Please select your home edition
Protector 728x90

International competitors look back at the Rolex Fastnet Race

by James Boyd on 12 Aug
Rolex Fastnet Race Prizegiving at Plymouth Yacht Haven © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Last night crews braved the elements for a successful prizegiving for the Rolex Fastnet Race and a lively final evening of entertainment at Plymouth Yacht Haven.

In addition to the class prizes, Tony Lawson's Concise 10 won the trophy for being first multihull home, while Christian Guyader's Guyader Gastronomie was first multihull home <50ft LOA and Simon Baker's Hissy Fit was top MOCRA-rated multihull <50ft.

Artemis Ocean Racing claimed the Clarion Cup for being 'first British yacht home', while Katsu won the Irish equivalent and RORC Commodore Michael Boyd and Lisa received the Joggernaut Trophy for 'best Irish yacht'.

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.

James Neville and Ino XXX took home the Jolie Brise Cup for the first yacht home in IRC 1-4.
Corentin Lognone on Nutmeg Solidaire en Peloton won the Duncan Munro Kerr Memorial Trophy for the top boat with a skipper aged 18-30 while Lann Ael 2's Fred Duthil claimed the Alf Loomis Trophy for the navigator on the overall IRC winning boat.

Martin Westcott's Equinoccio won the Coates Scholfield Trophy for the yacht having sailed the furthest to participate.

While Equinoccio had come from Chile, another of the most travelled yachts competing this year was Triple Lindy of American Joseph Mele. Mele and his crew are regulars in the Newport Bermuda Race on their Swan 44 Mk2 and it was while on the weather rail one night in that event that they schemed the plan for the 'Triple Lindy World Tour', taking in the world's top 600 mile offshore races. Last December they participated in the Rolex Sydney Hobart before shipping the boat to Europe for the Rolex Fastnet Race. Next up is the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

'We were very pleased with how the race went,' said Mele. 'It was amazingly challenging from a navigational point of view. It is so incredibly dramatic when you approach and round Fastnet Rock. It was such a special moment.'

Mele said he enjoyed the competition with boats such as the 40 Love, Kerageous, Winsome and Kialoa II - mostly all heavy displacement boats, which relished the fresh upwind conditions to the Fastnet Rock as much as they did.

Another Swan that lapped up the uphill beating of the first three days to the rock was Richard Loftus' 65, Desperado. She was racing this year with the half her crew from Team Israel (which competed in last year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup) alongside other luminaries such as Titch Blatchford and ocean racing legend Paul Standbridge (who first competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1981-2 aboard another Swan 65, Xargo III).

'It was so nice! We saw some of the smaller boats and we were very happy to be on a bigger more comfortable boat,' said Team Israel's Omer Brand of their passage to the Fastnet Rock in winds of up to 30 knots. 'It wasn't the wind so much as the sea state which was very confused.'

Many of the Israeli crew had never raced offshore before and so were benefitting from the tuition of the renowned British sailors on board. Sadly at this was a serious training exercise, some of the Desperado traditions, such as the black tie dinner at the Fastnet Rock, were dispensed with, however the gorilla Joe Powder was ever present on the transom, as Brand put it: 'Watching the crew and making sure we did the job right...'

One of the most intriguing but little known entries in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race was Bogatyr, campaigned by a Russian crew led by Igor Rytov. To say that Rytov is a 'keen yachtsman' would be an understatement. At present he says he races around 200 days a year.

This time on the water has clearly paid off - he is the present leader of the European championship for the highly competitive Melges 20 class. Last year he embarked on an offshore keel boat program too, kicking off in the Mediterranean with the Rolex Middle Sea Race and this summer's Giraglia Rolex Cup before shipping the boat to the UK for the Rolex Fastnet Race. 'It is famous -a 600 mile race, it's amazing,' said Rytov of the British event.
On the strength of Géry Trentesaux's Rolex Fastnet Race overall victory in 2015, Rytov wisely purchased a JPK 10.80 sistership to Courrier Du Leon. Despite being relatively new to offshore racing, Rytov, his match racer tactician Konstantin Besputin and his all-Russian crew managed to bring Bogatyr home sixth overall in IRC Three. For this race Rytov said they had made a good start but would have preferred slightly stronger conditions.

The final boat to finish the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, German Armin Kammer's Samoa 48 Odysseus, is due into Plymouth this afternoon.

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

Congratulations to Didier Gaudoux and the crew of Lann Ael 2, the worthy winners of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race. We very much enjoyed celebrating with them and all the other competitors and winners at our prizegiving party at Plymouth Yacht Haven last night. Thanks to our team of race officers and volunteers, especially the finish and 'Meet and Greet' teams who have worked tirelessly to make the arrival as welcoming as possible for everyone.'

BandG AUS Zeus3 660x82Sail Exchange 660x82 1Giacomo Yacht Sale

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
France claim Fastnet Challenge Cup for third consecutive time
Even the Chinese boat, Dongfeng Race Team, that won Volvo 65 competition had a largely French crew. 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.
Posted on 11 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