Schlagwortarchiv für: Rolex Fastnet Race

Rolex Fastnet Race 2021: Skorpios gewinnt Zielinie in Cherbourg / FRA

Rolex Fastnet Race: Erstes Morca-Mehrrumpfboot überquert die Ziellinie in Cherbourg

Jason Carrolls MOD70 Argo überquert die Ziellinie von der Lichtstation in Fort De L'Ouest um 1522 BST © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.comJason Carrolls MOD70 Argo überquert die Ziellinie von der Lichtstation in Fort De L’Ouest um 1522 BST © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Während es beim Rolex Fastnet Race schwierig ist, abseits der Schnellen und Glamourösen an der Spitze der Flotte aufzufallen, müssen wir an die kleineren Boote unter den 337 Startern am Sonntag denken. Als der mächtige Ultime-Trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in Cherbourg ankam, nachdem er den 695-Meilen-Kurs in etwas mehr als einem Tag verschlungen hatte, fuhr Alaistair Cookes Sigma 36 Sundance auf der Flut mit 2 Knoten rückwärts und war nicht in der Lage, den Startpunkt mit 570 langen Meilen zu umrunden links zu segeln.

Im Laufe des heutigen Tages hatten Brian Skeet und Nicolas Malapert, die beidhändig auf der Sigma 38 Marta fuhren, ein ähnliches Problem, als sie den Startpunkt passierten, nur um es wieder zu sehen, als sie der Flut ausgeliefert waren.

„Über Nacht war absolut kein Wind – wir waren ziemlich tot im Wasser“, beschrieb Skeet. „Wenn es Wind gab, folgten wir ihm herum. Es kam viel Nebel und Nebel herein. Es war ziemlich harte Arbeit. Da es zu tief war, gab es keine Möglichkeit zum Kecken, also mussten wir in Bewegung bleiben.“

Ihr robustes Sigma 38 ist an raue Bedingungen gut gewöhnt. Tatsächlich ging das Design in Produktion, nachdem es einen Wettbewerb des Royal Ocean Racing Club gewonnen hatte, um eine Yacht zu entwerfen, die nach der Fastnet Race-Tragödie 1979 bei den unwirtlichsten Wetterbedingungen gefahren werden konnte.

„Es war harte Arbeit, aber nicht so schlimm“, fuhr Skeet über ihre ersten 24 Stunden fort. „Dafür ist das Boot ausgelegt, also hat sie sich um uns gekümmert. Es war okay. Es entstand weder bei uns noch am Boot ein Schaden. Es war nur harte Arbeit. Zumindest haben wir jetzt das schlimmste Wetter überstanden.“

Team Argo feiert im Ziel: Jason Carroll (Mitte rechts) + Charlie Ogletree, Thierry Fouchier, Charles Corning, Weston Barlow, Alister Richardson und Brian Thompson © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.comTeam Argo feiert im Ziel: Jason Carroll (Mitte rechts) + Charlie Ogletree, Thierry Fouchier, Charles Corning, Weston Barlow, Alister Richardson und Brian Thompson © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Die letzte Ankunft in Cherbourg, die heute Nachmittag um 1522 BST endete, war der führende auf dem Wasser in der MOCRA-Klasse – der MOD 70-Trimaran Argo des Amerikaners Jason Carroll, der ein relativ einsames Rennen segelte, nachdem Giovanni Soldinis Schwesterschiff Maserati nach ihrer Explosion in Rente ging Winde.

„Der Start mit 27 Knoten war spektakulär, aber alle haben einen guten Start mit Wind von Backbord hingelegt und waren sicher, was gut war“, erzählte Argos britische Multihull-Legende Brian Thompson. „Es war ziemlich holprig da draußen und tolle Rennen. Wir waren eine kurze Zeit lang neben Sodebo und natürlich sehr lange neben Maserati, den ganzen Tag. Es war traurig zu sehen, dass sie in Rente gehen mussten.“

Thompson sagte, dass Argos Runden des Fastnet Rock die beste seiner vielen Runden war, sowohl in diesem Rennen als auch in anderen Rennen und bei seinen Rekordversuchen.

„Es war ein so klarer Himmel und eine angenehme Brise von 10 Knoten. Die Sonne schien, es war warm: Es war Mittelmeersegeln an der Südküste Irlands.“

Argo ist das erste Boot der Flotte, das die längere Route um den Norden der Casquets TSS auf dem Weg zur Ziellinie von Cherbourg nimmt.

„Das lag daran, dass wir im Endanflug fünf Knoten Tide gegen uns hatten“, erklärte Thompson. „Wenn wir in die andere Richtung gekommen wären, wären wir VMG mit fünf Knoten Flut gegen uns gelaufen. Ein weiterer Faktor war, dass der Wind, der dort war – 8-10 Knoten – bis zum Startpunkt war. Nachdem wir die TSS umrundet hatten, überquerten wir dann mit hoher Geschwindigkeit den schlimmsten Gezeitenstrom [in Richtung Süden].

Die letzte Stunde war ihre schnellste mit 30 Knoten, aufregend mit 5 Knoten Flut unter ihnen.

An der Spitze der Multihull-Klasse unter der MOCRA-Regel steht jedoch Adrian Kellers 84-Fuß-Performance-Cruising-Katamaran Allegra von Adrian Keller, den Thompson für den Klassensieg unantastbar hielt.  

Titelverteidiger der Klasse 40 - Luke Berry mit Jules Bonnier, Clement Bouyssou und Mathilde Geron © Lamotte - Module CréationTitelverteidiger der Klasse 40 – Luke Berry mit Jules Bonnier, Clement Bouyssou und Mathilde Geron © Lamotte – Module Création

Unter den IMOCAs halten Charlie Dalin und Paul Meilhat an Bord der Apivia weiterhin einen enormen Vorsprung von 45 Meilen vor dem zweitplatzierten Charal, der von den amtierenden Rolex Fastnet Race-Champions Jérémie Beyou und Christopher Pratt gesegelt wird. Heute Nachmittag war Apivia in der Nähe der kornischen Küste und passierte gerade die Eidechse. Alle IMOCAs befinden sich nun rund um den Fastnet Rock, wobei Clement Giraud und Erik Nigon an Bord der Compagnie Du Lit / Jiliti das Schlusslicht bilden und kurz nach Mittag die Runde machen.

