sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Rolex Fastnet Race - The international challenge
Rolex Fastnet Race - The international challenge


'TONNERRE DE BRESKENS 3 (NED) - 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race'    © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo

In the Rolex Fastnet Race, more than twenty different nations from four continents are represented. Around 40% of fleet and half the sailors are non-British. The biennial event, one of the world’s great ocean races and sponsored by Rolex since 2001, is globally revered and recognised.

From the United States to Russia, the United Arab Emirates to Australia, the fleet reflects the continued international reach of the sport of offshore yacht racing pitting together the finest professional sailors and passionate Corinthians. From young Omani female sailor Raiya al Habsi, taking on the event for the first time, to 83-year old Dutchman Piet Vroon making the nautical pilgrimage to the Fastnet rock for a 25th time, the allure is irresistible.

The majority of the record-breaking 336 race starters share two common goals: the first naturally enough is to finish this 611-nautical mile test of skill and character. The second is to win the event overall and to claim the coveted Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup and Rolex timepiece.

At the inaugural Fastnet in 1925 – a race inspired by the United States’ classic Newport-Bermuda Race created in 1906 - all seven of the competing yachts flew British flags. A touch of foreign influence was still prevalent: Saladwin was sailed by Ingo Simon, a Spaniard, and the race’s first winner Jolie Brise was constructed in Le Havre, France. A year later the race welcomed its first official overseas entry, the American schooner Primrose. Her participation was announced in the New York Times, a sign of the event’s instant reputation across the Atlantic.

The Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 record breaking fleet passing by The Needles -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

American boats have defined eras in the race. In 1928, Paul Hammond’s Nina was the country’s first winner, causing some controversy for its pursuit of speed and ruthless desire to win in an era where a more gentile sailing was considered ‘appropriate’. American yachts, typically faster and more sophisticated than their British counterparts of the time, dominated the 1930s. Dorade – designed and sailed by Rod and Olin Stephens – claimed victories in 1931 and 1933, Stormy Weather in 1935, Elizabeth McCaw took line honours in 1937. In the 1950s, it was the turn of Carina who secured back-to-back handicap successes in 1955 and 1957. A decade later and Ted Turner came to prominence with his groundbreaking American Eagle, claiming line honours in 1969 and 1971 with a race record to boot. Turner also triumphed with Tenacious in the tragic 1979 race. Only one American boat – Great News – has won the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup since although Nirvana set a race record in 1985.

A clutch of American boats have entered again this year, including the extremely competitive 72-ft Bella Mente, owned by Hap Fauth current Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion. This is Fauth’s first Rolex Fastnet, and he happily concedes he is the ‘senior rookie’ in his crew: 'The Rolex Fastnet is an iconic race noted for very difficult conditions. It’s tactically and strategically challenging. It has very dangerous and frustrating moments. That’s why we are here. It’s extraordinary to put this many boats in a race: from 130-ft down to 30-ft. It’s a great statement by the organizers.'

The 1960s marked a new era of the event and the globalisation extended to Australia whose sailors brought heightened professionalism and dedication. Australian success arrived in the shape of the legendary Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin the winner in 1971, a year marked by the participation of acting British Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The Rolex Fastnet Race fleet fills the water between the Isle of Wight and the mainland -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

The largest overseas contingent comes from France with in excess of 50 boats at this year’s Rolex Fastnet. Back in 1928 L’Oiseau Bleu was the first French-owned vessel to start the race, although it wasn’t until Guerveur appeared in 1929 that a French boat completed the course. In 1965, Baron de Rothschild’s Gitana IV – one of the last heavy yawls to win the race – broke the 26-year race record. The crew were said to change attire each evening for a sit down dinner served to them. Overall French victory eventually arrived two years later under the guise of Pen-Duick III skippered by the legendary Eric Tabarly. Three French winners have followed, most recently the 33-ft Iromiguy in 2005.

