Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Rolex Fastnet Race - Ran across finish line

by Trish Jenkins on 17 Aug 2011
Niklas Zennstrom’s RÀN approaching the finish line - Rolex Fastnet 2011 © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
The 100 foot supermaxi ICAP Leopard (GBR) finished the Rolex Fastnet this morning. The first of the Mini Maxis has arrived in Plymouth this afternoon in the form of 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Rán (GBR).

The Judel Vrolijk 72 campaigned by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström crossed the line off Plymouth at 12:53:44 BST, in an elapsed time of 2 days 3 minutes, and 44 seconds.

'It was a good race in that we had good boat speed all the time,' commented Zennström. 'The worst thing with offshore races is that you sail into an area with no wind and you sit there, but we didn't have that this time. In the places where we thought it would be very light, like the transition around Land's End, we had good pace. But it was tough. Halfway to the Rock, and all the way back there was no visibility, lots of wind and rain - everything was very wet. But if you go fast, that makes up for it. It was great racing and we were doing 20-22 knots of boat speed all the time in big waves. We pushed it pretty hard.'

Rán benefitted from the retirements yesterday of 80-foot Beau Geste (HKG) and 68-foot Alegre (GBR). According to Gavin Brady, Beau Geste was forced to pull out when some cracking developed in her deck and with conditions set to build around the Fastnet Rock and the onset of night, they chose to err on the side of prudence, the boat this afternoon was back in Gosport. 'We were really surprised, because we were doing 15-16 knots of boat speed side-by-side with the VO70s, and everything was business as usual,' said the former America's Cup helmsman. 'If it had been a moderate forecast, we might have tried to fix it. It was disappointing, a tough decision to make, because we were in a good position at that point of the race.'

While they had been putting miles on Alegre behind them, Rán was on Beau Geste's tail when she retired. Navigator Steve Hayles says they would have had a tough time holding on to Beau Geste reaching back from the Rock; however, despite lively conditions with the wind peaking at 30 knots, their luck with the weather could not have been better for their rounding of the Rock. 'We were in a perfect situation where we reached in, and on the beat out to the Pantaenius Buoy the right shift started to come, so we reached both ways - we were very well-placed timing-wise.'

According to Zennström, before the race start the forecast was indicating that this year's Rolex Fastnet Race would not just be a big boat race, but a 'very big' boat race, so they were looking ahead at Beau Geste, ICAP Leopard and Rambler 100, rather than at the smaller boats behind them. With two of these retired, Rán looks to be a strong contender for successfully defending her Rolex Fastnet Race title this year. Navigator Steve Hayles qualified this: 'In reaching races, it could be boats like the canting-keel Cookson 50s, but they have too much to do, so it might be a whole different size of boat. But to be honest, the forecast shuts down from now. At the moment it certainly looks good for us, particularly against the next boats in.'

After the Volvo Open 70s arrival early this morning, later there was an equally close finish between the first three IMOCA Open 60s. This contest for the boats best known for being sailed singlehanded around the world in the Vendée Globe, was won by 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou in his orange PRB (FRA). She was less than four minutes ahead of Virbac Paprec 3 (FRA) skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick, two-time winner of the Barcelona World Race, in turn less than two minutes ahead of two-time Velux 5 Oceans solo round-the-world race winner, Bernard Stamm on his Cheminées Poujoulat (SUI).

'It feels good, very good,' commented Riou of his win, his second having previously been first home in the IMOCA 60 class in 2007. 'We are glad to have had a good result, especially as there was a lot of contact between the boats for the whole duration of the race.
'Passing the Fastnet Rock itself was special because it was very windy and grey, and then suddenly the Fastnet just appeared out of the fog as we were going past with 30 knots of wind - it was rather lovely.'

Frenchman Marc Guillemot, who finished fourth aboard Safran (FRA), summed up why the Rolex Fastnet Race was special. 'It is a very nice course to go to the Fastnet and to come back because there is a lot of variation in the conditions and the sea and also there are three or four of the best IMOCA boats here, so it is always interesting to race against them.'

While Safran finished 45 minutes after PRB, they had been level at Bishop Rock. Guillemot admitted that they had had subsequently chosen the wrong sail to get them to the Lizard, allowing the others to get ahead.

Virbac-Paprec 3 had been leading at the Scilly Isles but did well to come home second after they had broken their starboard primary winch, causing them a few complications in the cockpit. 'It was pretty close and interesting too with sometimes quite a lot of wind or little wind, shifty - it was a nice race,' said Dick. 'It was complicated with the current, but this is the nice part. It is more like the Tour de France a la Voile. It is a nice race, so I am happy to have done it.'