Um 14:42 Uhr MESZ führte Luke Berrys Titelverteidiger Lamotte – Module Création die Class40 um den Fastnet Rock mit 21 Minuten Vorsprung auf den zweitplatzierten Italiener Andrea Fornaro an Bord von Tales (für das Alter seines Bootes über seinem Gewicht). „Wir haben ungefähr 12-13 Knoten“, sagte Berry eine Stunde vor dem Runden. „Sie haben ein bisschen mehr Rückstand, also werden sie ein bisschen auf uns zurückkommen.

„Ich denke, wir haben die Winddrehung richtig gemacht. Unter diesen Bedingungen sind wir nicht langsam. Auf dem Rückweg wird es weniger taktisch, sondern eher um Geschwindigkeit gehen, was es für uns mit der AWA bei 80-85° etwas kniffliger macht. Wir haben vier Mach 4 hinter uns und sie fahren damit um einiges schneller. In 20 Knoten wird es im Ärmelkanal wieder aufgehen: Vor Cherbourg weht auch nicht viel Wind… Wir werden versuchen, so viel wie möglich durchzuhalten, aber gegen diese schnelleren Boote wird es hart.“ Lamotte – Module Création’s Cherbourg ETA ist die frühen Morgenstunden des Donnerstagmorgens. „Wir werden beten, dass die Flut bei uns ist, aber es wird von unserer Geschwindigkeit abhängen. Ich freue mich sehr, zur Halbzeit in dieser Position zu sein“, so Berry abschließend.

Die große IRC ZerRORC Commodore, James Neville umrundet den Fastnet Rock auf seiner HH42RORC Commodore, James Neville umrundet den Fastnet Rock auf seiner HH42o Boote, insbesondere das polnische Duo I Love Poland und Sailing Poland, haben weiterhin einen starken Einfluss auf diese Klasse sowie den Gesamtpreis des IRC. Heute Nachmittag näherten sie sich Bishop Rock, während die ClubSwan 125 Skorpios sich mit einer ETA in Cherbourg von etwa 2100 BST heute Abend der Westseite der Casquets TSS näherte.

RORC Commodore James Nevilles INO XXX war das erste IRC One-Boot, das heute Nachmittag um 14:30 BST den Fastnet Rock umrundete und einen Vorsprung von 3,5 Meilen vor dem zweitplatzierten Elliot 44CR Matador des Schweden Jonas Grander hatte.

„Es waren harte erste 24 Stunden, ziemlich schrecklich“, erzählte Neville von ihrem Start und ihrer ersten Nacht. „Wir sind ganz schön nach Süden gekommen. Es war einfach hart – sehr nass, alles war durchnässt – genau das, was man liebt! Wir machten ein paar Segelwechsel und hielten das Boot in Bewegung. Die Schichten waren ziemlich gut und wir kamen auf der Ostseite des TSS in Land’s End an. Dann besserte sich das Wetter und wir hatten etwas Flut unter uns, die nach Norden fuhr. Jetzt ist die Irische See wunderschön, ein echter Glamour. Mit etwa 12 Knoten erreichen wir den Felsen. Es ist ein schöner Nachmittag.“

Die abtrünnigen IRC Zwei Spitzenreiter auf dem Wasser, die JPK 10.80s Sunrise des Briten Tom Kneen und Il Corvo der Niederländerin Astrid de Vin, hatten heute Nachmittag noch 40 bzw. 80 Meilen vor sich, um den Fastnet Rock zu erreichen . Im Laufe des heutigen Tages ist Sunrise fest an die Spitze der Klasse aufgestiegen, obwohl die anderen 11.80er, Eric Fries‘ Fastwave 6 und Richard Fromentins Leclerc Hennebont / Cocody stark im Aufwind waren.

Es findet ein Dragrace in der mittleren Keltensee statt, um prahlend, vor dem IRC Three zu sein, wobei Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier auf der linken Seite des Kurses langsam von Louis-Marie Dusseres JPK 10.80 Raging-bee² und gefangen wird Philippe Girardins J/120 Hey Jude, mit Klassenfavoriten und Titelverteidiger Alexis Loison und Guillaume Pirouelles JPK 10.30 Léon dicht dahinter. Dieses Trio führt auch unter IRC-korrigierter Zeit, obwohl es unmöglich zwischen ihnen liegt.

Die IRC-Vier-Spitzenreiter waren heute Nachmittag auf halbem Weg über die Keltische See und erreichten rund 7,5 Knoten. Hier führt David le Goffs JPK 10.10 Raphael weiterhin sowohl auf dem Wasser als auch unter der IRC-korrigierten Zeit von Harry J. Heijsts S&S 41 Winsome. Im Laufe des heutigen Tages haben sich die JPK 10.10s, die Gioia und die britischen Favoriten der Familie Pinteaux sowie die zweihändigen Richard Palmer und Jeremy Waitt auf Jangada an die Spitze des Feldes gezogen.

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Rolex Fastnet Race 12.08.2017

15.08.2017

France annihilates Rolex Fastnet Race competition
for a third time

France galvanised its reputation as the world’s greatest offshore racing nation by dominating the results across the majority of the classes in the Rolex Fastnet Race for a third consecutive occasion. Of the 11 main prizes, French boats failed to win just three, and of these one (Dongfeng Race Team) was raced by a largely French crew.

The Royal Ocean Racing’s biennial flagship event this year attracted another record-sized fleet of 362 boats, six more than 2015. It continues to be the world’s largest offshore yacht race, and also the most popular – when registration opened, the IRC fleet’s maximum limit of 340 boats was reached in just 4 minutes and 24 seconds!

As ever the course took the giant fleet west down the English Channel, either side of the prohibited ‚traffic separation scheme‘ zone between Land’s End and the Scilly Isles, across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, four miles off southwest Ireland, back south leaving Bishop Rock and the Scilly Isles to port and then, on past the Lizard, to the finish off Plymouth – in total 605 nautical miles.

Equally impressive as the size of the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet was its diversity, ranging from many of the world’s top offshore racing teams, either privately owned or sponsored, down to smaller amateur family and friends entries to sailing schools featuring individuals for many of whom the Rolex Fastnet Race would rank as the ‚Everest‘ of their offshore racing careers.

