Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Rolex Fastnet Race - Record fleet for international classic

by info@regattanews.com on 10 Aug 2013
The Fastnet Rock at the Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
At the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, a diverse and quality fleet of international yachts are braced for the event. 347 race starters, hailing from 20 countries, are expected. This represents a race record and confirms the event’s enduring appeal.

The Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes will host the race start on Sunday 11 August. Eight staggered start sequences will take place with the first warning signal at 11:50 local time. A tactically challenging race in excess of 600-nautical miles to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock on the southern tip of Ireland awaits.

During the previous edition of the race in 2011 both the multihull and monohull race records fell. Rivalries at the front end of the fleet appear even more engaging in 2013.

Volvo 70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing representing the United Arab Emirates, is the current monohull race record holder (42 hours, 39 minutes) although skipper Ian Walker concedes that the challenge in 2013 is sterner, both in terms of the opposition and due to the forecast conditions. 'It’s going to be quite tactical,' admitted Walker, 'upwind to the (Fastnet) Rock which is not ideal for us and then potentially lighter after the Rock.'

Two 100-ft Maxis are expected to lead the challenge for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s line honours crown. Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard (GBR) was the fastest boat at both the 2007 and 2009 Rolex Fastnet Races while Igor Sim?i?’s Esimit Europa II (SLO) has cemented its reputation dominating offshore racing in the Mediterranean. The latter will count on the tactical guidance of experienced skipper Jochen Schümann and in the forecast light airs is the pre-race favourite. 'We are here with the sole purpose of winning line honours,' confirmed Schümann, 'although the impressive race record will be very hard to beat.'

In terms of multihull interest the duel between Spindrift II, skippered by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard the race’s largest yacht at 131-ft and race record holder under its former guise as Banque Populaire V and the new Banque Populaire (the ex-Groupama III), promises to be tight. The multihull record in sight is a staggering 32 hours, 48 minutes.

Line honours is only part of the story. Niklas Zennström’s Rán II (GBR) is aiming to become the first boat to win the Fastnet Challenge Cup awarded for overall victory on rating three times in a row. This year she has an additional adversary in American Hap Fauth’s fellow 72-ft Mini Maxi Bella Mente, a frequent foe over the past 12 months. 'The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the iconic classics of our sport,' explained Bella Mente skipper Mike Sanderson, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2006. 'We’re expecting a very tactical upwind beat to the Fastnet Rock. This is going to keep it very interesting and you’ll need to be truly on top of your tactics. We have to beat Rán II on the water but at the same time make sure we don’t sail each other off the course.'

Forecasting an overall winner from the outset is an arduous task. Conditions will dictate the type of race in store. Efficient teamwork and crews’ ability to predict and control the elements are key factors. Proving the race’s democratic nature is the list of recent winners. This includes two Corinthian crews: Frenchman Jean-Yves Chateau’s 33-ft Iromiguy in 2005 and the 50-ft Chieftain from Ireland in 2007.

Iromiguy is one of the former winners to return to the fold. Another is Dutchman Piet Vroon competing for an impressive 25th time. A winner in 2001 with his former boat, Vroon is campaigning his new Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens III. Just surpassing Vroon in terms of Fastnet appearances is 84-year old Ken Newman who this year embarks on the nautical pilgrimage to the Fastnet Rock for the 28th time. The oldest of all participating entries is the yacht that claimed the very first race. Jolie Brise is celebrating her centenary and won the inaugural Rolex Fastnet Race back in 1925 in just under 147 hours.

Travelling from furthest afield is Australian Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Rolex Sydney Hobart winner in 2010. 'To come and do the Rolex Fastnet is huge. We’ve done 16,000 miles across the water to be here. We want to do the race to add to our sailing experience,' explained Boettcher. 'To succeed in offshore racing you really need a good boat which we have, sails included, a crew that can stand up and push for three days in foul weather, and a bit of luck.'

Times have changed, the challenge remains as enticing as ever.

Related Articles

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
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
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
Kilwell - 1Barz Optics - Melanin LensesT Clewring Cruising