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  • A Boisterous Start To The Fastnet


    A fleet of 337 boats leave the Solent, bound for the Fastnet Rock in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

    The Rolex Fastnet Race has a reputation for the severe weather that it can throw at its competitors. Still strongly remembered is the 1979 race that cost 19 lives. Today the 49th edition of the 96-year-old offshore racing classic lived up to its fame as the first of seven starts got underway at 15 minute intervals starting at 1100 BST. Over the last three days strong southwesterly winds have been blowing up the Channel and competitors in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s premier event were treated to these same headwinds gusting into the 30s and, as the tide turned off the Needles and in the western Solent, a building wind-against-tide sea state developed.

    COVID, international travel restrictions due to COVID, plus Brexit have resulted in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race being a unique affair. This along with a lively forecast for the race’s first 24 hours caused entries to drop as start day approached. Nonetheless crossing line today off Cowes was still a highly impressive turn-out of 337 boats from 24 nations including Japan, Mexico and eight from the USA, but the majority from Europe, including the largest ever turn-out from France.

    Despite winds gusting to 35 knots, the starts got away well. Among the multihulls, it was the favourites and defending champions, Volvo Ocean Race winners Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier on the Ultime trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild that pulled the trigger most rapidly. They were followed by Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim 3 and the Yves le Blevec-skippered Actual, but with the two MOD70s Maserati and Argo of Giovanni Soldini and Jason Carroll respectively, leading the charge in the MOCRA fleet. Incredibly just three hours after starting the Ultimes had already crossed the Channel and were putting in a tack to the west of Cape de la Hague, setting themselves up unusually to pass south of the Casquets TSS.









    Similarly an early stand-out leader in the IMOCA class was Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat aboard Apivia, which earlier this year arrived home first in the Vendée Globe, only to see victory elude him when Yannick Bestaven on Maître CoQ was awarded time compensation for his part in a rescue. Sadly, Bestaven was about to start today when his IMOCA was involved in a collision with a vessel damaging her bow and forcing him to retire.
    “It is very upwind to the Fastnet, with strong breeze to start with at the Needles,” forecast Dalin this morning, this being his first race since the Vendée Globe. “The sea will be pretty rough with wind against tide. We will have more than 30 knots at some point. It will be pretty tense. There are some routing options including a southerly route across to France, close to Guernsey.

    “There are some small shifts, so at some point we should be slightly freer than fully upwind, when we’ll be able to use the foils. With our big foils we fly fairly early.” The latest IMOCA foilers showed huge pace exiting the Solent in the strong winds, enabling them to stay up with substantially larger boats.

    Showing great pace exiting the Solent among the Class40s was Emmanuel Le Roch’s Edenred. However by mid-afternoon as the Class40s were also heading out into the Channel, Axel Trehin’s Project Rescue Ocean and Aurelien Ducroz on Crosscall were leading towards the Cotentin peninsula as another favourite, Antoine Carpentier's Courrier Redman, on which former winner Gery Trentesaux is competing, was one of the few Class40s to have tacked north.








    Seeing the maxis in IRC Zero, led by Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios and George David’s Rambler 88, powering down the Solent in the building sea state and then crashing through large waves off Hurst was a sight to behold. Despite their huge length disparity, Rambler 88, monohull line honours winner in the last two editions, was doing well to keep up.

    With the breeze looking to lighten mid-week, the smart money is on the hot boats in IRC Zero to win the Fastnet Challenge Cup. George David has his fingers crossed that Rambler 88 might score the elusive ‘triple’ – overall IRC win, monohull line honours and a new course record (likely since this is the first time the race will finish in Cherbourg).

    Prior to the start David was uncertain of his prospects: “I focus on the weather as you’d expect for the first 48-60 hours. It could be a tight reach to the Rock and an open reach on the way back which would be a pretty fast race, and [on the routing] it has slowly got longer as the breeze has come around more to the west and looks like there will be a fetch, at best, up to the Rock and that will be a 60+ hour race. But it will be what it will be.”

    Of the competition with Skorpios, David added: “I’d like to get line honours for a third time, but that’s going to be a tough challenge with this big new boat out there. It’s a big powerful boat, quite a bit longer than we are, with a lot of stability and it will go really fast on most points of sail, I think most especially on a 90-110° reach.

    “If it starts to blow really hard, into the 30s, we might have an edge because we’ve been at this with the same team and with the same boat now for six years. This boat is pretty optimised and it’s pretty well sailed and most things that might break have already broken.”

    While the grand prix classes were heading south, both Skorpios and Rambler 88 were taking a more classic route tacking along the Dorset coast including a long dive into the bay east of Portland (Skorpios’ base recently). They were followed by Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 56 Varuna.








    TRACKER

    Also heading south out into the Channel this afternoon are most of IRC One, with RORC Commodore James Neville leading on the water aboard his HH42 INO XXX. However hanging on to his coattail was not another all-carbon fibre grand prix racer but the venerable Dutch maxi Stormvogel. Under her original owner Cornelius Bruynzeel, this 1961 vintage van de Stadt-designed 73ft ketch won line honours in the Fastnet Race 50 years ago. Early leaders on corrected time in IRC One were David Cummins’ Ker 39 Rumbleflurg and Rob Bottomley’s Mat 12 Sailplane.

    IRC Two was also heading south this afternoon with Tom Kneen’s youth crew on board the JPK 10.80 Sunrise leading on the water from sisterships Eric Fries’ Fastwave 6 and Richard Fromentin’s Leclerc Hennebont / Cocody. All were looking good under corrected time too but with Oliver Grant’s First 40 Jazz out in front, also heading the Performance 40 ‘race within a race’.

    Like the yachts ahead of them, all but a handful of boats in IRC Three were choosing a long starboard tack out into the Channel. Here Ireland’s Denis Murphy and Royal Cork YC Rear Admiral Annamarie Fegan on their Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo were already the stand-out performers. Their Cork entry was leading on the water and on corrected time, despite their boat being by no means the fastest in their class. Tactician on board is Nicholas O’Leary from the famous Irish sailing dynasty.

    As in IRC Two, in IRC Four, yachts from French builder JPK were enjoying similar success with the Butters family’s Poole-based JPK 10.10 Joy leading on the water alongside sistership Benoit Rousselin’s Delnik. As a preliminary indicator of progress, Delnik was leading under IRC from Harry J. Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome, no doubt taking the ‘washing machine’ conditions in her stride better than her newer lighterweight rivals.

    Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt racing doublehanded on yet another JPK 10.10, Jangada, had some work to do lying in 20th at this early stage. Prior to the start Palmer said that “getting out past the Needles without breaking anything will be the first challenge; The forecast is looking quite lively with 20-30 knots wind against tide. You can certainly loose the race there. It will be wet and windy for the first 24 hours. And then it is hunker down and persevere. We are looking for the wind to free off as we go across the Celtic Sea, but that means that when we round the Rock there will be a bit more southerly in it, so a reach back and then with a bit of luck spinnaker up at the Scillies and then see what the end of next week has in store for us.”

    “I am really looking forward to going into Cherbourg. I have heard they have pulled out all of the stops to make us welcome there. A lot of European boats have been there already and now they have relaxed the quarantine regulations here we’ll certainly be going in there to make the most of it.”

    Inevitably in the big conditions there have already been a number of boats that have retired from the race. At 1630 UTC this was up to 24, perhaps the most devastating being Yannick Bestaven’s Vendée Globe winner Maître CoQ. Two of the MOCRA multihull favourites were also out – Christian Guyader, the 2019 winner on board his TS5 catamaran Guyader Mext and Yann Marilley’s Outremer 5x Racing catamaran No Limit on which famous sailor Loick Peyron was racing. No Limit retired after she dismasted.

    One of the favourites of IRC Two, Gilles Fournier / Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia was also forced to retire. Similarly Ed Bell’s JPK 11.80 Dawn Treader is out with a broken mast. In IRC One, one of the Rolex Fastnet Race’s most regular competitors, the Goubau family from Belgium, were also forced to pull out on their First 47.7 Moana.