The traditional Sunday staggered start on the Solent, taking place the day after Cowes Week, was spectacular, the giant fleet setting off by class, starting with the multihulls at 1100 and finishing 1hr 40 minutes later with the biggest monohulls. They were accompanied west down the Solent by the substantial spectator fleet before squeezing through the bottleneck at Hurst and out into the Channel.

This year’s race was a ‚classic‘ weather-wise with a prolonged beat all the way to the Fastnet Rock, followed by a run back to Bishop Rock and a reach to the finish. Conditions for the frontrunners were moderate, albeit somewhat awkward with a front lying across the southern UK creating a small pause in the wind before filling in from the northwest.

The medium-small sized boats got their money’s worth with a hard beat into winds approaching 30 knots en route to the Fastnet Rock. These same conditions made for a blistering sleigh ride back from the Rock for the larger boats.

Course record holder, Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli’s 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 being absent this year, left Tony Lawson’s MOD70 Concise 10 (ex-Virbac Paprec) to claim line honours. Thanks to the long beat, records remained intact with the blue trimaran making it round the course in 42hrs 55mins (compared to Banque Populaire V’s record of 32hrs 48mins in 2011). However if anyone doubted a multihull’s upwind ability, Concise 10’s time to the Fastnet Rock was some 29% faster than George David’s larger state of the art maxi, Rambler 88, first monohull round, more than 10 hours later. Ironically, given France’s dominance in offshore multihull racing, this was the only class won by a British boat in this year’s race.

Favourite for monohull line honours was Rambler 88, owner George David once again facing his demons after nearly losing his life in the 2011 race when the keel fell off his previous 100 footer and he and a group drifted away from the boat. However in with a chance was Finnish round the world race legend Ludde Ingvall’s heavily modified 100ft maxi CQS and the high performance superyacht Nikata – at 115ft, the longest boat in the fleet. All three were full of former America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race talent including most of 2007 era Alinghi, sailing with Dean Barker on Rambler 88, former America’s Cup helmsman Chris Dickson on CQS and with America’s Cup winner Peter Burling having the most comfortable ride on Nikata.

Again, Rambler 88’s time of 2 days 9 hours 34 minutes and 26 seconds, fell well outside that of the 1 day 18 hours and 39 minutes monohull race record set by Ian Walker’s crew on the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing VO70 in 2011.

While there had been a small park up outbound as the boats crossed the front, on the way back all of the boats got trapped to differing degrees by giant Doldrums-like clouds that sucked away the wind and dumped rain on the crew. The eventual winner in the IRC Zero class was American Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer, however before this Rambler 88 and Nikata had both been ahead, not just in class but overall under IRC.

Among the professional classes racing outside of the IRC fleet this year were the Class40s, IMOCA 60s and the VO65 one designs competing on ‚Leg Zero‘ of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. The Rolex Fastnet Race was the first time the seven VO65s had come together in a major race. The Simeon Tienpont-skippered Team Akzonobel got ahead at the Lizard and led round the Fastnet Rock. However the main competition was between the Spanish MAPFRE team, led by Xabi Fernandez and Dongfeng Race Team, skippered once again by France’s Charles Caudrelier. Their sprint for the finish line was won by the Chinese team but by less than one minute. As Fernandez explained: „We were stretching away at the very end, but then a big squall came with 20+ knots. It was way too much for the sail and we had to peel and they overtook.“

However the performance of the VO65s was overshadowed by doublehanders Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet on the smaller IMOCA 60 SMA, who posted a similar race time to the VO65s. Aside from being a winning duo, having previously claimed victory in the Figaro’s Transat AG2R, SMA also benefitted from swapping back to her original straight daggerboards, with which (as MACIF) she won the 2012-13 Vendee Globe with Francois Gabart. This proved a superior configuration upwind to the Fastnet Rock and her 48 minute lead there could not be recovered on the subsequent downwind legs by the newer generation foil-assisted 60s such as Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, aboard Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco or Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on StMichel-Virbac, who having rounded the Rock ended up second having sailed some 10% faster than SMA between the Fastnet Rock and Plymouth.
The biggest class among the non-IRC fleets were the Class40s, with 26 boats, including all the latest designs, from Verdier, Owen Clarke, Manuard, the newest being Carac, Louis Duc’s Marc Lombard design featuring the highest volume bow permitted under Class40 rules.

Class40 President, Halvard Mabire was sailing with English partner Miranda Merron on Campagne de France, a boat of his own design. They were first around the Fastnet Rock but where then overhauled by the faster, more powerful reaching machines, Maxime Sorel’s V and B and Jersey’s Phil Sharp on Imerys, both designs by Sam Manuard, who was competing aboard winner, V and B.

While these high profile classes grabbed headlines, the majority of the boats competing were in the 312-strong IRC fleet. If already France had won the IMOCA 60 and Class40, where they were in the majority, they subsequently prevailed in the remaining IRC fleets where they were not.

In IRC One, a tough on the water battle for the lead between James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX and the beautiful Mylius 15e25 Ars Una of Italian Vittorio Bissarini, was won by the British boat. These two pulled out a massive lead on the water, but it was Lann Ael 2, the JND 39 of Parisian Didier Gaudoux, that came out on top, the La Crouesty boat’s time correcting out to more than two and a half hours faster than the Lombard 46 Pata Negra, campaigned by Dutchman Herman de Graaf and his family.

In IRC Two Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia managed to fend off the advances of long term rival Nick and Suzi Jones‘ First 44.7, Lisa, skippered for the race by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd. These two boats led IRC Two into Plymouth with the lower-rated Pintia’s time correcting out to 1 hour 13 minutes ahead. On this occasion it was the front runners who prevailed on corrected time.

Boyd observed that Pintia had got ahead of them at Portland Bill. „She went in and we probably should have followed her as they just managed to get through the gap. We went outside and lost quite a few miles. However we gained them back in Lyme Bay when an awful lot of boats went in and many had to anchor.“

For IRC Three it was once again the turn of the JPK 10.80s to come out on top, following Géry Trentesaux’s Rolex Fastnet Race victory on Courrier Du Leon in 2015. This year with Trentesaux crewing for a friend in the multihull class, it was the turn of two French boats to fight for first. Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s Dream Pearls came out on top, winning by a mere 1 minute and 11 seconds on corrected time from Marc Alperovitch’s Timeline. This outcome might have been different had Alperovitch and his crew not spent six minutes extricating themselves from the Shingles bank as they tried to exit the Solent.