François Gabart, this year’s Vendée Globe winner and co-skippering the IMOCA 60 Macif in 2013, is one of the latest generation of top French offshore sailors. 'The Rolex Fastnet is very famous and prestigious in France. Since I was a kid I have thought about competing in this race. For a professional sailor to sail against non-professional sailors is nice, mixing with people who just love sailing. I’m proud to be part of this event.'

No yacht has travelled further to the 2013 Rolex Fastnet than Australian Geoff Boettcher’s 51-ft Secret Men’s Business 3.5 from Adelaide. Given the logistical challenge it has taken to transport his yacht 16,000 miles to the UK, Boettcher is not here to simply make up the numbers. 'As an Australian to come and do a Rolex Fastnet is huge. We’ve done so many Rolex Sydney Hobarts (the world’s other great 600-nautical mile offshore race which Secret Men’s Business 3.5 won in 2010), this is a great add-on to the crew’s career in sailing. We’re looking for a podium finish.' Boettcher is not the only former Australian Rolex Sydney Hobart winner in attendance. Andrew Saies (whose Two True won in 2009) is competing with a largely Australian crew on Two True Tarka.

Southern hemisphere success has not been confined to Australia. New Zealand with Ross Field’s RF Yachting took line honours and a race record in 1999. Neville Crichton won line honours in 2003 with Alfa Romeo and one of the country’s greatest sailors is back this year. 'The Rolex Fastnet is one of the classics of our sport. It’s very tactical, challenging and great competition, all facets that we love. I’ve got wonderful memories of the race,' revealed Mike Sanderson, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2006, tactician on Bella Mente.

South America’s one and only victory arrived courtesy of Saga from Brazil in 1973. The Middle East has confirmed its blossoming emergence in competitive sailing with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by British Olympian Ian Walker, winning line honours and claiming the monohull race record in 2011. This year, Middle Eastern interest is extended with the participation of Oman Air Musandam.

Sweden is another country with a particular affiliation with the Rolex Fastnet. Success first arrived in the 1950s. Circe (1951) and Anna Marina (1959) claimed line honours while Sven Hansen’s Sparkman & Stephens Anitra was overall winner in 1959.

In the late 1990s, Sweden was again a dominant force at the front end of the fleet with the same boat, originally named Nicorette and then Royal Blue, achieving line honours in 1995 and then again in 1997. The link with the event remains strong. Overall winner in 2009 and 2011 the Mini Maxi Rán 2 sails under the British flag with predominantly British crew. Owner Niklas Zennström, however, is a Swede, and Rán 2 carries the initials of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club on its stern. The history of the race has had a marked impact on Zennström. 'You take that trophy (the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup) and you see the plaques with all of the names of the yachts. There is a lot of history there, you see all the names, a lot of classic boats, boats that as a kid you watched and read about it.'

PLEOMAX (SWE) and TEAM HEINER ONE (NED) rounding the Fastnet Rock -  © Rolex- Kurt Arrigo  

Among this myriad of international yachting powers is Ireland, home to the race’s emblematic symbol - the Fastnet Rock. Only one Irish boat – Chieftain in 2007 – has ever won the event. Trying to improve upon that statistic is this year’s 12-strong Emerald Isle contingent including Ker 39 Antix, whose crew includes Anthony O’Leary and his son Peter. 'The Rolex Fastnet is on the bucket list,' explained Peter, who competed at the 2012 Olympics. 'I learnt to sail in Baltimore as a youngster and used to go out and watch the boats going around the Fastnet Rock. I grew up wanting to do the race. My father has done it and my mother did it in ’79. A good few boats will come out in Baltimore to see us pass the Rock although it will be strange disappearing and returning back to England.'

