Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Rolex Fastnet Race - Record breaking fleet all set

by Trish Jenkins on 25 Jul 2013
Plymouth Yacht Haven will host the Rolex Fastnet Race Village - Rolex Fastnet 2013 Royal Ocean Racing Club - RORC © http://www.rorc.org
For the Rolex Fastnet Race, the biggest and best offshore racing boats from around the world will be descending on the Solent for the start, beginning from Cowes on Sunday, 11th August. At present, the tally for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event, the world's largest offshore yacht race, stands at a record breaking 351. Of these, 47 are in the 'non-IRC classes' including the multihulls, Class 40s and IMOCA 60s, while the remaining 304 are gunning for the overall IRC prizes of the Fastnet Challenge Trophy and a Rolex chronometer.


Impressively, this year one third of the fleet, 119 boats are from overseas. The boat having travelled furthest is Geoff Boettcher's Secret Men's Business 3.5, from Adelaide in South Australia. The 3.5 refers to how the boat's original hull was chopped away from the deck, and somehow replaced with an upgraded design four foot longer, now up to 51ft. This dramatic modification worked, for in 2010 she won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Boettcher admits this will be his first Rolex Fastnet Race, although several of his crew, including Will Best and Andy Mieklejohn are old hands. 'I did the Etchell Worlds there in 1996 and I have been saving up ever since!' he quips of his return to the UK.

Secret Men's Business 3.5 rates well under IRC and is expected to be a strong contender for the overall IRC prize. Boettcher says she is more 'offshore orientated' than the TP52s she regularly races against. As to how the Fastnet Race stacks up against the Rolex Sydney-Hobart, he hedges: 'I'm sure it won't be a walk in the park. I've heard mixed reactions... I gather it is 20 miles shorter.'

Also gunning for Rolex Fastnet Race honours will be Bella Mente. American Hap Fauth's Mini Maxi is certain to be a thorn in Rán 2's side, as Niklas Zennström's team attempts to become the first to ever win the Rolex Fastnet Race three times in a row: Bella Mente is a newer generation Judel-Vrolijk design and beat Rán 2 to the Mini Maxi World title last year.

Fauth admits that this will be his first Rolex Fastnet Race. 'It has been on my bucket list! It is an iconic race - one of the four majors. We have won the Bermuda race. We hold the record in Transpac. We haven't done Sydney Hobart, but it is a long way to go and quite frankly too expensive for one race. I must be getting cheap in my old age!'

On board Fauth sails with a fully pro crew including Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson, navigator Ian Moore and America's Cup veterans John Cutler and Dee Smith. 'We have spent about six years developing this crew and the chemistry is terrific and a great experience base line and they work very well together. You have to have professionals, because amateurs can't practice with you. I commit about 90 days a year and a large percentage of that is practice. We practice a week before every regatta.'

As to their prospects, Fauth says: 'I know Rán has won the Rolex Fastet Race twice before and has just put a new fin and bulb on to optimise her offshore performance. I have been sailing against Niklas [Zennström] for a long time and have a great relationship with him. We are extremely competitive on the water - the boats rate almost evenly and are equally quick, so it is about tactics and who puts the boat in the right place the fastest. We'll have a great race.'

The Russians are out in force. While some are sailing on Monster Project, the former Team Russia VO70, the most substantial Russian presence will come from the three Gazprom-backed Swan 60s, two set to be sailed by Russian crews.

Vladimir Liubomirov, Commodore of the Yacht Club of Saint-Petersburg Russia and owner of one, is looking forward to the Rolex Fastnet Race: 'This is the first time we will be racing in the Rolex Fastnet Race with the Swan 60 Bronenosec and we are excited to be taking part in such a renowned and popular race.

'The crew now have experience of sailing in these waters thanks to both the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship where we took the winning title. We also have experience of offshore racing in tough conditions, so hopefully we are prepared for all weather types. We are all looking forward to competing in the largest offshore race in the world and meeting our competition.'

Hoping to be back for a return visit to the Rolex Fastnet Race after competing in 2011 is the Lithuanian team on the Volvo Ocean 60, Ambersail. The boat is owned by a collective of around 50 people and has notched up huge mileage.