Again these two boats led on the water as well as on corrected time ahead of perhaps the strongest contingent of British boats, all sailed two handed – the mixed duo of Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, finishing third overall. Another boat to do well was the Russian 10.80, Bogatyr skippered by Melges 20 champion, Igor Rytov.

IRC Four was another all-French affair for the lead between two JPK 10.10s. Here Pascal and Alexis Loison aboard Night and Day won, the Cherbourg-based father and son team showing the same prowess as won them the Rolex Fastnet Race outright in 2013. Just two up, père Loisin, an orthopedic surgeon and Alexis, a successful Figaro sailor, beat their long term fully crewed rivals aboard Noel Racine’s Foggy Dew.

These two boats led at the Fastnet Rock on corrected time, not just in IRC Four, but overall across the entire IRC fleet.

As Racine recounted of how he lost his rival: „We were very close, but we fell into a wind hole 100m from the Fastnet, stopped for two minutes and they disappeared.“ Night and Day rounded 20 minutes ahead on corrected time and extended away, Racine explained: „A patch of light wind was coming from astern, so the boats behind had more difficulty than us, but the boats ahead were gone.“

The nearest British competition was, Xara, the Swan SR 38 of Jonathan Rolls which finished fourth, three hours and 23 minutes behind Night and Day.

Night and Day also cleaned up in IRC Two Handed, where there were a record 58 entries. Here British boats faired better with Bellino coming home third behind Dutch two handed champions Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre aboard their new J/122e Ajeto!

Ultimately it was the IRC One winner Didier Gaudoux’s JND 39 Lann Ael 2 that came out on top across the IRC fleet, winning the coveted Fastnet Challenge Cup.

„We had a fantastic race,“ said Goudoux. „We were lucky with the weather. Conditions were good for the team and the crew. From Fastnet Rock to the Scilly Isles was perfect for us – the wind angle, the size of the waves, etc. It was windy and these boats enjoy big waves. We were doing over 20 knots – a new record for us!“ Having rounded the Rock 29th overall, this latter part of the race won them back their time.

Last year when new, Lann Ael 2 put in a disappointing performance in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores‘ Cup, but since then the boat has been heavily optimised with input from her navigator, Figaro veteran and sailmaker Fred Duthil.

For the vast majority of Rolex Fastnet Race crews, the event represented an achievement, being part of a classic ocean race dating back to the 1925. This was the case for the eight inner city kids aged 15 and 18 from Greig City Academy in London sailing their major offshore race as it was for the young Chinese crew from Noahs Sailing Club in Shanghai, led by Ting Lee on board the First 47.7 EH01. It also attracted many famous boats from the yellow trimaran Acapella, Mike Birch’s nimble 1978 Route du Rhum winner to Kialoa II, the 72ft S&S maxi that American businessman Jim Kilroy campaigned to victory in the 1965 Transpac and 1971 Sydney Hobart.

Nick Elliott, Racing Manager of the Royal Ocean Racing Club said: „It was a fantastic race – a tough start with challenging conditions, but a superb way to finish with a downwind blast all the way from the Fastnet Rock to Plymouth, where our sponsor Rolex made everyone feel welcome in the Race Village.

„Congratulations to Didier Gaudoux and the crew of Lann Ael 2, the worthy winners. Thanks to our team of race officers and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to make the arrival as welcoming as possible for everyone.“

ENDS/….. James Boyd

List of prize winners: HERE

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ENDS/…. James Boyd

 

2017-fastnetrace-040

Rolex Fastnet Race 11.07.2017

11.08.2017

France claims Fastnet Challenge Cup for third consecutive time

For a third time running the Rolex Fastnet Race has been a story of French domination, Le Tricolor flying on this occasion from the top spot in IRC 1, 2, 3 and 4, the Class40 and IMOCA 60, the Two Handed and IRC Overall. Even the Chinese boat, Dongfeng Race Team, that won Volvo 65 competition had a largely French crew. This left IRC Zero to American Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer, while, surprisingly, the only British class victory went to Tony Lawson’s MOD 70 trimaran Concise 10, in the usually French-strong Multihull class.

Early on, the overall prize looked set to be a big boat affair with both the JV 115 Nikata and George David’s maxi Rambler 88 leading until the run back from the Fastnet Rock favoured the medium-sized boats.

Ron O’Hanley’s Privateer came close to making it a second Cookson 50 victory, a decade on from the overall win of Irishman Ger O’Rourke’s Chieftain.

„This is a great race, an iconic race and we have had a great time even if we haven’t won,“ said O’Hanley. „It was a fantastic start in Cowes – hard to see how you can get 400 boats out of the Solent at the same time! The weather conditions were good, not as light as it was last time and there was no drama coming out of the Solent.“

As to where they did well, it was on the run back from the Rock said O’Hanley. „The big boats were leading, but then for a smaller boat to get into the lead was because of the very good conditions – tight reaching, we were planing most of the time and with the canting keel we could put a lot of miles on the clock.“

However by Wednesday it became apparent that there was a new contender for the 2017 Fastnet Challenge Cup – the overall prize under IRC.

Didier Gaudoux’s JND39, Lann Ael 2, struggled last year when she competed in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores‘ Cup, however then she was only six months old. Since then the team, based out of La Crouesty in southern Brittany has tweaked the boat considerably with the assistance of sailmaker and former Mini and Figaro sailor Fred Duthil.

„We had a fantastic race. We were lucky with the weather. The conditions were good for the team and the crew,“ said Gaudoux. „From Fastnet Rock to the Scilly Isles was perfect for us – the wind angle, the size of the waves, etc. It was windy and these boats enjoy big waves. We were doing over 20 knots- a new record for us!“

Prior to this, the French boat had benefitted by going so close in at the Lizard that „we could touch the rocks,“ said Gaudoux. Like the other boats that did well, Lann Ael 2 went east of the traffic separation scheme off Land’s End, benefitting them greatly in terms of the distance to sail and favourable wind shifts. „Our navigator/tactician did a perfect job to tack on the right shifts,“ said Gaudoux.

The JND 39 is a heavily-chined design from Bernard Nivelt and ate up the miles on the run towards Bishop Rock. „It took 11 hours to cover 170 miles! We were surprised. We were two to three miles ahead of some good competitors at the Rock and by the Scilly Isles we were 30 miles ahead simply because we were going faster,“ said Gaudoux.