    Winners of the IRC Two Handed class in 2015 Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley, back this year to have another go at this title aboard the Sun Fast 3300 Aries sadly have also become a statistic in this race. So too have another British favourite for this class, Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on board the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino.

    Competitors are expecting a breezy night but for conditions to slowly abate over the next 24 hours.

    https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/...race-sets-sail
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  • #2
    More Fastnet Start Eye Candy!



    So much great imagery from the start of the 2021 RORC Fastnet, we just had to share some
    additional image of the best of the best! Once again Borlenghi capture the magic!
    Additional frames © martin allen /PWpicture.com






















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    • #3
      Hell's Bells



      #MaseratiMulti70 #RolexFastnetRace
      We are forced to retire from Rolex Fastnet Race. We were going 20-25 knots when the right-wing winch bell exploded. We recently replaced it, it was new - it probably had structural damage.
      We were doing well: we and Argo, our direct rival, were very close and until just before we were in the lead, it's really a shame to have to retire. Now back to Cherbourg.
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      • #4
        Ultimes Round The Rock As Masses Struggle


        Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was first round the Fastnet Rock at 0800 BST in the Rolex Fastnet Race © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

        Despite a blustery start and first night at sea in the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race, competitors have been making good progress west down the English Channel, with the bulk of the fleet at breakfast time this morning south of Start Point.

        Since yesterday’s dramatic, brutal departure from the Solent for the 337 entries in 25+ knot southwesterly headwinds and violent wind against tide seas, overnight the wind has slowly eased. It is still gusting to the early 20s, especially around headlands, but is dropping the further west the competitors sail, with 15-20 knots off the Lizard and 13-15 off Land’s End.

        While the majority of the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet is still toughing it out in the Channel, at 0800 BST this morning Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was the first Ultime to reach the Fastnet Rock. While not a record time – in 2019 she led around the Rock at 0633, less than two minutes ahead of Francois Gabart’s MACIF – her time of just 20 hours 50 minutes is almost three hours slower, but nonetheless highly impressive given that this time the boats have been upwind down the Channel and then fetching across the Celtic Sea. This time is also not as close with Thomas Coville’s second placed Sodebo Ultim Voile some 43 miles astern of her.

        “We have just passed the Fastnet, leading the fleet,” reported Charlies Caudrelier, co-skipper of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild with Franck Cammas. “We're at least 40 miles ahead of the second which is good. We have sailed very well since the start of this race and are proud of what we have done. The boat is going fast and we have not made any navigation errors. Now we go back to the Scilly Isles. The last part, with gybes, will be complicated. We know that it is difficult to get to Cherbourg, especially when there is little wind. We remain focused on the speed of the boat and we will try to extend our lead. We will not be flying much on this leg to Cherbourg."



        Sam Davies' IMOCA Initiatives Coeurs blasts her way out of the Solent © Rick Tomlinson/https://www.rick-tomlinson.com/

        Most surprising have been the tactics of the Ultimes and some of the IMOCAs, which forged off south after leaving the Solent yesterday and going south of the Casquets Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). While the Ultimes tacked close to Alderney, some of the IMOCA dived even further south. Initiatives Coeurs skipper Sam Davies explained their reasons for this:

        “Nico [Lunven, her co-skipper] had done a lot of work on the weather routing with lots of different models and pretty much all of our routing went that way, because we might get flat water in the Alderney Race, sheltered by the Channel Islands and be first into the west going current off the north French coast.”

        Hearing her on board, as Initiatives Coeur was passing Land’s End this morning, was difficult as her co-skipper at the time was easing the mainsheet:

        “We exploded one mainsheet block - it is not an issue, it just makes it bit noisy to trim. Still it is a pleasure to be going at full speed after sailing such a long way around the world in safety mode [completing her lap of the planet after retiring from the Vendee Globe last winter].”

        This morning Davies was enjoying racing her two close friends Simon Fisher and former Team SCA crew Justine Mettraux, who were alongside her aboard 11th Hour Racing.

        Leading the charge among the monohulls is of course Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev’s mighty ClubSwan 125 Skorpios. At 0700 this morning, the largest single-hulled vessel ever to enter the Rolex Fastnet Race was passing between Land’s End TSS and the Scilly Isles, having allowed American George David’s Rambler 88 to split up the east side of the TSS. Perhaps most surprising was that only three miles astern of her at the time was the lead IMOCA, Apivia, a boat less than half Skorpios’ length and being sailed by two talented Frenchmen – Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat – their advantage being that their boat has giant foils enabling it literally ‘to fly’.




        Looking good overall under IRC - I Love Poland, the VO70 skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski © I Love Poland


        The big boats were looking good overall under IRC corrected time this morning, especially I Love Poland, the VO70 skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski, which this morning was following the route up the east side of the Land’s End TSS astern of Rambler 88, which lies second overall under IRC. Since the start, IRC Zero has seen three retirements: RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim on the NMYD 54 Teasing Machine, the Gerd-Jan Poortman-skippered Ker 46 Van Uden and Lance Shepherd's VO70 Telefonica Black.

        In IRC One, RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX was vying for the lead on the water with Elliot 44 CR Matador of Swede Jonas Grander, both offshore en route to the Lizard. However, under IRC, Robert Bottomley's MAT12 Sailplane holds a slender advantage over Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra. Others such as Richard Loftus’ Swan 65 Desperado (11th under IRC this morning) had shaved Start Point closer and were just tacking out from Plymouth.

        Sadly there have been ten retirements from this class, including three favourites; Lann Ael 2, Didier Gaudoux's 2017 overall race winner; L'Ange De Milon, Jacques Pelletier's defending champion in this class and Philippe Frantz NMD 43 Albator. Also out is Cracklin Rosie of former RORC Commodore Steven Anderson.

        The IRC Two leaders were this morning due south of Plymouth. The front of the fleet remains at three-way battle between international trio of JPK 10.80 sisterships, Englishman Tom Kneen's Sunrise and Richard Fromentin's Leclerc Hennebont/Cocody from France with Astrid de Vin's Il Corvo from the Netherlands further to their south. These three are also looking good under IRC along with perennial race winner Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster.




        In IRC One, RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 INO XXX was vying for the lead on the water © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com



        Perennial race winner Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster is looking strong in IRC Two. © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

        As expected in IRC Three, Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle aboard the defending class and IRC Two-Handed champion Léon have been leading under corrected time and, impressively, are right up with the front runners in IRC Two. On the water, Léon has Philippe Girardin's J/120 Hey Jude and the JPK 10.80 Raging Bee2 of Cherbourg hero Louis Marie Dussere nearby. However sneaking ahead of Léon and into the IRC Three lead this morning, coming in from the north in the otherwise French dominated class, is the Philip Caswell-skippered Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier. Léon is still well ahead on the IRC Two-Handed class leaderboard. Behind them, the majority in IRC Three have been taking a course tight in to Start Point.

        In the void left by perennial IRC Four winner Noel Racine, France still dominates the leaderboard in this class with Francois Charles' Dehler 33 Cruising Sun Hill 3 ahead of Alain Guelennoc's X-332 Trading-advices.com and Ludovic Menahes and David le Goff's JPK 10.10 Raphael. However all were taking different tactics with Trading-advices.com hugging the Devonshire coast en route towards Plymouth with her rivals having tacked offshore. The top British boat is Chris Choules’ modern classic Sigma 38 With Alacrity the top British boat in sixth under IRC. The majority of IRC Four has yet to pass Start Point.


        TRACKER
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        • #5
          Grueling 1st 24 Hours For IRC 3 And 4


          Leon and Swell cross swords Copyright @James Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com


          IRC Three
          73 teams started the Rolex Fastnet Race in IRC Three. However, the feisty conditions have resulted in 14 boats retiring or discontinuing racing. After beating in close quarters in the Solent, the fleet braced themselves for even bigger conditions across Poole Bay. The first big headland of the race was Portland Bill, and there was a split decision in strategy to round the landmark. Alexis Loison & Guillaume Pirouelle, racing JPK 1030 Léon, led the boats on the water inshore at Portland. Offshore, a pack of three boats led the contingent: Philippe Girardin’s J/120 Hey Jude, Denis Murphy & Annamarie Fegan’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo and the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 British Soldier, skippered by Philip Caswell.




          Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Phil Caswell, is crewed with serving members of the British Army. Copyright @Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com


          British Soldier’s crew are all serving in the British Armed Forces, and like all of the teams in the Rolex Fastnet Race, have experienced difficult conditions during the first 24 hours. The British Armed Forces have a long and distinguished history in the race. “The Army Leadership Code is founded on our courage, discipline, respect for Others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment,” commented British Soldier’s afterguard Henry Foster.

          The first night at sea was a rough one. Strong winds had been blowing in from the Atlantic for three days with a big swell adding a significant sea state to the strong breeze. In the early hours of Day Two, the inshore and offshore groups converged off Lyme Bay.

          At 1000 BST on Day Two: Léon, who had stayed inshore, was estimated to be leading the IRC Three, but only just. British Soldier, who had gone offshore, is less than a mile behind on the water and a few minutes behind on time correction. Another offshore strategist, Hey Jude, is third in class.

          IRC Four
          70 teams started the Rolex Fastnet Race in IRC Four. As with IRC Three, the tough conditions have resulted in 12 teams retiring or discontinuing racing. The vast majority of the teams racing in IRC Four chose to tack offshore after The Needles. Just after sunset on Day One, a pack of boats tacked back inshore to round Portland Bill. Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff, racing JPK 10.10 Raphael were leading, followed by Francois Charles’ Dehler 36 Sun Hill 3 and Vincent & Jacques Rigalleau’s Sun Fast 3200 Enedis.

          At 1000 BST on Day Two: Sun Hill 3 was estimated to be leading the class after IRC time correction. Alain Guelennoc’s X-332 Trading-advices.com is making great speed inshore and moved up to second in the ranking. Raphael chose to tack offshore and is estimated to be in third for the class.



          Chris and Vanessa Choules' Sigma 38, With Alacrity, is currently in 5th in IRC Four. Copyright @Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com

          Chris Choules Sigma 38 With Alacrity, estimated to be fifth in IRC Four, described the race so far.

          “Highlights so far; still have 7 crew! One headsail change, 2 reefs out. Some oilies have fared better than others. Slight issue with our new wind vane, part of it flew off down the Solent! Skippy sad as no data from his instruments so we are doing it old school. The muscles of Thor (Skippy and Karen) snapped a dynema halyard. New waterproof cushion covers getting a thumbs up. The sun is out, we are drying out slowly. “

          59 IRC Two-Handed teams started the Rolex Fastnet Race, the majority racing in IRC Three and IRC Four. At 10:00 BST on Day Two, 15 had retired or discontinued racing. Léon is estimated to be leading IRC Two-Handed; Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff racing JPK 10.10 Raphael is second; and Henry Bomby & Shirley Robertson racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell is third.

          For the latest positions on all of the boats racing in the Rolex Fastnet Race, visit the YB Tracker https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/...racking-player
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          • #6
            Volvo 70' I Love Poland Leads IRC 0


            I Love Poland has had an excellent start to the race, currently leading IRC Overall. Copyright @James Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com



            Monday 09 August
            Just over 24 hours into the race and the heavy weather has made it a big boat bonanza in the race out to the Rock. The Volvo Open 70, I Love Poland, holds the lead in IRC Zero by just over three hours on corrected time. Grzegorz Baranowski’s Polish crew, the line honours winner from the 2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race, is also at the head of IRC Overall.

            The VO70 may be more than 70 nautical miles behind Skorpios on the water, but in terms of corrected time the Poles are doing well on the long port fetch out to the Fastnet Rock, considering the lack of waterline length compared with the two boats ahead of her. Rambler 88 is second overall under IRC, more than four hours ahead of her giant rival for line honours, the ClubSwan 125 Skorpios. Also vying for the top three in IRC Zero is Germany boat Varuna, Jen’s Kellinghusen’s Ker 56.

            Considering the high rate of attrition, with more than 50 retirements from the race, Fernando Echavarri’s professional team on Skorpios might be counting their lucky stars that they’ve weathered the worst of the first 24 hours.

            With only miles until they round the Rock, the breeze in the Celtic Sea has been very benign this afternoon, blowing around 15 to 18 knots from WSW.

            One of the big tactical conundrums is which side of the Traffic Separation Scheme, the prohibited no-go zone, to pass. While Skorpios opted for the southerly side, Rambler 88 has led a trend to turn hard right at Land’s End and take the northerly route around the TSS zone.



            VO65 Sailing Poland is skippered by Bouwe Bekking. Copyright @Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex


            However Bouwe Bekking, skipper of the Volvo Ocean 65 Sailing Poland, says it wasn’t such a big deal as it might appear from the outside. Running the numbers on the weather routing, there’s not a lot to choose from between one and the other.

            “It looks like there’s only about 10 minutes either way. Going north looks a little bit better, a little bit more pressure.” With most of their closest rivals going the same way, it’s matter of going with the pack. “Just don’t take the risk, somebody else can have a go at that.”

            For a round-the-world veteran like Bekking, the opening 24 hours are nothing that he hasn’t seen before, but he could understand the high dropout rate.

            “Mostly the breeze was 25 to 30 knots, but sometimes gusting 33 to 35 knots,” he said. Not only that, but the sea state was the boat-breaking issue. “We’ve got about 16 knots now, pretty OK right now. We’ve got the other VO65 [Viva Mexico] behind us and [IMOCA 60] 11th Hour Racing about five or six miles back.”

            Quite a bit smaller than the frontrunners in the IRC Zero, but also in the running on corrected time is Tala, David Collins’ Botin 52 which has just turned north past Land’s End.

            There have been three retirements in IRC Zero, the highest profile being Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine which retired with engine problems, unable to charge the electrical system. Teasing Machine is on her way back to Cherbourg.

            https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/...g-boat-bonanza
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            • #7
              French Retirements Provide Opportunities


              Rob Bottomley's MAT12 Sailplane is second on the water to Matador. Copyright @Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com

              1800 Monday 09 August
              The demise of some of the leading contenders in IRC One has thrown the division wide open. As the bulk of this fleet passed the Lizard and closes in on the Land’s End TSS, on corrected time Matador and Sailplane were neck and neck with barely a minute between them.

              On the water, Jonas Grander’s Elliot 44 CR, Matador, is 25 miles in front of Rob Bottomley’s Mat 12, Sailplane, with the Swedish team having already passed Land’s End and moving up the northerly side of the TSS zone, just two miles behind INO XXX, the IRC One frontrunner in terms of distance to the finish. Twice winner of "Offshore sailor of the year" in Sweden, Matador’s crew has competed in several editions of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, the Rolex Middle Sea Race, RORC Caribbean 600 and two Rolex Fastnet Races. So it’s no surprise to see the Swedes near the front in such a challenging first 24 hours at sea.

              RORC Commodore James Neville has had his HH42, INO XXX, reconfigured with twin rudders and high-clew reaching sails for exactly these heavy-going conditions, the Fastnet Race playing to the strengths of INO XXX’s new optimisations.

              “Just passed Land’s End after a tough and bumpy 24 hours,” reported Neville earlier this afternoon, having spent the first phase of the race flying a J4 or J3 headsail. “We settled on the J2 once the wind moderated to less than 20 knots deep in the Channel. We had a glamour sail around Lizard and Land’s End, and now we’re expecting a beat most of the way to the Rock.”

              INO XXX sits around half an hour behind the front two on corrected time, and just a nose ahead of Pata Negra, the IRC 46 designed by Marc Lombard which won the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in 2018.





              INO XXX, owned by RORC Commodore James Neville. Copyright @Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com


              The big surprise is that there are few French boats currently in the running, in a division where the French are used to being dominant. Among the pre-race favourites were Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon which won IRC One in the 2019 edition. She is out after the mainsail track ripped off the mast. Runner-up to Pelletier in 2019 and outright race winner in 2017, Didier Gaudoux’s JND39 Lann Ael 2, has also retired following damage to the mainsail.

