donated/Contributed by: 

Jules Thomas

Contact Us

Mizen Head Signal Station
Mizen Tourism Co-operative Society Ltd.
Harbour Road
West Cork
Tel: +353 28 35000 or + 353 28 35115 (Summer Only)
E: info@mizenhead.ie

Opening Times

November 1st – March 16th: 11am-4pm (Weekends Only)
March 17th – May 31st: 10.30am – 5pm
June 1st – August 31st: 10am – 6pm
September 1st – October 31st: 10.30 – 5pm

July and August
Daily 10am-6pm
September, October
April, May, June
Daily 10.30am -5pm
November - March
Weekends 11am-4pm

Entry Prices

Adult: €7.50 | Senior/Student: €6
Child under 14: €4.50 | Child under 5: Free

Group & Family Deals
Family (2 Adults and up to 4 Children): €25
Groups (10 and over): Adults: €6.50 | Senior/Student: €5 | Child 5-14: €3.50

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