Paris-based Gaudoux was sailing with his son Thomas and daughter Coralie, navigator Fred Duthil, plus Nicolas Deberque, Nicolas Dore, Alois Kerduel, Pierre Louiset, Paulin Nicol and Christian Ponthieu.

As to the Rolex Fastnet Race, this is Gaudoux’s fourth: „When I was 16 years old, the Fastnet was a dream. The RORC lays on very nice races. Although it is a long way to come, boats take part from all around the world. We receive a nice welcome and the races are always very well organised.“

With the prizegiving for the Rolex Fastnet Race taking place tonight, boats continue to stream into Plymouth. Among them has been the Frers 46, Scaramouche, crewed by Greig City Academy in East London including eight students aged 15 and 18, plus two teachers, two skippers and a team manager.

The boys are almost all first generation Londoners, and embraced the unfamiliar challenge of ocean racing with huge enthusiasm. „It was a real test for them,“ said team manager John Holt. „They are true pioneers amongst their peer group.“

17 year old Montel Fagan Jordan, whose family comes from Jamaica, was a helmsman on board. „I started sailing in dinghies three years ago, but now it’s great to be on a big boat. We had some great surfing downwind after we got round the Fastnet Rock.“

Bowman Camillo Oribo, also 17, agreed: „The way back was definitely the best bit. We flew with the spinnaker up. We don’t get too tired once we’ve established a watch system.“

PROVISIONAL RESULTS:

IRC Z: 1. Privateer – Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley (USA); 2. Lady Mariposa – Ker 46, Daniel Hardy (GBR); 3. Bretagne Telecom – Mach 45, Nicolas Groleau (FRA)

IRC 1: 1. Lann Ael 2 – JND 39, Didier Gaudoux (FRA); 2. Pata Negra – Lombard 46, Hermann de Graaf (NED); 3. Ino XXX – HH42, James Neville (GBR)

IRC 2: 1. Pintia – J/133, Gilles Fournier / Corinne Migraine (FRA); 2. Lisa – First 44.7, Michael Boyd (IRE); 3. Elke – First 40, Frans and Carla Rodenburg (NED)

IRC 3: 1. Dream Pearls – JPK 10.80, Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret (FRA); 2. Timeline – JPK 10.80, Marc Alperovitch (FRA); 3. Bellino – Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie (GBR)

IRC 4: 1. Night and Day – JPK 10.10, Pascal & Alexis Loison (FRA); 2. Foggy Dew – JPK 10.10 (FRA), Noel Racine; 3. Cocody – JPK 10.10, Richard Fromentin (FRA)

IRC Two-Handed: 1. Night and Day – JPK 10.10, Pascal Loison (FRA); 2. Ajeto! – J/122e, Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre (NED); 3. Bellino – Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie and Deb Fish (GBR)

VO65: 1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) – Charles Caudrelier; 2. MAPFRE (ESP) – Xabi Fernandez; 3. Team Brunel (NED) – Bouwe Bekking

IMOCA 60: 1. SMA – Paul Meilhat/Gwenole Gahinet (FRA); 2. StMichel-Virbac – Jean-Pierre Dick/ /Yann Eliès (FRA); 3. Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco – Boris Herrmann/Pierre Casiraghi (MON)

Class40: 1. V and B – Maxime Sorel (FRA); 2. Imerys – Phil Sharp (GBR); 3. Campagne de France – Halvard Mabire (FRA) and Miranda Merron (GBR)

OCRA Multihulls: 1. Concise 10 – MOD 70 trimaran, Tony Lawson (GBR); 2. R-six – HH66 catamaran, Robert Szustkowski (POL); 3. Hissy Fit – Dazcat 1495, Simon Baker (GBR)

https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/competitors/race-documents/results

www.rolexfastnetrace.com

ENDS/…. James Boyd

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Rolex Fastnet Race 11.08.2017

11.08.2017

Three in a row for Night and Day

Probably the toughest battle in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race was the duel for the lead in the largest class of the smallest boats, IRC Four. This was an all-French affair, both in French-built JPK 10.10 sisterships and both teams from northern France. However one was doublehanded from Cherbourg; the other fully crewed from Le Havre. And they have considerable history.

In 2013 the father and son team of Pascal and Alexis Loisin aboard Night and Day became the first doublehanded crew ever to win the Rolex Fastnet Race not just in their class, but outright, ahead of all the fully crewed boats. But in second place overall that year was Noel Racine’s Foggy Dew. This was also the case two years ago when Night and Day finished fifth overall with Foggy Dew ninth. And while it would be nice to say that it was third time lucky for Racine’s Le Havre crew, in fact, Pascal Loisin, the Cherbourg-based orthopaedic surgeon and his professional Figaro sailor son Alexis prevailed once again. This time both boats were racing in the same class, Night and Day’s time correcting to out to 2 hours 13 minutes ahead of her rival, although this year neither made an impression on the overall IRC results, which favoured larger boats.

„It was very nice race…“ Alexis Loisin began, his father interjecting: „It was a bit hard at the beginning! I don’t think I have spent the best part of three days of upwind like that!“

The Loisins were pleased with their tactics at Portland Bill where they went very inshore (too far inshore, judging from the look on the face of père Loisin), however that gained them three miles. Crossing the Celtic Sea, their tactics were conservative, not hitting one or other side of the course hard although they are renowned for tacking on every shift. However they did err to the right of the rhumb line en route to the Fastnet Rock leaving them in good shape when the wind veered right.

The fight for IRC Four honours was initially between four boats including the lead duo, another JPK 10.10 Richard Fromentin’s Cocody and the rather different S&S 41 heavyweight, Harry J Heijst’s Winsome. „The first to separate was Cocody which made a small mistake and after that it was Winsome and from Land’s End to the Fastnet it was just the two of us fighting,“ recounted Racine.