              François Goubau’s First 47.7 Moana, a mainstay of the Rolex Fastnet Race, broke her forestay and has retired from the race after so many successful finishes for the Goubau family over the years. Such is the way of the Fastnet, and especially the early stages of this edition as the fleet exited the Solent and found themselves crashing through such severe and steep-backed waves.French Retirement Opens Doors For
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              • #8
                The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild wins a Double in the Rolex Fastnet Race




                The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has just crossed the finish line of the Rolex Fastnet Race. In the setting sun on the Pointe du Cotentin, the trimaran led by Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier came out on top after a brisk race, marked by an epic start in the waters of the Solent. With a time of 1 day 9 hours 14 minutes and 54 seconds, the crew of six sailors set the first reference time on this unprecedented 690 mile course between Cowes and Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. Already winners in the first edition, Cammas and Caudrelier achieved a double with Gitana 17 which made them part of the history of the race.











                Race records

                Monohull vessels

                The monohull race record is 42hrs 39min, set by Ian Walker's Volvo Open 70 Abu Dhabi (UAE) in 2011. The other two Volvo Open 70 participating in the 2011 Fastnet Race (Groupama 4 and Team Sanya) also broke the previous record, which had been set by ICAP Leopard in 2007.

                Multihull vessels

                The multihull race record is currently 28h 2m 26s by Maxi Edmond de Rotschild. Skipper Franck Cammas took Multihull line honours on August 4, 2019, despite running aground within the first few hours. This was the first sub-30 hour run, beating Loick Peyron and the crew of Banque Populaire’s 2011 time by 4h 45m. The Macif of Francois Gabbart lost the line honours by only 58 seconds, having led just minutes in prior.[23]

                Course record

                The course record was broken by Powerplay, a MOD 70 skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, on April 7, 2021. The run was not a part of the official race, but followed the same course from Cowes, around Fastnet Rock, and back south to the Plymouth Breakwater. The eight-man crew finished the race in 25hrs, 4mins and 18secs, weathering through gale-force winds and hitting boat speeds in excess of 40 knots.[25]



                Edmond de Rothschild dominated this Rolex Fastnet Race but his competitors are neck and neck behind. Sodebo and Actual are expected during the night. Actual, led by Yves Le Blevec managed to overtake Sodebo (T. Coville) as they passed the Scillys but the gaps remain minimal between these two giants.



                Composition of the crew of Gitana 17:

                Franck Cammas, skipper

                Charles Caudrelier, skipper

                David Boileau

                Erwan Israel

                Morgan Lagraviere

                Yann Riou



                Fastnet passage time: 20h46min and 56 sec

                Race time: 1 day 9 hours 14 minutes and 54 seconds
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                • #9
                  The poor saps that are still beating to weather after 2 days!

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                  • #10
                    Signed, Seal, & Delivered




                    The extraordinary 32m long Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild showed a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet in the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race arriving this evening (Monday 9 August) at 20:24:54 BST, setting a new record for the race’s new longer 695 mile course to Cherbourg of 1 days 9 hours 15 minutes and 54 seconds.




                    As the huge blue and white trimaran arrived in Cherbourg’s Port Chantereyne, the marina was packed with cheering fans of the team and of its famous crew of six led by co-skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier. Also on board were David Boileau, Erwan Israel, Morgan Lagraviere and Yann Riou.

                    “The boat is amazing – we have improved since last year, so we are very happy,” said Caudrelier. “The team has done a fantastic job over the last year to develop the boat and we can’t stop that because new boats are coming. We are very happy about this race and the result of it, and the way it has happened.”

                    After an exciting start Maxi Edmond de Rothschild exited the Solent and then led the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet south towards the Channel Islands. Here, significantly, they tacked further south than their main Ultime rivals.

                    “For us it was important to get south to get the shift,” continues Caudrelier. “It was obvious and we wanted to stay on the left of the fleet. Then we were worried about getting too close to the south of England approaching the Sevenstones [lightship], so we were very happy with what we did. We didn’t make too many mistakes.”

                    Cammas added: “Charles and Erwan [Israel] did a good job with the routing and we had one good shift by going further south that enabled us to put more than 20 miles on Sodebo and Actual. What was strange was that the French boats went on the south of the Channel and the English boats stayed in the north! Perhaps they are using different routing software!”

                    With so much of their race upwind, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild hadn’t often hit super-high speeds. However, they had briefly reached 40-41 knots after passing Bishop Rock on their return journey.

                    With the wind dropping overnight and forecast to be sub-10 knots by tomorrow morning, it is likely that the next Ultimes, Sodebo Ultim 3 and Actual, are likely to lose further ground on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.




                    Of their arrival into the Rolex Fastnet Race’s new finish port of Cherbourg, Franck Cammas commented:

                    “It is good because there is a very good ambiance - maybe a little more than when we finish in England! We are very happy to come back in two years.”

                    This edition was Cammas’ fourth Rolex Fastnet Race and he is a fan:

                    “It is a very famous race because it has many boats. It is like the Sydney Hobart - it is not just the professionals, there are many amateur boats too. It is very good to have these all on the same line. It is also very nice to have big multihulls, big monohulls, all the new IMOCAs, etc all on the same start line.”
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                    • #11
                      Skorpios Claims 1st To Fastnet Mono


                      Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev’s brand new ClubSwan 125 Skorpios became the first monohull to round southwest Ireland’s most famous rock this evening © James Tomlinson

                      Almost 10 hours after the lead Ultime trimaran, Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev’s brand new ClubSwan 125 Skorpios became the first monohull to round southwest Ireland’s most famous rock this evening. Due to this year’s mostly upwind conditions being more ‘typically Rolex Fastnet Race’, even the massively fast Skorpios, was unable to better the record monohull time to the Fastnet Rock of 26 hours 45 minutes 47 seconds, set in 2019 by George David’s Rambler 88. Skorpios’ time was 30 hours 38 minutes 43 seconds.

                      Skorpios rounded just astern of the final Ultime trimaran, the Jacek Siwek-skippered elongated ORMA 60, Ultim’emotion 2, but of more concern was a boat less than half her length nipping at her heels. Although racing outside of the IRC fleet, Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on the 60ft IMOCA Apivia have done a phenomenal job leading the IMOCA fleet since they charged out of the blustery Solent 24 hours ago. Approaching the Fastnet Rock, the talented Frenchmen, both past class winners in this event, were leading the IMOCA class, 35 miles ahead of second placed Charal, the defending IMOCA champion, sailed by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt.



                      Current MOCRA class leader, Adrian Keller’s 84ft Nigel Irens-designed racer-cruiser catamaran Allegra. © Rick Tomlinson/https://www.rick-tomlinson.com/


                      In the MOCRA multihull class, American Jason Carroll, aided by his all-star on board cast of round the world and Olympic heroes on Argo, was leading on the water and this evening was on her return journey from the Fastnet Rock, half way to the next turning mark at Bishop Rock, broad reaching at 22 knots. However nearby and going in the opposite direction towards the Fastnet Rock was the MOCRA class leader, Adrian Keller’s 84ft Nigel Irens-designed racer-cruiser catamaran Allegra.

                      Allegra’s Australian skipper Paul Larsen, the fastest sailor in the world following his escapades with Sailrocket 2 nine years ago, was pleased that they had survived the harsh conditions of the first 24 hours, even though he wasn’t repeating his antics from the 2019 race when, racing doublehanded with Vendée Globe heroine Pip Hare, they had found themselves leading the entire monohull fleet on the first night.

                      “It was pretty fruity last night, but we are all good,” Larsen reported. “Obviously, we have a bit more of an asset to manage in those rough conditions, but we chose the right side of the course, so I think we are in a good position for what’s to come. We had everything stacked in the main saloon, all the sails and all the crew which made it easier, pitching over the waves. We only had about 28 knots last night, but the heavy rain made it very hard for the drivers.”

