Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

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
upffront 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

2017 Marion Bermuda Race offers front row seats for America’s Cup
Enjoy all the post-race fun and activities at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and stay on for your front row seat Enjoy all the post-race fun and activities at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and stay on for your front row seat
Posted today at 6:15 pm
Dodging ducks, savoring summer—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted today at 4:23 pm
Full focus on board Oman Air for Extreme Sailing Series St Petersburg
With a lead on the overall scoreboard following their last gasp win in Hamburg the pressure is on to maintain 100% focus With a five-point lead on the overall scoreboard, following their last gasp win in Hamburg, the pressure is on to maintain 100% focus to make sure they perform to their maximum capabilities right up until the final race in Sydney in December.
Posted today at 12:49 pm
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Hollandia wins 8 Metre World Cup
After nine race series, Netherlands' Hollandia wins it with eight points. The racing took place in a range of conditions After a five day, nine race series, Hollandia of the Netherlands wins it with eight points. The racing took place in a range of conditions and Hollandia managed to win every race.
Posted on 29 Aug
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club takes the NYYC Grandmasters Team Race Trophy again
The yacht club from Darien, Connecticut, still out sailed every other club on the water. Every August the biggest question for the NYYC Grandmasters Team Race Regatta is whether this will be the year that Noroton Yacht Club's winning streak ends. Yet even after the age minimums were raised by five years and the event was expanded to 10 teams and three days to stiffen the competition, the yacht club from Darien, Connecticut, still out sailed every other club on the water.
Posted on 29 Aug
The door’s been flung open – again
Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing gets sexier for Tokyo Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing may get sexier for Tokyo 2020. Yes, the proverbial door has been cast ajar before, often to much fanfare, and not that much has been achieved.
Posted on 28 Aug
Michael Illbruck crowned 2016 Melges 20 World Champion
Although not a simple task, Freides aimed to keep Illbruck behind him, or at minimum out of top nine ranking. Hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino, the World Championship was the most successful to date featuring four days of incredible sportboat racing.
Posted on 28 Aug
Freides defends leadership at Melges 20 World Championship
The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship was a difficult one at best 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino was a difficult one at best, however managed to present some nice new faces at the front of the fleet.
Posted on 28 Aug