Incredibly, the two nimble JPK 10.10s led the whole IRC fleet at the Fastnet Rock. Racine continued:

„We were very close, but we fell into a wind hole 100m from the Fastnet and stopped for two minutes and they disappeared.“ Night and Day is recorded as rounding Fastnet Rock 20 minutes ahead on corrected time and their lead just increased from there. „Then a patch of light wind was coming from astern, so the boats behind had more difficulty than us, but the boats ahead were gone,“ Racine explained, or as Alexis Loisin put it after the Fastnet, „we took the wind and closed the door. Maybe we had 20 knots, but I think Foggy Dew only had 15. We extended by 10-11 miles.“

While the JPK 10.10s had the best conditions going to the Rock, the larger planing boats came into their own, recovering their lost time downwind and reaching in the second half of the race towards the Plymouth finish.

Aside from winning IRC Four, Night and Day also claimed the IRC Two Handed prize, which they had won in 2013 but lost to Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley on the J/105 Jester in 2015. This year, the Loisins said they had been worried about the bigger J/122e Ajeto! sailed by Dutch Two Handed Champions, Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre. The Netherlands boat had been leading the IRC Two Handed class until Night and Day finally overhauled them yesterday, leaving them second.

The Dutch duo, racing their new boat which they have optimised for two handed racing, had an up and down race.

„We sailed well, but we had some bad luck with a wind hole at the Lizard,“ said Verhoef. „We were not close enough to the shore and not far enough from the shore to get away from there. There was a big wind hole and we had to anchor twice for about 30 minutes letting out 120m of line!“

This episode dropped them to 13th by the time they reached Land’s End, however they recovered this lost ground by going up the favourable east side of the Land’s End traffic separation scheme and then sailing into the favourable right hand shift in the Celtic Sea.

„The Irish Sea was like lake sailing – wind shift-tack, wind shift-tack,“ said van der Starre. „Then at the TSS we were up with the leaders in the group again.“ They rounded the Fastnet Rock shortly before dawn, under the full moon. After the prolonged upwind conditions, there was tangible relief as they turned downwind. „That was one big smile. Then at the Scillies we saw for the first time we were leading our class again.“

However soon after they got stuck in another wind hole forcing them to back down the course and then sail south in order to extricate themselves. It was this that allowed Night & Day to move ahead of them in the IRC Two Handed class.

Third overall in the IRC Two-Handed was Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino. They are also the first winners of a new prize being offered to the first Mixed Two-Handed yacht overall. Craigie and Fish were generally pleased with their race. The low point was went the wind went light for them off Plymouth.

„Some people went right inshore and they pulled out miles on us,“ said Craigie. They made a good job of the outbound Celtic Sea crossing and maintaining some height reaped rewards. „We got lifted so we didn’t have to tack in the last bit,“ said Fish of the final run into the Fastnet Rock. „Those boats ahead of us that did, like Game On, and had to tack lost a lot.“

Once again the blast back from the Rock was among the most memorable of sails.

„It was moonlit night and we were hooning along, going like a train with a few dolphins around. It was just great, only we were having such a good time we overstood!“ recalled Fish, who was helming at that point.

The reach to the finish from Bishop Rock was a case of having the perfect sail for the job even if they were forced to push their asymmetric beyond its comfort zone.

„It really paid over the whole of that 60 mile reach. We were catching Redshift,“ concluded Craigie. As to their third place behind Night and Day, Fish admitted: „They are in a different league, but that is the nice thing about the race – you get to pit yourself against the best.“

This morning, the sole remaining all-female IRC Two Handed yacht arrived in Kirsteen Donaldson and Judith Eastwood, sailing the X-332 Pyxis. Donaldson reported that the race itself was not without challenges.

„We endured 400 miles on the wind, which was quite tough. The race wasn’t unkind but it was just a bit frustrating in places, with some very quiet patches. We had to put a lot of tacks in around the Fastnet Rock, and we also encountered a light patch south of the Lizard. We hit a tidal gate there just at the wrong time, so we were stuck for a bit. We had a quiet run into the finish, but although we had to work hard to keep the boat moving the last bit was an enjoyable stretch of sailing.“

Track the fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race: https://cf.yb.tl/fastnet2017
www.rolexfastnetrace.com

ENDS/…. James Boyd

Lann Ael 2, Didier Gaudoux's French JND 39 is leading IRC One in the Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rolex Fastnet Race 10.08.2017

10.08.2017

Class leaders firming up

Overnight and into a magnificent West Country morning, boats have been streaming across the Rolex Fastnet Race finish line and into Plymouth Yacht Haven. With this the leaders in the bigger classes have begun firming up along with the prospects for the boat will be the crowned overall winner under IRC in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial flagship offshore race.

American Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer is the leader in the IRC Zero from the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, and yesterday seemed to be in good shape to take the overall prize across the 312-boat IRC fleet vying for the Fastnet Challenge Cup. However overnight the IRC One leader Lann Ael 2, the JND 39 of Paris-based Didier Gaudoux pulled into the lead. In IRC One the powerful looking La Crouesty based boat holds a lead of more than two and a half hours on corrected time over the equally angular Lombard 46, Pata Negra, being campaigned by the Dutch de Graaf family of Baraka Ker 40 fame.

„We had a fantastic race – we were lucky with the weather,“ said Gaudoux. „The conditions were quite good for the team and the crew and the passage from Fastnet Rock to the Scilly Isles was perfect for us.“ However at present there are many smaller boats still capable of lifting the overall IRC prize off the IRC One leader.

Last night, first home on the water in IRC One was James Neville’s Ino XXX, winner of May’s Myth of Malham race. Like all of the planing boats, the HH42 enjoyed the downhill conditions enabling them to blast back from the Fastnet Rock, hitting speeds into the mid-20s and covering 75 miles in four hours. This made up for the headbang of an uphill struggle they experienced outbound to the Rock. As Neville recounted: „We found it quite challenging because the chop was quite short and the heavier boats, like the Italian boat [Vittorio Biscarini’s magnificent Mylius-designed 50 footer, Ars Una], make better way in those conditions. Off the Lizard we went inside and they found more wind offshore. We were the last boat to go to the east of the TSS.“

In IRC Two Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia is looking good for first prize following their arrival at the finish line at 05:33 this morning.

„We had some good results already in IRC Two this year,“ said Fournier. „But the Rolex Fastnet Race is the peak of the season. We have had an internal battle with our friends on Lisa, including Commodore of the RORC Michael Boyd, since the beginning of the season.“

Due to the tidal state at the time, Pintia went to the west of the all-important traffic separation scheme off the Scilly Isles. Fournier said he enjoyed rounding the Fastnet Rock, even though it was at night. „You are pleased when you round that because it is an amazing place. You wouldn’t want to spend your holidays there, but it is a legendary place and we are now part of the legend.“

Nick and Suzi Jones‘ First 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, finished 36 minutes after Pintia this time correcting out into second place, 1 hour 13 minutes behind of the French boat on corrected time.