                      Earlier Allegra passed west of the Land’s End Traffic Separation Scheme just astern of the IMOCAs Charal and Arkea Paprec. “Our routing is a bit weird - it has us cracking off at 65-70° TWA to Kinsale and then beating up to the Fastnet, so we are going to stay more towards the rhumb line and go fast at the mark and just see how we go.”



                      Robert Gwozdz’s VO65 Sailing Poland © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com


                      Off to the east of Allegra, Robert Gwozdz’s Sailing Poland was leading the other VO65 round the world boats on the charge north across the Celtic Sea.

                      “We are going well against the other VO65s,” commented Dutch round the world race legend Bouwe Bekking, who is racing on board. “Yesterday afternoon we had sometimes gusts of 33-35 [knots] but in general it was about 25-30. And then last night, the breeze eased in the evening when the sun set and we changed firstly to the big jib and then during the night we had 25 knots, so we just reefed the main in and out. You know how it is, you go to the corner and the wind is on the nose. It should be forbidden to sail upwind!”

                      Despite coming direct from Copa del Rey MAPFRE, Bekking had had little chance to rest. “I haven’t got out of my foulweather gear yet!”

                      While Sailing Poland was leading the VO65 competition, her compatriot, the Polish National Foundation’s VO70 I Love Poland was further up the course leading IRC Zero under IRC, her crew including British Figaro sailor Alan Roberts and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Martin Strömberg.




                      Leading the Class40s - Luke Berry's 2019 winner, Lamotte-Module Création © Rick Tomlinson/https://www.rick-tomlinson.com

                      In the Class40s, there was disaster this afternoon when one of the favourites, Axel Trehin’s Project Rescue Ocean dismasted on the approach to Land’s End. No one was hurt and she has successfully put in to Penzance to effect repairs. This has left Luke Berry's 2019 winner, Lamotte-Module Création leading the class from Tales 2, the sole Botin-designed Class40, now campaigned by Italian Andrea Fornaro, albeit with Antoine Carpentier’s Courrier Redman on the ascent.

                      From onboard Greg Leonard’s Kite, Vendée Globe skipper Miranda Merron was enjoying the conditions this afternoon. “Right now, it is nice and sunny with 16 knots and we are just racing up the east side of the TSS off Land’s End. The routing reckons that way is shorter, otherwise we have to put in two extra long tacks. The wind is further left than we thought.”

                      “It is very nice after yesterday, which was not so nice, with gusts of 35 knots and pretty bouncy. We were pleased with where we were until we had to crash tack to avoid a foreign warship which refused to acknowledge our presence.”




                      Ross Applebey’s British Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

                      In IRC One, Andrew Hall's Lombard 46 Pata Negra is leading from Rob Bottomley's Mat 12 Sailplane, but with Chris Schram and Patrick ten Brincke on the Corby 38 Double Edge on the ascent. However on the water RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX was still leading Swede Jonas Grander’s Elliot 44CR Matador, as they headed out in the Celtic Sea. All of the IRC One leaders were heading up the east side of the Land’s End TSS.

                      Behind them, the IRC Two frontrunners were approaching Land’s End this evening, following IRC One’s up past the TSS. While France usually dominates this class, at present Tom Kneen’s JPK 10.80 Sunrise, including a RORC youth crew, is a nose ahead of Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster.

                      “It’s has been fairly upwind, a bit bouncy, but we’ve sailed smart and kept the thing in one piece which has been really good,” said Applebey. “It would nice to be somewhere other than fully upwind at some point, but we are not sure how long it will be before we start reaching anywhere! We are trying to keep Sunrise in sight. We are sailing pretty well and are pretty fast - there is not much more we can do.”

                      One well travelled race boat, Scarlet Oyster took yesterday’s big conditions in her stride. “There was a lot of rain which was pretty unpleasant for the guys,” Applebey continued. “We have had everyone on the high side with only three people down below at a time. It has been pretty tough. Fortunately, there is less water coming into the boat now!”

                      In IRC Three, Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle’s JPK 1030 Léon is back in front of the Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, the front runners in the class just past the Lizard late this afternoon.

                      In IRC Four, David le Goff's JPK 10.10 Raphael was leading on the water, approaching the Lizard, but Francois Charles' Dehler 33 Cruising Sun Hill 3 and Alain Guelennoc's X-332 Trading-advices.com were still the strongest contenders on IRC corrected time.

                      https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/...ll-to-the-rock
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                      • #12
                        The Fast Pass Fasnet, The Rest Continue To Beat



                        Francois Charles’ Dehler 36 Sun Hill 3 racing in IRC Four © Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com

                        10 August
                        By the morning of the third day of the Rolex Fastnet Race all of the boats still racing in IRC Four had passed Lyme Bay. The leaders on the water have made Land’s End and are readying themselves to pass the Isles of Scilly and into the Celtic Sea. Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff, racing JPK 10.10 Raphael are still leading on the water; an admirable achievement for one of the smallest boats in the race as well as sailing doublehanded. Harry Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome has recorded the best 24-hour run in the class and is second on the water having skirted close to the exclusion zone overnight.

                        A pack of boats racing Two-Handed are south of Winsome’s position, including Vincent & Jacques Rigalleau on the Sun Fast 3200 Enedis, Emmanuel & Etienne Pinteaux on JPK 10.10 Gioia, Richard Palmer & Jeremy Waitt’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, and Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews on the Sun Fast 3200 Cora.

                        Fully crewed teams in the leading pack are Francois Charles’ Dehler 36 Sun Hill 3, Peter Butters’ JPK 10.10 Joy and Benoit Rousselin’a JPK 10.10 Delnic. Ronan O'Siochru’s Sun Fast 37 Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing has chosen to pass to the north of the exclusion zone and it will be interesting to see if the strategy pays off. Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing leads IRC Four after an estimation for time correction. Raphael is second and Sun Hill 3 is third.



                        Amokura, Paul Moxon & Steve Jones's Classic Yawl. © Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com

                        While the Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has now finished the race, all of the teams racing in IRC Four still have over 500 miles to complete the Rolex Fastnet Race. Paul Moxon & Steve Jones’ Amokura is the oldest boat in the race with the pair racing the 1939 55ft yawl doublehanded in IRC Four. Paul contacted the media team as Amokura passed Salcombe, 572 miles from the finish.

                        “The start in the Solent was quite stressful as there were a lot of boats and we are not very manoeuvrable, especially with just two of us on board, but we got out without breaking anything so that was a big tick in the box,” commented Paul Moxon. “It has been quite lumpy in the open sea, with a short, sharp chop. We are doing everything we can to prevent her getting stopped in her tracks. Since we have got through Lyme Bay, the weather has moderated a bit. It has been less choppy and we have picked our speed up. It has been a challenging start but we are making progress. Once we have rounded Land’s End we are hoping for a bit more of a reach and that’s when the boat really opens up. Up until then we are plugging away, she is a big boat with high loads to deal with, but Amokura is a stable platform in big conditions.”

                        Paul Moxon sent in a video portraying life on board Amokura in the Rolex Fastnet Race.






                        Astrid de Vin's Il Corvo, the name means 'The Crow' in Spanish. © Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com


                        IRC Two is living up to expectations of being a close battle between the JPK 11.80s, a design that has proven highly potent in previous editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race. More surprising is the fact that the French teams are trailing their JPK 11.80 rivals from Great Britain and the Netherlands.

                        Currently heading the IRC Two standings on corrected time is Tom Kneen’s Sunrise which is engaged in an upwind duel with Astrid de Vin's Il Corvo [Spanish for ‘The Crow’] to the Fastnet Rock, with the British boat six miles ahead of the Dutch and about two hours in front on corrected time.



                        Thomas Kneen's Sunrise has enjoyed an upwind battle with fellow JPK 11.80 Il Corvo. © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

                        There’s a couple of French JPK 11.80s in a close fight for third, with Richard Fromentin’s Cocody and Eric Fries’ Fastwave 6 locked together on the water and on corrected time. Keeping close company with these two is Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam, which won this division in 2009 and 2011.

