Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Rolex Fastnet Race - High profile women join in

by Trish Jenkins on 12 Jul 2013
First 40, Southern Child © Tim Wright / Photoaction.com http://www.photoaction.com
For this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, a key feature will be the number of high profile women taking part, when the world's largest offshore race sets sail from Cowes on Sunday 11th August.

Yet again the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event is breaking new records in terms of the size of its fleet with 372 boats entered at present. The biennial race from Cowes to the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland and back around the Scilly Isles to Plymouth, is now by far the biggest of all the international 600 mile offshore races.


The largest on the start line will be the 40m trimaran Spindrift 2, which as Maxi Banque Populaire in 2011 romped around the course in just 32 hours 48 minutes. As she was finishing most of the fleet had still to round Land's End en route to the Fastnet Rock. Since the last race, the fastest offshore boat in the world, which holds the record for the highest ever 24 hour run (908.2nm or 37.84 knots average) has been sold to the Franco-Swiss Spindrift racing team. Her new co-skippers are Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli, whose brother Ernesto Bertarelli twice won the America's Cup with his Alinghi team.

Spindrift is obviously gunning to beat the existing record of its new trimaran. However even with a good forecast this shouldn't be taken for granted.

'This race is a big challenge for me and for the Spindrift racing team as a whole, not only because of its historical importance, but for several other reasons,' explains Bertarelli, who has spent the last years campaigning the D35 catamaran Ladycat in Switzerland. 'The Rolex Fastnet Race will be my first offshore experience, but it will also be our first race with Spindrift 2. We are competitors and even though we will have had little time to train, to get to know the boat and build a strong sailing team, our objective remains to win.'


Team SCA is competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race as part of the Swedish campaign's rigorous training regime and selection process to mount the Volvo Ocean Race's best ever all-female campaign. As part of their training regime, they typically sail their VO70 training boat - formerly Puma Ocean Racing's mar mostro - with their male coaches on board. For the Fastnet this will comprise multiple Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson, Joca Signorini and Spanish bowman Pepe Ribes. Among the British crew is Vendee Globe skipper Sam Davies and Olympic match racer Annie Lush, two of the five women already selected for the team.

For Davies this will be her fifth Rolex Fastnet Race, having last competed with Sidney Gavignet aboard the IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing in 2009. On board she is navigator although as she points out 'we are all in the watch system, so I will be sailing and navigating.'

Team SCA is at present one of four VO70s competing, up against the Ian Walker-skippered Abu Dhabi, which set a monohull course record in 2011, plus the former Team Russia and the latest entry, Camper, being campaigned by an Australian crew led by TP52 owner Jason van der Slot.

How do Team SCA expect to get on against Abu Dhabi? 'We have done a lot more sailing, but we are missing the Volvo experience still. I'm sure their crew will be made up mostly of people who have done the race before.'


Likely to finish between Team SCA and Spindrift 2 will be another Vendee Globe competitor, Dee Caffari.

For Caffari this will be her seventh Fastnet, her first having been as skipper of the Challenge boat Group 4 in 2001. In 2007, her IMOCA 60 Aviva had to pull out with a ripped mainsail and a very sick quadruple Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent on board, while last year she received her multihull baptism, hitching a ride on Steve Ravussin's MOD70, Race for Water.

'I'd never done the race that quick before in my life, so I am really delighted I'm back on a MOD70,' says Caffari, who this year joins Sidney Gavignet's team on Oman Air-Musandam.

As part of Oman Sail's continued efforts to develop women's sailing in the sultanate, Omani sailor Raya Al Habsi will also be competing on board. She has previously competed in Sailing Arabia-The Tour in 2012 and 2013, and is currently part of the all-female Oman Sail entry at the J/80 Worlds. 'Raya has been with us from the beginning of the girls' offshore sailing,' says Caffari. 'She has been working the bow on the Farr 30 and has been cold, wet and beaten up and still continues to smile, which is a good characteristic to have for a tough environment, which the Fastnet is. This is big deal for Oman Sail and for Arab women in sport.'

As to their prospects this year Oman Air-Musandam will be up against another MOD70 in the Seb Josse-skippered Edmond de Rothschild. Caffari remembers two years ago when they match raced another MOD70 Veolia Environnement for the entire race. 'I am really looking forward to being back in that intensity again.'


Some way behind the grand prix speedsters will be another all-female team led by Lucy Reynolds. While husband Christian Reynolds will be campaigning the Swan 53 Northern Child, Lucy has entered the First 40, Southern Child. 'One of our regular crew asked if I'd be interested in doing an all-female campaign and I went 'why not?' says Lucy of how this came about. The Reynolds run a charter company and the crew of Southern Child is mostly paying guests.