Boyd acknowledged that Pintia had stolen a march on them at Portland Bill. „We failed to get to there in time. Pintia went in and we probably should have followed her and they just managed to get through the gap. We went outside and lost quite a few miles but we gained them back at Lyme Bay when an awful lot of boats went in and we were surprised to see some of our competitors at anchor there. We were further offshore, in the wind. That kept us up with the IRC One boats.“

The boats in Lisa’s group saw 25 knots on the nose, some of the strongest conditions crossing the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, requiring the crew to live on the rail. Boyd described the Fastnet Rock, off his native Ireland, as „extraordinary, absolutely magical“. While the First 44.7 isn’t a weapon downwind, the boat had a bowsprit and asymmetric spinnakers added to her Banks sail inventory for this season, aiding their return journey back from the Rock.

Lisa currently lies second in IRC Two and eighth overall under IRC, results with which Boyd was pleased. „I don’t know if we had the best of the conditions, but certainly it is a great result and does seem to show that we were very favoured. But we had a great group of guys, everybody very focused, very good food, lots of stories and lots of laughs.“

This afternoon the leaders in IRC Three and Four are due, along with the Two Handed class, where the Loisin father and son, Pascal and Alexis, on their 2013 overall Rolex Fastnet Race winning JPK 10.10 Night and Day have taken the lead from Ajeto!, the J/122e of Robin Verhoef and John Van Der Starre.

Track the fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race: https://cf.yb.tl/fastnet2017
www.rolexfastnetrace.com

ENDS/…. James Boyd

 

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Rolex Fastnet Race 10.08.2017

10.08.2017

To the wire in IRC Three

IRC Three went to wire this afternoon in the Rolex Fastnet Race between two French JPK 10.80s. Coming into the finish, Timeline of past class winner Marc Alperovitch seem to be the victor, but when Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s lower rated Dream Pearls arrived 33 minutes later, her time corrected to 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of her compatriots.

As Dream Pearls team manager, Christian Maby, described it: „We were not sure we were in a position to win until the finish line – so it was very exciting. We knew it was going to be close so we had to really push. Over the last 24 hours everybody was on deck, there was no sleep, just trimming sails. We made 10 or 15 sail changes, we did everything we could, so we didn’t have any regrets!“

Dream Pearls has been one of the leading contenders in the RORC Seasons Points Championship this year, winning the De Guingand Bowl in May, but the Rolex Fastnet Race has been the pinnacle of the team’s year. „The Rolex Fastnet Race is a most prestigious race and we are very happy to win this,“ said Maby.

Their victory came despite not sailing well for the upwind first half of the race. They regretted following their routing up the west side of the TSS at Land End’s and by the time they reached the Fastnet Rock they were 25 minutes behind their opposition. However, by staying south en route to the Bishop Rock traffic separation scheme, they halved their deficit on Timeline. This was enough to leave them neck and neck for the IRC Three lead for the remaining miles back past the Lizard to the Plymouth finish line.

„We are really pleased,“ concluded Maby. „For us French guys, this is the best race to win and so we are very happy – it is the reason we race, to win races like this.“

Despite leading the IRC Three fleet into Plymouth and losing by one minute, Timeline skipper Marc Alperovitch had come to terms with his close second. „This is our third Rolex Fastnet Race and we knew it would be more competitive than last time. We reckoned that there were ten boats in a position to win and that included five British boats.“

Unlike Dream Pearls, Timeline sailed east of the Land’s End TSS, which Alperovitch reckoned saved them four miles, plus this allowed them to sail into a favourable right shift. He was also proud of their navigation, calling the layline into the Fastnet Rock from almost 90 miles out.

„But Dream Pearls sailed a fantastic downwind leg,“ conceded Alperovitch. „It was already very close. It was exciting to follow it on your phone to see how we were both getting on.“ He also greatly enjoyed the closeness of the racing. „There was always a competitive boat next to us, whether it was the various British Sunfast 3600s and the one JPK 10.80. It is quite strange to be in the middle of the Irish Sea and be racing as if it was around the cans – except it took roughly half a day to overtake another boat. That shows how high the level is.“

Today at Plymouth Yacht Haven the trickle of boats arriving has become a deluge. Steven Anderson’s Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie docked in Plymouth Yacht Haven this afternoon, slightly later than anticipated following some drama at the start on Sunday. „We lost the steering on the start line – a shackle on the steering cable went,“ explained Anderson. „We put on the autopilot and we got back on the dock at Trinity Landing, but it took us an hour to replace, which lost us an hour of tide out of the Solent. We sort of caught up…but then we didn’t any more…“

Another red boat, Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48, Scarlet Oyster, had more success and was lying fifth in IRC Two at the close of play today.

This was his ninth Rolex Fastnet Race for skipper Ross Applebey having competed in his first in 1999 shortly after leaving university, winning class for the first time eight years later.
There was drama after the start for Scarlet Oyster when, while having to take emergency avoiding action to miss a boat on port tack, they clashed rigs destroying their Windex (the other boat later retired).

The long upwind slog was made harder for Scarlet Oyster by spending four hours stationary off Falmouth, followed by an hour at the Fastnet rock attempting to make it round in light wind punching tide. „The boats in front slid through and, as we got slower and slower, all the boats behind compressed up to us. But the return leg was great fun, spinnaker up and a good reach,“ concluded Applebey.

If Scarlet Oyster is one of the northern hemisphere’s most prolific race boats, one of the most historic also finished today in Jim Kilroy’s Kialoa II, the 72ft S&S design that the famous American businessman campaigned to victory in the 1965 Transpac and the 1971 Sydney Hobart. The boat is now owned by brothers Patrick and Keith Broughton, who originally herald from Plymouth. However Patrick now lives in Sydney where he usually campaigns this classic racer. Having competed in the Rolex Sydney Hobart they sailed the boat from Sydney to take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The famous boat hasn’t made too much of an impression on the results, but Broughton was nonetheless satisfied with their results. „We were worried on the first day it would be really light as Kialoa weighs 45 tons, but we got into the swing of it and, when the breeze kicked in, things were better. The Solent was a bit scary short tacking among hundreds of boats. We don’t like too many manoeuvres – we prefer straight lines…“

Their arrival into Plymouth should have been triumphant but instead it was more frustrating as the breeze faded for them. „But it’s good to be back here. The whole race was very mixed for us,“ concluded Broughton.