Professional British sailors who have sailed throughout the world still find the draw of the race irresistible. 'The Rolex Fastnet Race is the one of the top offshore races in the world,' revealed Sam Davies, navigator on Volvo 70 Team SCA, a predominantly female crew. 'I remember when I was young watching all the boats prepare for the Fastnet Race thinking there is no way I could ever sail 600 miles! For me just sailing the Channel was a long way. Now I am here doing my fifth Rolex Fastnet Race and really looking forward to it. I love sailing along the British coast. It’s beautiful and there are lots of tactical and navigational challenges.'

The international attraction of the race is unquestionable. The race organizers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and in particular its CEO, Eddie Warden Owen who has seven races under his belt are quick to recognize the status the race has achieved and its widespread popularity. 'It’s the people’s Everest of the ocean,' says Warden Owen. 'It’s a tough challenge but one people enjoy.' A view plainly echoed by the some 3,000 sailors drawn to the contest every two years and the intrepid yachtsmen who have gone before.

SPINDRIFT 2 rounds the Fastnet Rock at 14.03 BST on Monday afternoon -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster  

VANUDEN (ITA) sailing with dolphins - 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster  

OMAN AIR MUSADAM flies two hulls on approach to the Fastnet Rock -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster  

The Rolex Fastnet Race is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and sponsored by Rolex since 2001.

RORC website
Fastnet website


by KPMS

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=113251

5:31 PM Thu 15 Aug 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

16 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - Figaro line honours for Curwen and Dalin
16 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race Village bursts into life
15 Aug 2013  Rolex fastnet Race - McConaghy Boats Line honours and IRC Success
15 Aug 2013  2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Father and son win
15 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - Close finish for IMOCA 60 leaders
15 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - A glittering collection of victories
15 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race village opens
15 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - Emotional moment for the all-Irish crew
14 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - Gabart, Macif claim IMOCA 60 line honours
14 Aug 2013  Rolex Fastnet Race - Class Zero line honours to Bella Mente
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Barcelona World Race 2014/2015 - Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm were left with a bitter memory of their slog up the South Atlantic in the last Vendée Globe. To make the equator, they had to contend with northerly winds and breaking seas… However, for this third edition of the Barcelona World Race it seems that luck has been on their side. ... [more]  

For years the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has pulled out all the stops when it comes to on the water racing, and on shore parties, which is what has made the event the success that it is ... [more]  

Oman is the most successful nation in the nine-year history of the Extreme Sailing Series™ and with less than a week to go before Act 2 of the 2015 global tour in Muscat 11 – 14 March, the spotlight is inevitably on the home teams The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air. ... [more]  

Superb sailing conditions once again characterized the second day of racing at the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2015. The event, organized by longstanding partners Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Nautor's Swan and Rolex, is underway at the yacht club's Caribbean base in Virgin Gorda through Saturday 7th March and sees 21 Swan yachts participating. ... [more]  

Studio Borlenghi provide some of these stunning shots from Day 2 of 2015 Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. ... [more]  

After a spell last night and today during which almost all of the Barcelona World Race fleet were in light or moderate winds, in the Atlantic and the Pacific, it looks more like Transition Time is ringing for many. ... [more]  

Stuart Alexander, one of the world's leading yachting correspondents has been in New Zealand for the past few months, and provided the following perspective on Emirates Team New Zealand's latest media flogging, ahead of the finish of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race – Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam passed under 5,000 miles to the Barcelona World Race finish line and also crossed over their own outbound track. ... [more]  

Reflecting on his team’s performance on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright said the youngest crew in the race had sailed its best leg to date. 'It was our most complete leg so far. But like all these legs it had its ups and downs,' said the 30-year-old Enright. ... [more]  

It’s hot, hot, hot in Miami for the third day of Star racing in the 88th Bacardi Cup and it is the last day the Stars will be alone on the bay, as tomorrow the remaining classes, J/70, M32, Viper 640 and VX One, will begin racing in the sixth BACARDI Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. ... [more]  

Damian Foxall (IRL), one of the biggest names in offshore sailing, is joining Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) for the forthcoming Leg 5. Caudrelier and Foxall were on the Groupama boat that won the 2011-12 edition. ... [more]  

