Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Feva 728x90

France claim Fastnet Challenge Cup for third consecutive time

by James Boyd on 11 Aug
RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd presents the Fastnet Challenge Cup to the overall winner, Didier Gaudoux's JND39, Lann Ael 2 © ELWJ Photography / RORC
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.'

BIA 2017 Brisbane 660x82 SailingRS Sailing 660x82 AUSProtector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

France annihilates Rolex Fastnet Race competition for a third time
The Royal Ocean Racing's biennial flagship event attracted another record-sized fleet of 362 boats, six more than 2015. 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.
Posted on 15 Aug
More from the Rolex Fastnet Race by Nic Douglass
So many adventures, and so little time! At the Fastnet we covered action from the start, to the Volvo and the finish. What a great representation of sailing! An absolute pleasure to talk with Didier Goudoux, the overall winner on IRC of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's ROLEX Fastnet Race on his boat Lann Ael 2 with his son and daughter on board with him. So many congratulations and hope to see you again soon!
Posted on 14 Aug
International competitors look back at the Rolex Fastnet Race
Artemis Ocean Racing claimed the Clarion Cup for being 'first British yacht home', while Katsu won the Irish equivalent Richard Matthews was presented with the Dennis Doyle Memorial Salver as the competing skipper with the greatest number of Rolex Fastnet Race participations. Deb Fish won not only the prize, with Rob Craigie, for having the boat (Bellino) with the top mixed IRC Two Handed crew, but also the Maite de Aramblaza Trophy for the best yacht with a female skipper.
Posted on 12 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race – Three in a row for Night and Day
Probably the toughest battle was the duel for the lead in the largest class of the smallest boats, IRC Four. 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.
Posted on 11 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race – Poised to join the pantheon of greats
Arriving on Wednesday morning, Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer assumed leadership of the race As yachts continue to pass the finish line off the Breakwater Lighthouse in Plymouth Sound, the spotlight is shining firmly upon the question of who will claim the race’s most sought-after prize, the Fastnet Challenge Cup and Rolex timepiece, awarded to the overall race winner and decided on handicap under the IRC Rating system.
Posted on 11 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race – Class leaders firming up
Overnight and into a magnificent West Country morning, boats have been streaming across finish line and into Plymouth 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.
Posted on 10 Aug
Oman Sail celebrate top five Rolex Fastnet Race finish in Class 40
On the run back from the Fastnet Rock, the team picked up another place to cross the Plymouth finishing line in fifth. In the international class of 26 level-rated yachts – part of a record-breaking Fastnet fleet of 368 race boats – Oman Sail were amongst the leading pack in the early stages along Britain’s southern coast and across the Irish Sea.
Posted on 10 Aug
V and B prevails in the Class 40s as Trentesaux has a comfy ride
Class40 leaders arrived in Plymouth this afternoon, with victory going to V and B skippered by Frenchman Maxime Sorel. 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.
Posted on 10 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race – Perseverance pays
Monohull line honours victory for his 88-ft Maxi yacht in 2017 follows three contrasting races over the past decade. David’s first Rolex Fastnet Race in 2007 on the 90-ft Rambler was defined by an epic contest with Mike Slade’s 100-ft Maxi ICAP Leopard. The two yachts provided a spectacle of raw intensity as they duelled around the Fastnet Rock before Slade’s British yacht eventually claimed victory by a little over an hour.
Posted on 9 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race catch up with the Sailor Girl + Videos
I arrived just in time to talk with George David the owner of Rambler on the dock in Plymouth as well as one of his crew While I was competing at the Tasar World Championship in Japan where my Dad and I came third and were the first Masters team out of 97 crews, my assistant (self-proclaimed 'Minion') Brigitte Berry was on the ground for the start in Cowes to talk with a number of crews before the start, capture some awesome boat porn, and then catch up with Ned Wakefield from Team Concise at the finish in Plymouth
Posted on 9 Aug