This evening still two thirds of the IRC fleet remains at sea with the IRC Four podium set to be determined overnight.

Track the fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race: https://cf.yb.tl/fastnet2017
www.rolexfastnetrace.com

ENDS/…. James Boyd

 

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Rolex Fastnet Race 09.08.2017

09.08.2017

Rolex Fastnet Race

V and B prevails in the Class 40s as Trentesauxhas a comfy ride
Aside from the Volvo Ocean Race seven, another tight competition in the Rolex Fastnet Race has been between the twenty six Class40s racing.

These boats are designed to a box rule created in France in the early 2000s. With more than 150 examples launched in the last 13 years, it is also highly international with boats competing from crews as far afield as Oman, South Africa and Japan, ranging from professionals (both old timers and budding youngsters) to enthusiastic amateurs.

The Class40 leaders arrived in Plymouth this afternoon, with victory finally going to V and B skippered by Frenchman Maxime Sorel. He arrived at 14:32 after 3 days 3 hours and 22 minutes.

According to Sorel they had been swapping the lead with Imerys, skippered by Jersey’s Phil Sharp down the Channel but, „after Wolf Rock it became difficult for us – we had no wind on two occasions and then we lost second place.“ By giving the Bishop Rock TSS a wider berth than the front runners, V and B was able to pull into the lead, which she held to the finish.
Racing on board V and B was Sam Manuard, the boat’s designer, also an accomplished sailor and possibly another reason for their victory. The latest v3 incarnation of Manuard’s Mach 40 is a powerful reaching machine and they proved untouchable between Bishop Rock and the finish.

The majority of the race, especially outbound to the Fastnet Rock was led by Jersey’s Phil Sharp on board the v2 generation Mach 40, Imerys. „Every Rolex Fastnet Race is very unique,“ said Sharp. „In this one we had someone breathing down our neck the whole way – either V and B or Campagne de France – and we had no time to relax whatsoever until we got up to the Fastnet. It is so tactical going upwind, it was hard to predict who had the best strategy until you all met up at the Rock.“

When Imerys was becalmed off Land’s End outbound she doubly lost out as the boats behind sailed round them. Reaching the Fastnet Rock came as a huge relief after three days on the wind: „It felt like all the work we had done to get to the Fastnet had paid off with the trip home. It was just amazing to put up the spinnaker – I had almost forgotten what it looked like!“ Back from the Rock, they experienced supreme sailing with 25-27 knots of wind, enough to make the Class40 plane. „You could play the waves like a dinghy,“ described Sharp. „That was an amazing moment -piling down the waves under a full moon.“

Also proving its worth was Campagne de France, designed and skippered by French offshore veteran Halvard Mabire and his accomplished British partner Miranda Merron. Campagne de France led the Class40s into the Celtic Sea and later around the Fastnet Rock and back down to Bishop Rock.

„We are a bit disappointed, but finishing third out of 26 is not bad,“ recounted Merron. „Most of the upwind was pleasant, but we felt for the poor boats we passed last night when we were flying downwind at 15-18 knots, who were beating to the Rock after the wind had shifted… It was really nice to race against such a big fleet and to pace ourselves with them.“

Aside from some incredible sailing back from the Rock, they had also enjoyed a spectacular sunset yesterday evening, much attention from dolphins and also from some nasty clouds which had played havoc with the wind.

Arriving on the heels of V and B was a fight between two of the more comfy racer cruiser catamarans, the TS42 Guyader Gastonomie of Christian Guyader, narrowly beaten on the water by the larger HH66 R-six of Pole Robert Szustkowski. On board the former was 2015 outright Rolex Fastnet Race winner Géry Trentesaux. He was pleased they had arrived within five minutes of their substantially bigger rival and ahead of all but one Class40, despite the predominantly upwind race.
Christian Guyader is a major backer of sailing in France via the seafood company that bears his name so the standard of cuisine on board his boat was exceptional. „The catering was good. We would sit at the table for both lunch and dinner,“ said Trentesaux. „It is very comfortable because you don’t have to sit on the rail; we have our own cabin and everyone can sleep when he wants. Sometimes it is difficult in light weather with waves and in under 5 knots it’s quite difficult. In about 10 knots she is okay and in 15 knots she’s so fast. We stayed up with the IMOCA 60s and the bigger boats for all the first day, upwind.“ Downwind back from the Rock they had been making 15-30 knots. „The boat is super comfortable and so easy.“

Another boat that enjoyed the strong blast back from the Rock was Quentin Stewart’s DSS-equipped Infiniti 46 R, Maverick. Stewart said: „The race was tiring – hard work and too much upwind! They need to redesign the course, it’s the wrong way round, 400 miles upwind and only 200 down. The Rock was awesome. We were really going fast. – I saw 24 knots, we were certainly out of the water.

„The legends were the people we saw sailing the other way at 0400. As we were smacking downwind, they were heading upwind – no joy in that! There’ll be some people out there for quite some time and they deserve all the respect.“

Overall in the race, American Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer is looking strong for the overall prize under IRC, but there are plenty of smaller boats still capable of winning. Privateer is also looking good to win IRC Z ahead of the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa.

The boats in IRC One are due to arrive tomorrow with Jean Claude Nicoleau and Nicolas Loday’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam and the Mylius 15e25 Ars Una skippered by Vittorio Biscarini both vying for victory.

Runaway leader in IRC Two remains Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia with Nick and Suzi Jones‘ First 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd currently in second and another seasoned campaigner, Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster in third.

IRC Three and Four are again being dominated by the French-built JPKs. In the former is a very tight battle between the JPK 10.80s, Marc Alperovitch’s Timeline and Stephen Hopson’s Blue Note, while in the latter it is between two JPK 10.10s the Loisin father and son’s 2013 winner, Night and Day and Noel Racine’s Foggy Dew.

Track the fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race: https://cf.yb.tl/fastnet2017
www.rolexfastnetrace.com

ENDS/…. James Boyd