Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Rolex Fastnet Race - Majority now in Plymouth

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 16 Aug 2013
Will Sayer (right) and his crew Tim Paull - 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race © RORC / Tom Gruitt
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.

One of the latest arrivals this morning has been the Sigma 33c, Elmarleen, sailed by Will Sayer and Tim Paull. Significantly Sayer won the Two Handed class in the Rolex Fastnet Race two years ago aboard Elmarleen.

He had been hoping to repeat his success this year. Unfortunately conditions conspired against Elmarleen, as Sayer observes: 'We have come in about six hours ahead of last time but this time we haven't done half as well. This year it was neither a big boat nor a little boat race - Class two and three have dominated.'

The smallest, slowest boats in the fleet had to endure a very light first 48 hours. Sayer adds that they were unlucky after passing Portland Bill, when the bulk of the fleet managed to duck into Lyme Bay to get out of the worst of the foul tide, while Elmarleen had remained offshore.

While the Maxis were being becalmed off the Scilly Isles on the way back from the Fastnet Rock, the smaller boats suffered the same fate only with the return journey across the Celtic Sea still ahead of them. Sayer reckons it took them a whole day just to crawl from Land's End to the north of the Scillies. 'We were lolloping around doing 2-3 knots, knowing that everyone else was in better wind ahead - it was very painful.'

Finally the breeze filled in for Elmarleen on Tuesday afternoon. 'It was fantastic to finally get going, but watching our average speed it was horrifying. At one point we were lying 255th and I was hoping to be in the top 5-10.'

Thankfully from here, Sayer believes that they could not have sailed a quicker Rolex Fastnet Race, white sail reaching up to the Rock and back again and finally able to hoist the spinnaker from Bishop Rock on.

For the final run from Bishop Rock into the finish Elmarleen was flying. 'Last night we were surfing at up to 11 knots - two handed in the dark. I am absolutely shattered, even though we got some sleep yesterday during the day knowing that we'd be putting up the big kite once we got to the Lizard.'

Sayer was delighted to hear that the Rolex Fastnet Race overall had been won for the first time ever by a Two Handed crew, in Pascal and Alexis Loisin's Night And Day. 'It's fantastic news for them.'

Two-Handed racing continues to grow in the UK. This year there were 45 boats entered in the doublehanded class, compared to 36 last year, and this excludes the seven doublehanded IMOCA 60s and the nine Figaros.

It appears this is one area where British crews are holding their own. While overall under IRC there are French boats among the top 10 finishers (with Britain and Belgium on one apiece), in the Two Handed class, only four of the top 10 were French, with three British, two Dutch and one Spanish.

Figaro entente cordiale

This year the doublehanded Figaros were competing in their own class. This was won by the Anglo-French pairing of professional French sailor Charlie Dalin and Nikki Curwen, the latter of the Artemis Offshore Academy, enjoying her first proper Figaro race.

'It was really intense, very different from what I am used to - I think 1.8 miles was the furthest we got away from another boat in the class,' enthused Curwen. 'We could see someone the whole way round so we were constantly fighting for it.

'We had a much faster run to the Rock than most of the other boats. Then we had a tight reach in 25-26 knots all the way back from the traffic separation scheme (TSS) off the Scillies, with the big kite up. It was touch and go, edgy, with everything stacked up and pilot on and just played the sails.'

While the Figaro turn-out was relatively small compared to the fleet sizes typically seen during Figaro races in France, there were some key players competing. In addition to the strong turn-out from the Artemis Offshore Academy, the line-up included Xavier Macaire, who finished second in this year's Solitaire du Figaro.

While Macaire and co-skipper Yves Ravot led for the first part of the race, Dalin and Curwen pulled ahead coming into the TSS to the south of the Fastnet Rock. From there on, the two boats match- raced around the remainder of the course with Dalin and Curwen always just a nose in front. They arrived into Plymouth yesterday morning, just 5 minutes 28 seconds ahead of the Artemis Offshore Academy's Ed Hill sailing with Figaro Race Director and former Mini Transat winner, Gilles Chiorri, with Ravot and Macaire third.

Curwen hopes victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race will help her raise the remaining funds to enable her to compete in the Mini Transat in October. In this she intends to follow in the footsteps of her father Simon, although she will have quite a job to keep up with her father's record: Simon Curwen finished second on the 2001 Mini Transat and is the highest ever British Fastnet website

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad/Oracle SupplierT Clewring J-class