Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 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

InSunSport - NZNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Trans-Atlantic record - Comanche very close to finish and new record
The US supermaxi Comanche is fast closing in on the finish of her attempt on two world sailing records. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche is fast closing in on the finish of her attempt on two world sailing records. She is close to Plymouth, England and is expected to finish around 11:00hrs on Thursday July 28,2016, having left New York on Saturday July 23, 2016.
Posted today at 11:09 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea, further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide.
Posted today at 6:09 am
52 Super Series - Double bullet Quantum jump clear
Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos to a lead of four points ahead of Azzurra at the 52 Super Series’ Puerto Portals Sailing Week on the Bay of Palma.
Posted today at 5:19 am
Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Sailing into the big leagues
The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish “It’s the finest event of the offshore racing calendar.” That’s what all the skippers are saying—albeit a little subjectively—following this ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish, with the Multi50s grappling alongside one another all the way
Posted today at 3:51 am
Three tips for any boater facing a powerful summer thunderstorm
Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during summer boating season Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during the summer boating season. A recent incident involving two TowBoatUS Fort Lauderdale captains and their rescue of four kayakers pre-fishing a local tournament offers some lessons learned on how to survive an afternoon storm.
Posted today at 3:27 am
Jim Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen pull ahead at OK Dinghy Worlds
Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon, France, with the shifty, offshore winds mixing up the fleet on more than one occasion and leaving Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) with a clear lead over the rest of the 105 boat fleet. Charlie Cumbley (GBR) drops one to third overall, with just four races left to sail.
Posted today at 2:53 am
Supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, returns to racing in Sydney-Gold Coast Race
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break. The Oatley family’s Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race record holder, the 30-metre long Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break.
Posted today at 2:38 am
52 Super Series- Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Day 3 action shots
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three
Posted on 27 Jul
RS Feva Worlds – Qualification phase is complete at the end of Day 2
Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. PA Consulting and Allen RS Feva Worlds 2016 - Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. A number of boats went into the day in much lower positions than expected for a variety of reasons. Could they make it up?
Posted on 27 Jul
Chile’s Clemente Seguel wins Youth North American Championship
Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races. The wind didn't come in on Tuesday, leaving the results as they were after Monday: Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races.
Posted on 27 Jul