'One of our crew has done the race before and another has done the ARC and various transatlantic and offshore passage, so it is a mixed level of experience, and we have a couple coming in from the States,' says Lucy.

To date they have had a training weekend and competed in the RORC's Morgan Cup and have the St Malo and Channel Races ahead of them to build up their experience and qualification miles.

'It has been very enjoyable, everyone just growing and learning,' explains Lucy for whom this will be her third Rolex Fastnet Race. 'Quite often with female sailors, they do a task and they don't understand why they are doing it. So it has been a really enjoyable process empowering people to do things for themselves and understand why they are doing it.'

At present there are six First 40s competing in IRC 2 and given that two, La Réponse and Lancelot 2 Logic finished just nine seconds apart on corrected time in the RORC's recent Morgan Cup, they can expect some close RORC Fastnet website

Zhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Storm Force Marine 3Mondo Travel - Americas Cup Tour - 5385

Related Articles

RORC Transatlantic Race – Maserati Multi70 now 660 miles from finish
The shore team and organisers are already in situ, preparing a warm welcome for the crews of the two trimarans. The shore team and organisers are already in situ, preparing a warm welcome for the crews of the two trimarans who will be exhausted after racing across the ocean at high speeds for such an extended period.
Posted today at 4:40 pm
Vendée Globe – Eliès in line for Southern Ocean bruising
Yann Eliès was doing all he could to slow his raceboat in a bid to reduce the impact of a violent Southern Ocean storm. French sailor Yann Eliès was today doing all he could to slow his 60ft raceboat in a bid to reduce the impact of a violent Southern Ocean storm heading straight for him.
Posted today at 4:09 pm
RORC Transatlantic Race – Phaedo3 prepares to land
Mike Slade's Maxi 100 Leopard 3 is racing against the clock in an assault on the race record. Mike Slade's Maxi 100 Leopard 3 is racing against the clock in an assault on the race record. The IRC Fleet and Class40 Division are getting a savage taste of ocean racing.
Posted today at 11:53 am
America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted today at 10:26 am
Vendee Globe- Cat and Mouse as leaders dodge Kerguelen Islands
Some of the most amazing sailing footage has just been posted on the web. Some of the most amazing sailing footage has just been posted on the web. If you have ever wondered what it looks like out there is the middle of the open ocean thousands of miles from land sailing an IMOCA 60 at full speed, wonder no more. The french navy stationed at Kerguelen Island intercepted the two leading boats in the Vendée Globe and captured some incredible footage.
Posted on 1 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Maserati Multi70 now 1,000 miles off Grenada
Multi70 continues her race W/SW to the finish-line off Grenada having spent the last 12 hours making an impressive speed Now at the 22nd parallel north, Maserati Multi70 continues her race W/SW to the finish-line off Grenada, having spent the last 12 hours making an impressive average speed of 30 knots with peaks of 40, thanks to the L-foil and T-foil rudder on her port side.
Posted on 1 Dec
Vendée Globe – Day 26 – New twist as Thomson takes back top spot
Alex Thomson is once again at the front of the fleet after successfully hunting down arch rival Armel Le Cléac'h. Four days after French sailor Le Cléac'h moved into pole position in the solo non-stop round the world race, Thomson reclaimed control once more as the epic duel between the two skippers continued.
Posted on 1 Dec
Vendée Globe – Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss back in front
Both Thomson and Le Cleac’h gybed after passing the islands moving onto starboard tack, allowing Thomson to use the foil For the majority of the race Thomson has been leading the fleet, however, after an incident with his starboard foil hitting a UFO on the 21st November, Thomson moved into second place due to his damaged foil when sailing on port tack.
Posted on 1 Dec
Dongfeng Race Team to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
On board this week have been Caudrelier and his Volvo Ocean Race navigator Bidégorry plus Thomas Rouxel and Jiru Jang Caudrelier says the tie-up with the UBOX project - a team with whom he and Bidégorry competed in the Rolex China Sea Race earlier this year – is part of Dongfeng Race Team's mission to help grow the sport of offshore ocean racing in China and the Sydney Hobart is a perfect warm-up race for the Volvo.
Posted on 1 Dec
Joy and pain on Day 6 of the RORC Transatlantic Race
Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 has less than 1,000 miles to go to Camper and Nicholson's Port Louis Marina, Grenada. Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 has less than 1,000 miles to go to Camper and Nicholson's Port Louis Marina, Grenada. In the IRC fleet, Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 is ahead on the water and estimated to be leading the race after IRC time correction
Posted on 1 Dec