Marine industry experts from around the world will convene next week in the Volvo Ocean Race Village at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin for the fifth High Performance Yacht Design conference. The three-day technical conference, 9-11 March, is still open for late registrations ... [more]  

If there was any takeaway for competitors in the regatta's first three races, it's that walking away with the title of Farr 40's Midwinters Champion is not going to be an easy feat. ... [more]  

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – The Sint Maarten Yacht Club is buzzing today with race crews arriving to register for the Gill Commodore's Cup. Over 2000 sailors are expected to take part and many of them have sailed their yachts to St.Maarten from neighbouring islands. ... [more]  

US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) today announced Morgan Reeser (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) as the 2014 US Sailing National Coach of the Year, and Todd Fedyszyn (St. Petersburg, Fla.) as the 2014 US Sailing Development Coach of the Year. ... [more]  

The competition for the 2015 Delta Lloyd Regatta looks promising. Especially the registrations for Laser and Laser Radial are well under way. International top sailors like Marit Bouwmeester (Laser Radial) and Bundock & Curtis (Nacra17) are up to the challenge in Medemblik from 24 - 30 May 2015. Races will start from 26 May onwards. ... [more]  

The 21 Swan yachts competing in the second edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean could not have asked for a more perfect start to the event's four scheduled days of racing in Virgin Gorda. After a rip-roaring race around the island accompanied by 20 to 22 knots of breeze and some serious waves, Swan 80 Selene was the victor in Class A (18.29m and above) while Swan 53 Music led yachts in Class B ... [more]  

Studio Borlenghi provide some of these stunning shots from Day 1 of 2015 Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. ... [more]  

It can be the most frustrating stage of non-stop round the world racing. After completing the difficult, stressful four or five weeks in the big south, there is an almost inbuilt expectation that, by comparison, after rounding Cape Horn and passing the Falklands milestong, racing up the Atlantic life should be a bowl of cherries. ... [more]  

2015 EFG Winter Cup - Miami is known as the gateway to Latin America. For Viper sailors, it may also be the jumping off point for points east. If you hailed from an island in the Atlantic Ocean, you probably did well at the Winter Cup. ... [more]  

EFG Bank Pan American Championship 2015 - Things are about to get hot in the Viper 640 class, with two Miami regattas in Miami this week, culminating in the EFG Bank Viper 640 Pan-American Championship held during BACARDI Miami Sailing Week, one of the Class’s major championships. ... [more]  

2015 RYC Midwinters overall by Luis Kitchen, San Francisco Bay
For the third year in a row Jonathan Weston aka Hot Donutz wins the RYC Midwinters in a competitive four day series. ... [more]  

2015 Squirrel Bank Regatta - Overall report by Andy Kopetzky, Southern California
Short close chop, hobby-horsing to weather and donning layers of foul weather gear was the order of the day at Del Rey Yacht Club's annual Squirrel Bank Regatta. ... [more]  

Without cutting edge design and engineering, no one wins the America's Cup. In pursuit of their goal, the British team has developed their own sophisticated 3D sailing simulator, modelled on those used by the world of motorsport. ... [more]  

OTUSA AC45 Turbo workout images by pressure-drop.us ... [more]  

Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean – A fleet of 21 Swan yachts, comprising an array of different models from seven different countries and territories will contest an eagerly anticipated week of action in the Virgin Gorda archipelago, the British Virgin Islands tomorrow, Wednesday 4 March. ... [more]  

Heineken Regatta 2015 – Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo^3 has just finished a swift delivery from Antigua to the island of St Maarten ... [more]  

Photographer Tim Wright captured some of these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 and along the course at St Barths, Barbuda and Redonda. ... [more]  