The next boats set to finish in Class Zero are the STP65 Vanquish (USA), while the Swiss TP52 Near Miss late this afternoon was off the Scilly Isles. But based on times taken at the Fastnet Rock, Ràn remains ahead on corrected time. In IRC 1, the Swan 62 Uxorious IV (GBR) leads under IRC, while of the eight boats to have rounded in IRC 2, the A40 Vitaris Response (FRA) was in front.

With an area of high pressure encroaching over the Celtic Sea, the wind is forecast to continue veering into the north and then northeast tonight and lightening over the next 24 hours, with, in stark contrast to what the frontrunners experienced, precious little wind at the Fastnet Rock tomorrow afternoon.

As of 1900 BST, 13 boats have finished the race; approximately 273 were still racing, and 28 have retired.

Results: here
Rolex Fastnet website
North Technology - Southern SparsAncasta Ker 33 660x82Helm Events 660x82

Related Articles

Good start to Sailing World Cup Melbourne for Aussies
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won the first race in convincing style and finished the second race of the day in second place The Aussie duo of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won their first race in convincing style, and finished the second race of the day in second place. They are currently in first place overall, two points ahead of the Japanese pairing of Takayama and Imamura.
Posted today at 12:23 pm
RNZYS Performance Programme ready to challenge on Sydney Harbour
The team will be led by Kiwi Chris Steele, who brings experience as a two-time New Zealand Match Racing champion. The team will be led by Kiwi Chris Steele, who brings experience as a two-time New Zealand Match Racing champion, as well as GC32 expertise.
Posted today at 11:51 am
Sailing World Cup Final– Chat with two coaches and a media boat driver
Enjoy the action from two very different, but both successful coaches here at the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne. Enjoy the action from two very different, but both successful coaches here at the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne.
Posted today at 11:27 am
Vendee Globe - Rescue operation underway in Southern Ocean gale
Vendée Globe Race Directors were alerted by Kito de Pavant’s technical team about serious damage aboard his boat Bastide At 0800 UTC this morning (Tuesday), the Vendée Globe Race Directors were alerted by Kito de Pavant’s technical team about serious damage aboard his boat Bastide Otio. Kito de Pavant, who was sailing at 16 knots under mainsail with two reefs in very heavy seas
Posted today at 11:18 am
No separating leading sailors at Sailing World Cup Final
Stipanovic and Kontides took a race win and a third apiece and Wearn was consistent with a pair of twos. Stipanovic and Kontides took a race win and a third apiece and Wearn was consistent with a pair of twos.
Posted today at 11:06 am
Vendee Globe - Cape to Cape
Alex Thomson has recovered some 19 miles against race leader Armel Le Cleac'h since the 1400hrs TU ranking Alex Thomson has recovered some 19 miles against race leader Armel Le Cleac'h since the 1400hrs TU ranking this afternoon and as the duo spear eastwards on port gybe in a strengthening NW'ly wind, the British skipper is slightly quicker.
Posted today at 5:36 am
Sailing World Cup Final - Future rock stars and a special graduation
Awesome to be on the ground for the Sailing World Cup Final in Melbourne, final for World Sailing's World Cup this year! Awesome to be on the ground for the Sailing World Cup Final in Melbourne, the final for World Sailing's World Cup this year!
Posted today at 5:02 am
A Q&A with Olympic champ Malcolm Page about his new job at US Sailing
I recently talked with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s newly hired Chief of Olympic Sailing, to learn more about his new job. Malcolm Page (AUS; 44) is a hyper-talented Men’s 470 sailor who won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) sailing with two different skippers, as well as seven World Championship titles, and who has long studied under the legendary Ukrainian coach Victor Kovalenko. I recently talked with Page, who was just hired as US Sailing’s new Chief of Olympic Sailing, to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 5 Dec
Vendée Globe– Leeuwin record for Armel, damage for Josse and Attanasio
The French skipper Sébastien Josse suffered serious damage to the port side foil of the IMOCA Edmond de Rothschild The French skipper Sébastien Josse suffered serious damage to the port side foil of the IMOCA Edmond de Rothschild when he ploughed into the trough of a big wave this morning. He had been sailing on starboard gybe contending with difficult conditions, winds of 30-35kts and big, confused seas when the incident happened, some 900 miles to the SW of Cape Leeuwin
Posted on 5 Dec
Vendée Globe – Damage aboard Edmond de Rothschild
Sébastien contacted his shore team to inform that he had suffered major damage to the port foil on Edmond de Rothschild. At 0930 UTC this morning (Monday), while he was sailing 600 miles west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, Sébastien Josse contacted his shore team to inform them that he had suffered major damage to the port foil on Edmond de Rothschild.
Posted on 5 Dec