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Fastnet report and LVC news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 16 Aug 2013
NIGHT AND DAY (FRA) overall winner 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo
For the first time in its long and storied history, overall victory in the Fastnet Race was earned by a father and son team who raced in the doublehanded division. Pascal and Alexis Loison (FRA) took their overall win aboard 'Night and Day', their JPK 100. According to reports, the duo took just over four days to sail the course in the light-air conditions that proved sticky for plenty of other competing boats.

'Nobody said this was impossible to achieve,' reflected Pascal. 'It’s extraordinary, like a dream. I am very happy to have won this race with my son. There are so many factors required to make it happen. We simply hoped to win the two-handed class. This is superb.'

While the pair wasn’t treated to a great view of the fabled rock due to weather, odds are more than excellent that they’re not loosing sleep over this small meteorological slight, especially given the shiny hardware that they will be bringing home to France. 'Every time we pass the Fastnet it’s foggy,' joked Alexis. 'I’m not sure if it really exists!'

Elsewhere in the fleet, the top IMOCA 60s managed to beat the mini maxis and the Volvo Open 70s across the finishing line, with François Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux, racing aboard Gabart’s 'MACIF', edging-out 'MACIF’s' sistership, 'Maître Coq', by a mere 57 seconds. 'Of course, it is always a pleasure to win,' said Gabart. 'But mostly it's nice to get back to some sailing! Plus, when it is with Michel [Desjoyeaux] it's just perfect.'

Get the full Fastnet report, inside this issue.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Luna Rossa Challenge are both gearing up for the Louis Vuitton Finals, which start this Saturday, and which will determine the team that will meat Oracle Team USA on the starting line of the 34th America’s Cup. While both teams have been sailing well recently, ETNZ enters the Finals as the clear favorite, having steam-rolled Luna Rossa in five straight races during the LVC Round Robin series.

'Our boat is a first-generation [AC72] and the boats aesthetically look similar, but there are quite a few differences,' said Chris Draper, Luna Rossa helmsman, about the differences between his team’s boat and ETNZ’s second-generation design. 'If we had the opportunity to redesign things then there are things we would’ve designed differently, which I imagine are the things they’ve done differently with their second boat. At the same time, there’s not another design package we would’ve chosen to share.'

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ETNZ spent the past few weeks making some tweaks to the boat in the shed, while also giving their sailing team more time to practice and to refine and improve upon their on-the-water performance. 'We set a new top speed record the other day at the end of practice,' said Dean Barker, ETNZ’s skipper and helmsman. 'I can’t say what it is, but almost every day the boat’s going faster and faster and becoming more efficient. There are pretty good smiles coming off the boat.'

More on the LVC Finals, inside, and stay tuned to the website both days this weekend for up-to-date coverage and breaking news, as it unfurls.

And speaking of the Auld Mug, three well-known sailors were recently inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. Lucy Jewett, Noel Robins (1935-2003) and Grant Simmer were admitted into this prestigious 'club' at a black-tie event in San Francisco that was timed to match the LVC racing that’s taking place on the Bay. Get the full report, inside.

Also inside, get the latest news from the ongoing U.S. Youth Sailing Championships, the upcoming J/22 worlds, and the A-Cat North American Championships.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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