                        After the frenetic first 24 hours of the race the conditions are now very benign in the Celtic Sea, the breeze blowing around 10 knots. Not quite as much breeze as most sailors would want, but much more frustrating for the boats that retired in the early stages along the south-west coast of England.

                        Christopher Daniel, owner of the J/122E Juno, reported: “It’s been pretty straightforward after the start. The worst was leaving the Solent to be honest, and the overfall off the Needles. Once we were through that it all settled down and we’ve been trucking along since then. It’s been a good race so far.”

                        Tough to take for those who didn’t make it far out of the start. A collision between Corinne Migraine and Gilles Fournier’s J/133 Pintia and Ed Bell’s JPK 11.80 Dawn Treader resulted in the retirement of both these teams, Dawn Treader suffering a dismasting in the process. Both of these teams would very likely have been in contention for overall honours but will have to wait until 2023 for better fortune.

                        Another retirement due to a broken mast is Nutmeg Solidaire En Peloton, the MC34 skippered by Corentin Lognone.

                        Vladimir Cherpurnoi and his crew on the First 40 Jazz have retired due to taking on water through the keelbolts, and headed to Falmouth, after receiving assistance from Mussulo 40, the Class 40 owned by Afanasy Isaev.




                        Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim 3 finished the Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg on Tuesday morning (10 August), completing the 695nm course in 1d 20h 16m 36s © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

                        Ironic after Sunday’s brutal start, less than 48 hours in and across the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet competitors have been struggling in light winds, especially around the Traffic Separation Scheme between Land’s End and the Scilly Isles and, for those right at the front of the fleet, off Cherbourg.

                        Since last night’s arrival of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, to a tumultuous reception from the assembled crowds in Cherbourg’s Port Chantereyne, this morning two more Ultime maxi-trimarans have finished with Yves le Blevec’s Actual arriving in an elapsed time of 1d 18h 41m 22s, followed by Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim 3 in 1d 20h 16m 36s.

                        “We messed up the finish, but not only the finish,” Coville admitted. “We had quite a safe start and actually it was quite tough to have so many tacks on such a big trimaran. The boat is going very well - we were happy with her. We have improved a lot, especially upwind in tough conditions. After the Casquets we were seven miles behind Maxi Edmond de Rothschild but we made a lot of navigation and tactics mistakes during the race. It was quite difficult to be honest with a lot of changes and a lot of different conditions, but very exciting.”

                        Coville added that on three occasions during the race their maxi-trimaran with its towering rig had run out of wind.

                        “For me the world’s two most fantastic races are the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Rolex Fastnet Race. These races are just amazing. We should participate every two years in each of them!”

                        The next boats due into Cherbourg later today are the final Ultime, Ultim emotion 2, due south of Land's End at 0830 BST this morning with 150 miles to go to Cherbourg. She was just ahead of the leading monohull, the mighty ClubSwan 125 Skorpios. Overnight Skorpios has finally managed to shake off the lead IMOCA, Apivia, sailed doublehanded by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat which early this morning was due south of the Scilly Isles.



                        Yves le Blevec and the team on Ultime Actual celebrate after arriving at the finish line in an elapsed time of 1d 18h 41m 22s © Team Actual

                        At present nine IMOCAs have rounded the Fastnet Rock with Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur lying fifth behind 11th Hour Racing and ahead of her partner Romain Attanasio on Fortinet - Best Western. Initiatives Coeur rounded the Fastnet Rock at 0500 BST this morning, but only after a struggle. “It was pretty tricky to get around because at night there is more coastal effect that knocks the wind away, so it was tricky tacking up to get around the Rock.

                        “The conditions at night were amazing. It was so nice to be in flat water. There was amazing sunset. It did rain on us as is tradition before you go around the Fastnet Rock.”

                        Half way to Bishop Rock this morning, Initiatives Coeur was in 10-14 knots of unstable wind under their Code 0 headsail. However Davies warned that the boats behind were set to come in with new breeze: “I think the whole fleet will compress because behind us they have more wind and more header and ahead of us they are still spinnakering and gybing downwind.” The good news is that means a more straightforward run, in pressure, from the Scilly Isles to the finish off Cherbourg, where Initiatives Coeur’s ETA is 1000-1100 BST tomorrow.

                        Formation flying on a painful-looking starboard tack in the mid-Celtic Sea, were the leading Class 40s. Out in front, by a nose, remains defending champion Luke Berry on Lamotte - Module Création, followed by Pierre Casenave-Péré on Legallais and Italian Andrea Fornaro on Tales2 to their south. All the frontrunners were making 6.5-7.5 knots.

                        CTala at the Fastnet Rock
                        Tala at the Fastnet Rock
                        Currently IRC Zero boats are dominating the overall IRC leaderboard, the winner of which will ultimately claim the coveted Fastnet Challenge Cup this year. While the ClubSwan 125 Skorpios is plainly the run-away leader on the water, it remains the Polish VO70 I Love Poland and the VO65 Sailing Poland which are prevailing under IRC corrected time. I Love Poland rounded the Fastnet Rock at around 02:30 BST this morning followed by Sailing Poland just under two hours later. Both are now making 10-12 knots directly towards Bishop Rock. Top British boat in IRC Zero, David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala this morning was approaching the Fastnet TSS, holding fifth place in class.

                        The two frontrunners have broken away in IRC One with less than 50 miles to go to the Fastnet Rock this morning, both making 6.5-7.5 knots. Overnight Swede Jonas Grander’s Elliot 44CR Matador has nosed ahead, but RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX holds a better position tactically to weather and will have less costly manoeuvres to make sailing along the top of the TSS approaching the Rock later today. Both are also doing well under IRC corrected time as is Rob Bottomley's Mat 12 Sailplane, Andrew Hall's Lombard 46 Pata Negra, while alongside her the venerable Stormvogel, celebrating 50 years of her line honours victory, has also had a good night.



                        The IRC Two leaders on the water are now into the top third of the IRC One fleet. The lead duo, both JPK 10.80s Tom Kneen’s Sunrise and the Dutchwoman Astrid de Vin’s Il Corvo, headed up the east side of the Land’s End TSS yesterday, as the rest of the pack went west of it. They have since tacked to cover with the result that Sunrise has made a net gain of 18 miles on sistership Richard Fromentin’s Leclerc Hennebont / Cocody. Under IRC this trio is also looking good under corrected time, with Ronald Prins’ J/122e Sailmon JR on the ascent overnight.

                        Half way up the IRC Two fleet on the water, the IRC Three leaders are approaching quarter of the way across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock. Here it is much tighter at the front with four boats fighting it out on the water. Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier is a nose ahead of Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080’ Raging-bee² and Philippe Girardin’s J/120 Hey Jude and Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle’s defending champions, JPK 1030 Léon. Loison/Pirouelle continue to hold a slender lead in the class, but hold a much stronger lead in the IRC Two Handed class, where Figaro sailor Loison proudly holds the record for the most number of victories.

                        Just 12 miles astern of the IRC Three leader, also heading out into a relatively clement Celtic Sea, are the IRC Four frontrunners. They are slightly more spread out with David le Goff's JPK 10.10 Raphael leading on the water from Harry J. Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome, which is having a spectacular race. Both are looking strong under IRC corrected time, as are Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews on their Sun Fast 3200 Cora and Francois Charles’ Dehler 33 Cruising Sun Hill 3.
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                        • #13
                          Mono Line Honors For Skorpios




                          Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios took line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, completing the 695nm course in 2 days, 8 hours, 35 minutes and 5 seconds © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com


                          Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios took line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race this evening, after crossing the finish line in Cherbourg at 2015 BST. Their total elapsed time for completing the 695 nautical mile course from Cowes to Cherbourg was 2 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes and 55 seconds.

                          Competing in her first offshore race, the recently launched Skorpios came through a brutal first 12 hours of the race in good shape. As the breeze softened, Skorpios extended away from her chief rivals for line honours including previous winner George David’s Rambler 88 and the strong IMOCA fleet.

                          Having only started sailing in the last few years, this was owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s first offshore race which he experienced with his daughter Anna Rybolovleva, also her first time offshore racing.

