Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Rolex Fastnet Race - French boats hold the upper hand

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 12 Aug 2013
Maxi 80 Prince de Bretagne © Marcel Mochet
Despite having been upwind since the start, the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet has been making excellent progress down the south coast of the UK since yesterday's start.

There have been no retirements overnight, and to date, just four boats from 335 starters have officially dropped out. The most dramatic was the grounding of the brand new Cayman Islands-registered Botin 65, Caro, which went hard onto Salt Mead Ledge at the top of the tide yesterday afternoon. She has since been pulled off but has been forced to retire back to Endeavour Quay in Gosport.

The Clipper 68, New York, retired after suffering a fire on board and didn't make the start. The Farr 52, Toe in the Water, withdrew yesterday afternoon when a winch pulled out of her deck. The Royal Navy Nicholson 55, Dasher, is also out after another boat collided with her.

At 0130 BST this morning, Sidney Gavignet's crew on board the Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 trimaran led the substantially larger Armel le Cleac'h-skippered Banque Populaire past Land's End, hugging the shore this morning. Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's even larger 40m long Spindrift two chose a different route to the west, only tacking north once they were south of the Scilly Isles. The lead trio remains close with the Omani MOD70 a nose ahead.

'The sea is quite choppy so it is not easy,' said Dona Bertarelli. 'It makes for a lot of work on the deck for the team to trim the sails and to keep up a good speed in these short waves. During the night we had less wind near the Scilly Isles, which has been really bad for the speed of Spindrift two. So our friends on the other multihulls have gained ground on us and now a new fight begins to reach the Fastnet in first position.'

Mike Slade's Farr 100, ICAP Leopard, continues to hang on to the coat tails of the monohull front runner, the Gazprom-backed European maxi, Esimit Europa two. Both are passing west of the traffic separate scheme (TSS) at Longships off Land's End, with Leopard just four miles astern of her rival. But on handicap it is the Baltic 78, Lupa of London, that leads IRC Canting Keel.

Six miles behind Leopard, and approaching the TSS, is Team SCA, which, in the on-going Volvo Open 70 match race, overtook Ian Walker's team on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing off Start Point at 2300 BST last night.

'We had a park up at Start Point which turned our race inside out,' Walker reported. 'We had tide against and we went off wider, hoping to carry some wind round, worried about getting stuck under the cliffs. Unfortunately everyone else just sent it right in under the cliffs and ghosted through while we got stuck. We lost about five-six miles to the girls and to some of the Open 60s and Bella Mente. We made a few gains back and then had a big fish on the rudder. That took about 20 minutes to clear off the port rudder. Other than that it is going alright.'

Walker reported that off the TSS they currently have 16 knots from the north-west (although they had seen as much as 20 knots) and they had just decided to follow the leaders up the western end of the TSS.


A similar match race is going on just between the 72ft Judel Vrolijk Mini Maxis. 3.5 miles behind the Abu Dhabi VO70 and having just passed the longitude of Land's End, American Hap Fauth's Bella Mente is just over three miles ahead of her older rival, Niklas Zennstrom's Rán two, the Rolex Fastnet Race defending champion. The bulk of IRC Zero is due south of the Lizard, including the IRC Zero leader on handicap, the Russian team on the Swan 60, Bronenosec, skippered by Vladimir Liubomirov.

After passing Portland Bill yesterday evening, the IRC Zero fleet, en masse, dug into Lyme Bay, but since passing Start Point has pushed south of the rhumb line to the Lizard.

One of the most impressive performances in the race continues to be that of Vendée Globe winners François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux, who are leading the IMOCA 60 class aboard the former's MACIF. Despite being 12ft shorter and being sailed doublehanded, MACIF is lying between the Mini Maxis on the water.

Behind, once again French boats are dominating all of the remaining classes on handicap. Overall IRC leader at present is François Lognone's J/122, Nutmeg IV, also front runner in IRC Two. She is shortly to pass the Lizard and is right on the coat tails of the IRC One leader, Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau's Grand Soleil 43, Codiam, second overall under IRC. Both boats are past competitors in French teams contesting the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. The bulk of IRC One and Two is at present due south of Plymouth.

The IRC One boats were forced to shave Portland Bill last night to keep out of the worst of the tide with Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, continuing to lead the charge on the water, passing Start Point at around 0230 BST.

Jean Jacques Godet's J/120, Rhapsodie V, is ahead in IRC 3, close to the rhumb line between Start Point and the Lizard, while around five miles behind on the water, Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew, is leading IRC Fastnet website

InSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72

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