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Steve Ashley

Ep 45 - Steve Ashley and the 1979 Fastnet Race

Issue date

Steve Ashley was an 18-year-old sailmaker living in England when he was asked to crew on a 34-foot yacht for the 1979 Fastnet Race. Little did he know, like the rest of those scattered on the 303 boats who took part that year, he was about to be involved in one of the most notorious races of all time and one that led to the largest combined rescue operation since the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

Steve talks about the leadup to that race, the fact they received no warning about the ferocity of the storm they were sailing into, what happened when hurricane-strength winds hit in the middle of the night and how he and the rest of the crew on board went about ensuring their survival when others perished.

Steve has found himself in dicey situations many times, and also talks about a notorious passage he had from Bermuda to New York, as well as his role in the early days of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.