                          “We’re very pleased with the boat, the team was great. We want to thank the whole team for such great efforts. We were trying to stay conservative, especially in the high wind at the start, but we’re excited to see what the boat can do in future races. Rounding the Fastnet Rock was kind of magical, it felt like a really special moment.”








                          Skipper Fernando Echavarri was relieved to have come through the Rolex Fastnet Race with the boat intact.

                          “The boat is very strong, we backed off on speed coming out of the Solent, but so was everyone else,” said the Spanish professional. “We had an idea of what the boat might be able to do, but we didn’t know for sure, so we learned a lot on this race.

                          “The owner is super happy, he’s a good sailor but new to offshore sailing and he enjoyed the experience a lot. I think there is a very good chance we will be back for the Rolex Fastnet Race.”

                          https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/...s-in-cherbourg
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                          • #14
                            The rich got rich and the poor, well, they are still trying to get there!

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                            • #15
                              Wednesday Aug 11th Fastnet Updates



                              The 84ft Nigel Irens designed catamaran Allegra, sailed by Switzerland’s Adrian Keller, finished the 695-mile Rolex Fastnet Race course in an elapsed time of 3 days 18 mins and 38 secs to win the MOCRA Class. The largest catamaran in the class for this race, has now won back-to-back races organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, having also won the last edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.

                              Australian Paul Larsen who was skipper a principal driver on Allegra commented:

                              “Two days before the start of the race, we were just about the only boat out training in rough weather. We saw this as an opportunity to sail in the conditions we expected for the early part of the race. This allowed us to sort out sail configurations and the likely sea state for the beginning of the race. This put everyone’s mind at ease for what was to come.”

                              Allegra weighs in at 32 tons with a full interior including four en-suite cabins - about four times the weight of a MOD70. From the start, Allegra experienced heavy beating conditions especially at The Needles leaving the Solent:

                              “You have to manage the slamming, plus she is not designed to fly a hull like a MOD70, if you do, even in light airs, you are likely to rip the clew out of the sail. Unlike the full-on raceboats around us, we have much higher loads so we have load sensors we must respect. Allegra is a big piece of real estate, but we haven’t broken a thing on board.

                              “The worst weather we experienced was going through some heavy rain squalls off the Scillies, just blinding rain. The boat dealt with the weather really well and its pretty impressive to be surrounded by stripped out race boats. I have to say, it was nice to have hot showers on Allegra and the coffee and food were fantastic!”

                              After crossing the finish line at Cherbourg Adrian Keller added:

                              “This is a happy moment. A week before the race, I was not sure if I could even get into England because of the restrictions, so getting to the start line was great and the outcome was fantastic.

                              “I provide the platform for a really great crew, and I think we have now proved that Allegra is a bit more than a floating apartment. I hope that we have demonstrated that this type of boat can race and hold our own against racing designs. This was my first race, and it has been very exciting. I have a great deal of respect for the course. The start was very windy and coming out from Hurst Castle the weather got really tough. However, I will remember the Fastnet lighthouse, it was pitch dark, but you can see that light and that is a memory for a life time - unique and very special.”


                              While Oren Nataf’s speedy Pulsar 50 catamaran Rayon Vert regained a lot of ground in the last 24 hours she was almost two hours outside of Allegra’s time, corrected by the MOCRA rule. This follows the sad retirements of the defending champion, Christian Guyader, aboard his new RS5 Guyader Mext and former ORMA team boss Yann Marilley’s potent Outremer 5x Racing catamaran No Limit, with a crew including Loick Peyron, which sadly dismasted early on in the race.



                              Raphael, JPK 10.10 sailed by Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff © Raphael


                              Wednesday 11 August
                              Just before 4 am BST on the fourth day of the Rolex Fastnet Race, Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff, racing JPK 10.10 Raphael Two-Handed, rounded the Fastnet Lighthouse - the first boat to do so in IRC Four. Raphael also led the class after time correction by over two hours. Racing a 10-metre boat in the Rolex Fastnet Race is an arduous task, coupled with the brutal conditions experienced in the first 24 hours, their performance so far has been nothing short of breath-taking.

                              “We are both well and so is the boat,” commented Ludovic Menahes, as Raphael rounded the Fastnet Rock. “We did break a door in the early part of the race, but nothing serious and the boat is going very well. We have not had a hot meal since day one, and we hope to after rounding the Fastnet, but we still have not hoisted our spinnaker!”




                              Forty seven minutes after Raphael rounded the Fastnet Rock, Emmanuel & Etienne Pinteaux’s JPK 10.10 Gioia was to follow. The brothers from St Vaast, racing fully crewed with friends, had put the pedal to the metal through the Celtic Sea, recording the quickest stage time from The Lizard to Fastnet. Harry Heijst’s S&S Winsome was the second fastest yacht in IRC Four for the same stage. Gioia and Winsome are virtually tied for second place after IRC time correction, although on the water Gioia is two miles ahead. Francois Charles’ Dehler 36 Sun Hill 3 is estimated to be fourth in class after time correction and have set their sights on a podium result, as Francois explained from the Fastnet Rock:

                              “A Good passage to the Fastnet Rock; a climb without too many tactical options which forced us to make this small and old boat run as quickly as possible. We concentrated on not being passed by more modern boats and the excellent team racing S&S 41 Winsome. I can't wait to send the spinnaker up. The crew is in good shape, we are happy to have turned south at the lighthouse for the third race in a row on Sun Hill 3. Now we go to work to make the podium!”

                              At 1200 BST on Wednesday 11 August, 15 teams in IRC Four had rounded the Fastnet Rock. Thirty eight teams in IRC Four have still to round the iconic symbol of the Rolex Fastnet Race. A frontal system is expected to arrive on the West Coast of Ireland at about midnight tonight, bringing stronger wind from the south, adding yet another twist to a fascinating challenge



                              Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster is moving up the leaderboard © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

                              Beating up towards the Fastnet Rock is making for slow going for the back half of the IRC Two fleet as the wind is blowing from an inconvenient north-westerly direction off the southern tip of Ireland. Once they're round, at least the boats will be able to free up their sails and pick up some pace.

                              Meanwhile the frontrunners in this division are making good ground back towards the Scilly Isles, the wind blowing from a south-west-southerly direction. While Minnie the Minx (Philip Cook’s First 40) and J’Ouvert (Simon Harris’s J/122e) are bringing up the rear of IRC Two, Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise is coming the other way, strengthening her hold on the lead.

                              Twenty miles aft of Sunrise is Kneen’s closest rival for the leaderboard in IRC Two, Astrid de Vin’s JPK 11.80 Il Corvo. The gap in corrected time terms is over four hours in Sunrise’s favour, although we’ve seen massive changes in the faster fleets like the IMOCAs as they’ve drawn closer to the finish in Cherbourg. Il Corvo has 250 nautical miles remaining before the French finish line to try to reel in her British rival.

                              Further north of Il Corvo, Eric Fries’ Fastwave 6 and Richard Fromentin’s Leclerc Hennebont / Cocody are so close to each other, racing beam to beam, that they could be throwing bread rolls at each other.

                              Moving further up the rankings into sixth on the IRC Two leaderboard is Scarlet Oyster, Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48, racing in close company with Hakan Groenvall’s Swedish First 40, C-me. Not far from these two is EH01, Neil Maher’s First 47.7. With the breeze blowing on to the starboard beam at about 13 to 14 knots, the boats are achieving consistent speeds of 8 to 9 knots, making good progress towards Bishop Rock.


                              Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.80 Raging Bee² rounded the Fastnet Rock in pole position © Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com


                              In the early hours of the fourth day of the Rolex Fastnet Race, Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.80 Raging Bee² was the first boat in IRC Three to round the Fastnet Lighthouse. Visibility was poor, the wind was strong, but the glow of light from the legendary beacon lit up the breaking waves. Raging Bee² was not alone, the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, was just five minutes and 24 seconds behind and it was a mere seven seconds before Alexis Loison & Guillaume Pirouelle, racing JPK 10.30 Léon, rounded the famous landmark. Philippe Girardin’s J/120 Hey Jude was the next to round, just under eight minutes behind Léon. Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson, racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell, was to follow, posting the fastest time in the fleet from The Lizard. The top five boats on the water rounded the Fastnet Rock within an hour, after two and a half days of gruelling racing.