'We calculated roughly that we have sailed 150-180,000 miles in five years,' says the team's Simonas Steponavicius. This includes the Rolex Sydney Hobart, a transatlantic race, the RORC Caribbean 600, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Sadly last week Ambersail, their 2001 vintage former ASSA ABLOY training boat, dismasted off her homeport of Klaip?da. According to Steponavicius they have located a replacement rig, but their chance of being on the start line is now in the hands of their insurers. Steponavicius says he will be deeply disappointed, if Ambersail can't make it:

'The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of my favourites. It is very challenging tactically and extremely interesting upwind along the coast with all the tidal gates, etc. I enjoy it very much. It is truly one of the classic races, absolutely on a par with the Sydney Hobart. I have been looking forward to doing this race since we finished the last one.'

It is perhaps this widely shared sentiment that attracts such strong international entries back to compete in the world's largest offshore race again and again.
Fastnet Race website

Southern Spars - 100Pantaenius - Fixed ValueFestival of Sails 2017 660x82

Related Articles

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Making an indelible mark
In the Rolex Sydney Hobart, while not the record-setting pace, Wild Oats XI still made her indelible mark. In the Rolex Sydney Hobart, while not the record-setting pace, Wild Oats XI still made her indelible mark in the record books, taking the line honours win. Close reaching up the Derwent River, the 100-footer crossed the finish line off Battery Point in Hobart, at 7:07pm local time (AEDT).
Posted on 29 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Frustrating the front runners
In the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, soft overnight conditions in Bass Strait have frustrated the front runners all night. In the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, soft overnight conditions in Bass Strait have frustrated the front runners all night, especially the heavier Perpetual Loyal, which has watched the lighter, leaner Wild Oats XI gradually inch away from her.
Posted on 28 Dec 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 - An event to remember
Every edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race deserves its own chapter in the event’s proud annals. Every edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race deserves its own chapter in the event’s proud annals so rich are the stories that emanate every time the offshore classic is held. Yet, in its 88 years of existence, few Rolex Fastnet Races have captured the values intrinsic in making the competition an international icon in quite the same way as 2013.
Posted on 22 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 - The wrap-up feature
The Rolex Fastnet Race this year saw the entry list sell out in less than 24 hours. New benchmarks continue to be set in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event this year saw the entry list sell out in less than 24 hours. Its position as the world's largest offshore yacht race was further confirmed when a record-sized fleet of 336 yachts set sail from Cowes on 11th August.
Posted on 21 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 - A fitting finale with a prizegiving
Competitors enjoyed a fitting finale to the Rolex Fastnet Race with the prizegiving. Competitors enjoyed a fitting finale to the Rolex Fastnet Race with the prizegiving for the world's largest offshore yacht race being held on Mountbatten Green.
Posted on 17 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race - Memorable and historic 45th edition concludes
In the Rolex Fastnet Race, there was no shortage of drama throughout a memorable and historic 45th edition. In the Rolex Fastnet Race, there was no shortage of drama throughout a memorable and historic 45th edition. The race concluded today with the final prizegiving fittingly held in glorious sunshine on Mount Batten, overlooking Plymouth.
Posted on 17 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race - Ladies in the spotlight
The Rolex Fastnet Race has had more than its fair share of high profile female sailors this year. The Rolex Fastnet Race has had more than its fair share of high profile female sailors this year. Of course Dona Bertarelli was the first to cross the finish line into Plymouth as the new co-skipper of the world's largest racing trimaran and fastest offshore race boat, the 40m long, Spindrift II. This boat won Rolex Fastnet Race line honours for a second consecutive time.
Posted on 17 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race - Majority now in Plymouth
The majority of the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet has now finished in Plymouth. Of the record breaking-sized fleet of 337 boats that set sail from the Solent last Sunday at the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the majority has now finished in Plymouth. Just 14 boats are still racing with the classic Fife gaff yawl, Duet, bringing up the rear, having only broken the '200 miles-to-go' barrier earlier this morning
Posted on 16 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race - Historic doublehanded, overall winner revealed
In the Rolex Fastnet Race, a JPK 1010 has claimed victory overall and is the first doublehanded crew ever to do so. In the Rolex Fastnet Race, history has been made. Pascal and Alexis Loison’s JPK 1010 Night And Day from France has claimed victory overall and is the first doublehanded crew ever to do so. A remarkable, near unthinkable achievement, which sets a new milestone for the mythical 88-year old race.
Posted on 16 Aug 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race - The international challenge
In the Rolex Fastnet Race, more than twenty different nations from four continents are represented. In the Rolex Fastnet Race, more than twenty different nations from four continents are represented. Around 40% of fleet and half the sailors are non-British. The biennial event, one of the world’s great ocean races and sponsored by Rolex since 2001, is globally revered and recognised.
Posted on 16 Aug 2013