Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Rolex Fastnet Race - High profile women join in

by Trish Jenkins on 12 Jul 2013
First 40, Southern Child © Tim Wright / Photoaction.com http://www.photoaction.com
For this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, a key feature will be the number of high profile women taking part, when the world's largest offshore race sets sail from Cowes on Sunday 11th August.

Yet again the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event is breaking new records in terms of the size of its fleet with 372 boats entered at present. The biennial race from Cowes to the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland and back around the Scilly Isles to Plymouth, is now by far the biggest of all the international 600 mile offshore races.


The largest on the start line will be the 40m trimaran Spindrift 2, which as Maxi Banque Populaire in 2011 romped around the course in just 32 hours 48 minutes. As she was finishing most of the fleet had still to round Land's End en route to the Fastnet Rock. Since the last race, the fastest offshore boat in the world, which holds the record for the highest ever 24 hour run (908.2nm or 37.84 knots average) has been sold to the Franco-Swiss Spindrift racing team. Her new co-skippers are Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli, whose brother Ernesto Bertarelli twice won the America's Cup with his Alinghi team.

Spindrift is obviously gunning to beat the existing record of its new trimaran. However even with a good forecast this shouldn't be taken for granted.

'This race is a big challenge for me and for the Spindrift racing team as a whole, not only because of its historical importance, but for several other reasons,' explains Bertarelli, who has spent the last years campaigning the D35 catamaran Ladycat in Switzerland. 'The Rolex Fastnet Race will be my first offshore experience, but it will also be our first race with Spindrift 2. We are competitors and even though we will have had little time to train, to get to know the boat and build a strong sailing team, our objective remains to win.'


Team SCA is competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race as part of the Swedish campaign's rigorous training regime and selection process to mount the Volvo Ocean Race's best ever all-female campaign. As part of their training regime, they typically sail their VO70 training boat - formerly Puma Ocean Racing's mar mostro - with their male coaches on board. For the Fastnet this will comprise multiple Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson, Joca Signorini and Spanish bowman Pepe Ribes. Among the British crew is Vendee Globe skipper Sam Davies and Olympic match racer Annie Lush, two of the five women already selected for the team.

For Davies this will be her fifth Rolex Fastnet Race, having last competed with Sidney Gavignet aboard the IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing in 2009. On board she is navigator although as she points out 'we are all in the watch system, so I will be sailing and navigating.'

Team SCA is at present one of four VO70s competing, up against the Ian Walker-skippered Abu Dhabi, which set a monohull course record in 2011, plus the former Team Russia and the latest entry, Camper, being campaigned by an Australian crew led by TP52 owner Jason van der Slot.

How do Team SCA expect to get on against Abu Dhabi? 'We have done a lot more sailing, but we are missing the Volvo experience still. I'm sure their crew will be made up mostly of people who have done the race before.'


Likely to finish between Team SCA and Spindrift 2 will be another Vendee Globe competitor, Dee Caffari.

For Caffari this will be her seventh Fastnet, her first having been as skipper of the Challenge boat Group 4 in 2001. In 2007, her IMOCA 60 Aviva had to pull out with a ripped mainsail and a very sick quadruple Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent on board, while last year she received her multihull baptism, hitching a ride on Steve Ravussin's MOD70, Race for Water.

'I'd never done the race that quick before in my life, so I am really delighted I'm back on a MOD70,' says Caffari, who this year joins Sidney Gavignet's team on Oman Air-Musandam.

As part of Oman Sail's continued efforts to develop women's sailing in the sultanate, Omani sailor Raya Al Habsi will also be competing on board. She has previously competed in Sailing Arabia-The Tour in 2012 and 2013, and is currently part of the all-female Oman Sail entry at the J/80 Worlds. 'Raya has been with us from the beginning of the girls' offshore sailing,' says Caffari. 'She has been working the bow on the Farr 30 and has been cold, wet and beaten up and still continues to smile, which is a good characteristic to have for a tough environment, which the Fastnet is. This is big deal for Oman Sail and for Arab women in sport.'

As to their prospects this year Oman Air-Musandam will be up against another MOD70 in the Seb Josse-skippered Edmond de Rothschild. Caffari remembers two years ago when they match raced another MOD70 Veolia Environnement for the entire race. 'I am really looking forward to being back in that intensity again.'


Some way behind the grand prix speedsters will be another all-female team led by Lucy Reynolds. While husband Christian Reynolds will be campaigning the Swan 53 Northern Child, Lucy has entered the First 40, Southern Child. 'One of our regular crew asked if I'd be interested in doing an all-female campaign and I went 'why not?' says Lucy of how this came about. The Reynolds run a charter company and the crew of Southern Child is mostly paying guests.

'One of our crew has done the race before and another has done the ARC and various transatlantic and offshore passage, so it is a mixed level of experience, and we have a couple coming in from the States,' says Lucy.

To date they have had a training weekend and competed in the RORC's Morgan Cup and have the St Malo and Channel Races ahead of them to build up their experience and qualification miles.

'It has been very enjoyable, everyone just growing and learning,' explains Lucy for whom this will be her third Rolex Fastnet Race. 'Quite often with female sailors, they do a task and they don't understand why they are doing it. So it has been a really enjoyable process empowering people to do things for themselves and understand why they are doing it.'

At present there are six First 40s competing in IRC 2 and given that two, La Réponse and Lancelot 2 Logic finished just nine seconds apart on corrected time in the RORC's recent Morgan Cup, they can expect some close RORC Fastnet website

Barz Optics - Melanin LensesNaiadAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

New Zealand's influence at JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team become the first NZers to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins become the first New Zealand team in the 79-year history to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? The team came within one point of the 2016 winner, Smeg, and are determined to go that one better this year.
Posted today at 9:18 am
RORC Caribbean 600 - Maserati Multi70 in a fight for lead with Phaedo3
After 24-hours of racing in RORC Caribbean 600 Race Maserati Multi70 trimaran is locked in a fierce struggle for lead After 24-hours of racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race the Maserati Multi70 trimaran skippered by Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini is locked in a fierce struggle for the lead with the race record holder Phaedo3.
Posted today at 5:09 am
3rd line honours in a row for Phaedo^3 in the RORC Caribbean 600
After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in RORC Caribbean 600. After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Posted today at 4:04 am
Phaedo^3 side by side with Maserati South of Guadeloupe
It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. Phaedo^3 has now managed to pull away on the leg up to next mark off Barbuda.
Posted today at 4:01 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman talks about a finish on Friday night
The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/ The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/FRA) is making slow progress towards the finish line at Les Sables dÓlonne on the west coast of France. Although he is showing modest speed on the water his progress is still painful
Posted on 21 Feb
Newport Shipyard prepares for busy season, announces major events
Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north to the famous “City by the Sea” after the America’s Cup in Bermuda this June.
Posted on 21 Feb
50th anniversary year for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. This morning during a press conference held in Milan at the Riccardo Catella Foundation, an association dedicated to the research and promotion of sustainable local development since 2007, the YCCS presented a programme of social and sporting events to mark the occasion.
Posted on 21 Feb
New gunboat class to join race and festivities at BVI Spring Regatta
With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been seriously notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing events under the sun.
Posted on 21 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – Day 2 – More Argyll than Antigua
After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. The low pressure system emanating from the north arrived earlier than anticipated, extinguishing the trade winds to provide a windless night for many competitors.
Posted on 21 Feb
Vendée Globe – Rich Wilson takes thirteenth place
Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for second time. Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, successfully completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for the second time.
Posted on 21 Feb