                              "We passed the Fastnet Rock at 01:07 BST (11 August) and had the honour of being the first in our class!” commented Louis-Marie Dussere from on board Raging Bee². “We passed close to the lighthouse without seeing it because of the fog - real Irish summer weather! We have had problems with sails and technical issues, like a lot of boats I suppose. But everything is fixed and Raging Bee2 is at 100%. The crew is in good shape, we have managed our sleep well and the food is good!”

                              “We are at the Fastnet Rock, we have seven knots of wind from the south, but soon we will be beating again,” said Alexis Loison just as Léon was approaching the Fastnet Lighthouse. There is a big fight in IRC Three, especially with Raging Bee, which is right behind us..”


                              Alexis Loison's doublehanded JPK 10.30 Léon © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

                              Rounding the Fastnet Rock in the world’s biggest offshore race is a memorable experience for any sailor. More so for the crew of Denis Murphy & Annamarie Fegan’s Irish Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo. The crew are all from Cork and their family and friends motored out in the dead of night to watch Nieulargo round the lighthouse. By then the wind had piped up to 20 knots with a sea state to match.

                              “Rounded my marriage/engagement location this morning at 3:26:15,” commented Nicholas O’Leary. “We got so close to Cork we could smell the gannets. We are trying to outrun a front arriving from the west and still in touch for the class. We could ‘smell’ the pints of stout from the Rock.”

                              At 08:00 BST on Wednesday 11 August, Léon was estimated to be leading IRC Three by approximately one hour after IRC time correction from Raging Bee². Fujitsu British Soldier was third, just five minutes ahead of Hey Jude after IRC time correction. Fifty teams are still racing in IRC Three, while 23 boats have retired or discontinued racing.



                              Apivia after rounding the Fastnet Rock © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex


                              An exceptional example of an extraordinary boat paired up with a hugely talented crew has been the combination of Apivia with doublehanders Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat competing in this 49th Rolex Fastnet Race. They arrived in Cherbourg early this morning scoring a resounding win in the 13-strong IMOCA fleet. This came as some small vindication after Dalin suffered victory slipping through his fingers in this year’s Vendée Globe after he was first home only to lose the top prize when Yannick Bestaven and Maître CoQ were awarded a time compensation.

                              Dalin, an anglophile having studied at Southampton University, enjoyed the Rolex Fastnet Race start, seeing old friends as his IMOCA milled around the Solent before the start. Once the gun had gone on Sunday, the foil-born Apivia leapt into action, and compared to her other 60ft IMOCA rivals looked like an 80 footer. Part of this was down to development work since the solo round the world race: “We have new foils and some new sails. You have to keep these boats evolving to stay at the top of your game,” Dalin explained. Passing the Needles, sailing upwind so fast they were flying, Apivia had already pulled out a two mile lead in the IMOCA class.

                              While the Ultimes led the charge south across the Channel, Apivia led the IMOCAs but went even further towards France before tacking. This was because, uniquely, they managed to link up a series of benefits - positive tide at the Alderney Race, then a wind shift and then more positive tide off Brehat. “There was a very small window to get the combination exactly right. Our timing was perfect,” said Dalin. Their tack north was timed so that not only did they lay the west side of the TSS at Land’s End, but could stay on course to lay the Fastnet Rock.

                              Amazingly, at the TSS Apivia converged with the ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, a boat more than twice her length. The two boats then match raced across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, Apivia doing an impressive job to keep up. “That was good,” said Dalin. “It was a shame because if the wind had been maybe 15° left and 2-3 knots more we would have overtaken them for sure. At 60° TWA we were faster.” Such are the performance gains of the new generation foilers.

                              However this was not to last. After rounding the Fastnet Rock 49 minutes astern of Skorpios and cracking sheets, the big boat sped away. The remainder of the race for Apivia was a complex case of playing tides and staying in the best breeze. This involved initially hugging the Cornish coast before ducking south of the Casquets TSS.

                              The trickiness of the situation in the Channel, from Bishop Rock on, was best demonstrated by the boats astern. When second placed IMOCA Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal passed Bishop Rock at 1340 BST yesterday they held a 125 mile advantage over 10th placed HUGO BOSS. By 0500 this morning huge compression in the fleet had occurred and HUGO BOSS had closed to 28 miles of them. As a result, a busy morning is expected in Cherbourg with the bulk of the IMOCAs, the multihull leader under the MOCRA rule, Adrian Keller’s Irens 84 performance cruising catamaran Allegra, and some of the IRC Zero frontrunners all due.



                              Racing in IRC Zero -Richard Matthews’ new speedster Oystercatcher XXXV © Rick Tomlinson

                              Generally this morning, the Celtic Sea resembles the M25 with bulk of the IRC fleet either approaching or exiting the Fastnet Rock.

                              Overnight suffering in the same compression in the Channel, the compatriots, the VO70 I Love Poland and VO65 Sailing Poland, lost their grip on IRC Zero. In their place this morning is David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala ahead of Jens Kellinghusen's Ker 56 Varuna and Richard Matthews’ new speedster, the CF520 Oystercatcher XXXV also featuring. This morning the bulk of IRC Zero is past Bishop Rock and back into the Channel where the leaders are mid-Channel passing Start Point, and currently laying the Cherbourg finish where they are due later this afternoon.


                              Consolidating their position as leader both on the water and under corrected time in IRC One, RORC Commodore James Neville and his HH42 INO XXX © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

                              In IRC One, RORC Commodore James Neville and his HH42 INO XXX have consolidated their position as leader both on the water and under corrected time. But surprisingly moving into second place overnight has been the classic 73ft van de Stadt design Stormvogel. Her Italian owner has entered his classic ketch this year to mark the 60th anniversary of Stormvogel’s Fastnet Race line honours title. Currently the only IRC One boat to round Bishop Rock, INO XXX is now south of the Land's End TSS making 14 knots as Stormvogel is approaching the TSS due west of the Scilly Isles making 10.

                              As with INO XXX, so in IRC Two Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise, sailed by a RORC youth crew, is building up a solid advantage on corrected time over Dutchwoman Astrid de Vin’s sistership Il Corvo. However, the other 11.80s, Eric Fries’ Fastwave 6 and Richard Fromentin’s Leclerc Hennebont / Cocody and Ross Applebey’s Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster are still nipping at their heels. Sunrise still had 70 miles to go to reach Bishop Rock, but most impressive was that only six boats in IRC One remain ahead of her.


                              The first quarter of IRC Three is now around the Fastnet Rock. The four-way fight on the water continues between the Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.80 Raging-bee², Philippe Girardin’s J/120 Hey Jude and class favourites and defending champions, Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle’s JPK 10.30 Léon. Raging-bee² led around the Fastnet Rock shortly after 0100 this morning.

                              Under corrected time, Léon holds a small lead but Raging-bee² is gunning hard as are the high profile British two-handed duo Volvo Ocean Race sailor Henry Bomby and double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson on the Sun Fast 3300 Swell, who are now also threatening Léon for the first time in the IRC Two-Handed class.

                              Runaway leader on the water in IRC Four is David le Goff's JPK 10.10 Raphael, flying the flag for France in place of regular winner Noel Racine. Significantly Raphael is also leading IRC Four under corrected time, having rounded the Fastnet Rock at 0400 this morning. The Pinteaux family’s JPK 10.10 Gioia is in the mix as is Vincent and Jacques Rigalleau’s Sun Fast 3200 Enedis and Harry J. Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome as they head out for their return journey back across the Celtic Sea.

                              The door is set to close on the next Fastnet Rock roundings as a NNE-SSW orientated front moves across the fleet causing the wind to back into the northwest and lighten behind the front, creating slow spinnaker conditions for those returning from the Rock. It does however mean a faster leg for those already in the Channel who are boosted by 25 knots of reaching conditions.



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