Gill Commodore's Cup - Entries on the increase by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
The Gill Commodore's Cup consists of one day of racing as a stand alone event, immediately prior to the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta and is open to all boat categories taking part in the main event (excluding the Lottery Class). This year there is a record entry with over 70 yachts expected to be taking part. Several tight windward leeward races are planned for the fast performance yachts ... [more]  

After the Volvo Ocean Race finished on Saturday night, Sail-World.com's NZ editor, Richard Gladwell caught up with Ryan Houston from Team Alvimedica. He talks about wanting to sail on a Kiwi boat in the next race - how this race compares with the others in which he has sailed - how small gains seem to be paying well - the vexed issue of AIS on tactics, and more ... [more]  

After the Volvo Ocean Race finished on Saturday night, Sail-World.com's NZ editor, Richard Gladwell caught up with Dave Swete from Team Alvimedica. A product of the RNZYS Youth Program, Swete is on his second Volvo Ocean Race. He touches on the differences between the two programs, the impact that AIS is having on the racing and plenty more ... [more]  

Sail-World.com's New Zealand Editor caught up with Race Director, Jack Lloyd on the floor of the sail-loft in the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard. In this 15 minute interview, Lloyd gives his view of the progress made as a result of adopting the Volvo 65 One Design ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Image gallery - Tour of the Boatyard by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com NZL
Yesterday Volvo Ocean Race threw open the barriers and let the media have an inside view of the Boatyard at the Viaduct Events Centre The area is open to the public (stay behind the safety barriers) where you can see the boats on the hard, and look inside the Events Centre which has been converted into a massive sail and rigging loft. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Artemis Racing burns up the Bay + Video
Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Ready to welcome the Olympic Sailing
RC44 Championship - New faces and seasoned pros ready to lead
2015 US Grand Slam Series - Requests for Invitation being accepted
Bacardi Miami Sailing Week - Day 1 + Video
Maintain the urgency - Reinstating paralympic sailing in Tokyo 2020
Volvo Ocean Race Village: Have a look around without leaving your seat
2015 WWA Malibu Pro Card Qualifier – Registration open
Doyle Sails and NZ Rigging supply package for new Sydney based Shaw 11
Barcelona World Race - Easier miles at the front
2015 North American Hobie 16 to be held at Pensacola Yacht Club
2015 Hobie Mid-Winter East North America
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Brunel faced big challenges – Recap Leg 4
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 – 66 best yachts and 600 mile thrilling race
ACWS Portsmouth ticket launch – Watch top sailors battling it out
E.E. Manning Regatta – NHYC kids hold it together in restless weather
2015 California Dreamin’ Series-Long Beach Stop – A close fight
Delivery of Phaedo3 MOD 70
Premiere Racing stepping aside after their 21st Key West Race Week
Sol having Serious Fun at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Barcelona World Race – 60 Days at Sea– Atlantic opens up for the fleet   
Volvo Ocean Race: Images from Auckland - Media Conference and more   
Volvo Ocean Race: Iker Martinez returns to Mapfre as skipper   
Miami Sailing Week – Bacardi Cup preview   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 4 finishes at night after a tense day *Feature   
Farr 40 International Circuit - Plenty team hungry for more   
Coast Guard continues search for San Diego sailor   
Sonar Class has a new builder for Sonar   
Rio officials probe source of fish die-off in Olympic waters   
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - An island-wide effort   
Volvo Ocean Race: Images ashore after Leg 4   
Volvo Ocean Race: Images from the finish of Leg 4   
Volvo Ocean Race-Brasileiro ajuda barco espanhol a vencer quarta etapa   
RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show - a British tradition   
Eight minutes between Podium players as Spanish win VOR leg 4   
Volvo Ocean Race - Leg 4 - fleet arrives in Auckland and the winner is   
Volvo Ocean Race - Leg 4 - the fleet approaches Auckland   
Volvo Ocean Race - Less than 10 miles to Auckland finish   
2015 RORC Caribbean 600 - Third time lucky for happy Hap   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 4 Finish - Auckland - Live Video and Updates   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT