sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Rolex Fastnet Race - A journey awaits

Rolex Fastnet Race - A journey awaits

'RAMBLER and ICAP LEOPARD, sailing around the Fastnet Rock in 2007'    © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

The Rolex Fastnet Race 2011's first starting gun will sound at 11:00 BST on August 14th from Cowes, Isle of Wight. Over three hundred vessels will be competing in this edition of the race.

'The name of this great game is ocean racing, and it is also known as the king of sports.' So proclaimed Joseph Weston Martyr, the inspiration behind the creation of the Fastnet Race, supported by Rolex since 2001. Some 86 years after the first race was run, and whilst the evolution of both the event and yacht racing can only be described as immense, Martyr would be proud that his mantra stands as tall today as it did in 1925. Ocean racing remains a sport that emanates challenge, enthusiasm and adventure, as the popularity of this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, which currently stands at a record-setting 318 entries, proves.

Over its deep history, the Rolex Fastnet Race has seen almost everything: horrendous and humbling conditions, record-breaking triumphs, delight and despair and, in the process, the rise of faster, lighter, high-tech yachts. Sailors cut from every cloth: professional, Corinthian, celebrity and royal have been drawn to the challenge.

The start signal for first class in the 2011 edition will sound at 11.00 BST on Sunday 14 August. As the fleet head out to sea and with the current weather forecast uncertain, the crews, from all corners of the globe, will be sure of one thing only: a journey awaits.

Rolex Fastnet Race 2011 -  Royal Ocean Racing Club - RORC?nid=87188 ©  
Start from Cowes: The Isle of Wight welcomes an estimated 3,000 sailors for the start of this year's Rolex Fastnet Race.

A figure swelled by the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) proactive and welcome decision not to include the non-IRC fleet of Volvo Open 70s, IMOCA 60s, Class 40s, and Multihulls within the initial entry limit of 300 yachts.

The organisers are understandably delighted with the response to this year's race as RORC Chief Executive Officer Eddie Warden Owen explained in yesterday's pre-event press conference: 'The 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race is not just a record fleet, it is a fantastic quality of fleet from professional high-performance racing yachts to family-owned production yachts raced by Corinthian sailors. The biggest yacht is a 140-ft trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire (FRA) and the smallest is a 30-footer, Brightwork (GBR). It is an amazing array of yachts, quite outstanding.'

The race's start point, the town of Cowes, is often considered the hub of British sailing. Its August sailing competition has run almost every summer since 1826, with Cowes Week providing the perfect opportunity for many Rolex Fastnet entrants to hone their preparations for the 608-nautical mile race.

Fittingly, the most experienced campaigner in this year's fleet happens to hail from Cowes: Ken Newman will compete for an impressive 27th time, sailing onboard his Swan 46 Marinero (GBR). 'Looking back over the years and having competed in innumerable long distance ocean races, for me the Fastnet is the best event in the racing calendar,' explains the 82-year old who was part of Sir Edward Heath's Morning Cloud crew back in 1975.

'It's like four or five races put together, each one requiring difficult tactical decisions to be made,' continues Newman, who first completed the course in 1957. Over the years, this veteran campaigner has witnessed enormous developments in the world of sailing and he believes the event has evolved accordingly: 'The RORC has played an important role in responding to the tremendous changes that have occurred, highlighted by the super fast guys on the big boats. They have ensured that there is competition between all sizes of boats. It could be a big boat race or a small boat race. Everyone has a chance.'

RAN rounding the Fastnet Rock - Rolex Fastnet Race 2011 -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188  

On the other end of the experience spectrum is Charlie Enright, skipper of the Reichel Pugh 65 Vanquish (USA), competing for the first time. The 26-year old American leads a crew of 18, whose average age is a tender 24. 'Our project came to fruition in January, so we are new on the scene,' reveals Enright, 'we've been training together since May and entered a number of competitions including the Transatlantic Race.

BEAU GESTE rounding the Fastnet Rock - Rolex Fastnet Race 2009 -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188  
proved to be light air races. Consequently, we've not seen a lot of heavy air, but we're ready.' The Vanquish team was recruited through the internet with Enright sifting through 350 applications. 'The requirements we were looking for were experience, but also work ethic, compatibility and a varied skilled set,' he concludes.

Reaching Portland Bill: From Cowes, the route takes the fleet through The Solent past The Needles, the iconic rock formation marking the western end of the Isle of Wight, before moving on towards Portland Bill, perhaps the most significant of the many headlands the fleet will pass on the outward leg of the Rolex Fastnet.

In the light conditions of the1925 race, Jolie Brise, the first Fastnet Race winner,took around 28 hours to reach Portland Bill. She than accelerated towards The Manacles, thanks to a splendid easterly. Portland is famed for its tidal gate, a strategic point where crews have to make key tactical decisions. Whilst Jolie Brise's name will be forever etched in the Rolex Fastnet record books, her legacy continues well into 2011. The 45-foot Morwenna (GBR), a direct replica of the Le Havre pilot cutter, is taking part this year for the second time. She has a point to prove; despite the gallant efforts of her crew, she failed to finish the race in 2009.

Stuart Jenkins will skipper Morwenna in 2011, having been part of the crew last time around: 'We aim to beat the time of six days, two hours and forty five minutes - set by Jolie Brise in the first ever Fastnet. I will have a crew of eleven and we will have to work harder than the others as our rig is heavy and we have no winches.'

The iconic Fastnet Rock: Following on from Portland Bill, the fleet will move on past Start Point, the Lizard and Land's End, where the sense of detachment from land will become reality. From here the fleet heads out in the open Celtic Sea, fully exposed to whatever the Atlantic weather systems have in store. The challenge is to reach the Fastnet Rock as quickly as possible and begin the leg back to Plymouth.

The first boat to round the Fastnet Rock could well be on track for the line honours title - though there is still the return trip across a fickle Celtic Sea to navigate. The fastest yacht on the water is set to be the aforementioned Maxi Banque Populaire whilst the battle to be speediest monohull yacht is most likely to be between George David's in-form Ramber 100 (USA) and current line honours and race record holder, ICAP Leopard (GBR), owned and skippered by the charismatic Mike Slade.A rivalry that will be resumed on Sunday.

ICAP Leopard -  ICAP Leopard?nid=87188  

Following an impressive season, David is optimistic: 'We're looking forward to it. The weather forecast suggests that we should have wind for the race. There is disagreement about the direction with different forecast models, but it looks as though we should have some velocity of 12-20 knots, maybe more. It is a wonderful race with great locations.'

David has his own special recollection of the race's iconic turning point: 'I recall the spectacular moment for us in 2007 when we got around the (Fastnet) Rock ahead of ICAP Leopard by three seconds. We squeezed them off and didn't let them inside. It has been a wonderful campaign this year and we think we could have a shot at the record, but we will see how things go. My first concern when racing is that to win, first you have to finish.'

The current race record, set by ICAP Leopard, stands at 44 hours, 18 minutes, achieved in 2007, only the eighth time the record has been broken since 1925.

Ross Field has winning experience at the Rolex Fastnet Race, having set a line honours record in 1999 with the 80-foot maxi RF Yachting (NZL). Record-breaking is not on Field's radar this time around. A more protracted race lies ahead. The New Zealander will be sailing the Class 40 Hupane (NZL), with his son Campbell and is enthusiastic about the challenge: 'I've always been interested in short-handed sailing. We've done about 60 hours on the boat. The race is learning curve against good Class 40 sailors; if we come in the middle of the fleet then we will be happy.' Twenty Class 40 yachts are expected to participate.

For son Campbell the family partnership is a fruitful one: 'It is no different to sailing with anyone else, there are a lot of benefits and we know each other very well. We've done a lot of offshore and inshore sailing together. We are new in the class and we decided to enter this race with a very strong field to see where we are compared to the experienced and successful teams.'

Plymouth awaits finishers: The race's arrival point is Plymouth, one of Britain's most proud and significant naval cities: from its role in the expeditions of Sir Francis Drake to its strategic position during the two World Wars. For some competitors, arriving in Plymouth will be particularly significant. Take Nigel Passmore, campaigning the J133 Apollo 3 (GBR). 'For a Plymouth-based sailor it brings two main feelings,' reveals Passmore, 'first, you have to sail past your home port on the way to the rock, and then second, it is a great feeling when you enter Plymouth Sound with familiar sights and a sense of achievement.'

Passmore completed his debut Rolex Fastnet Race in 2009 at the helm of the TP52 Apollo. This year promises to be somewhat different aboard Apollo 3, as he explained: 'With hot running water, heating, comfortable berths and furling sails, the race will be a far cry from the bare minimum blast on the TP52. Sailing with a crew of just seven will be a good test for us. We are all west-country based and I guess the biggest wish will be to see the Fastnet Rock in all its glory as last time it was shrouded in mist.'

ROSEBUD/TEAM DYT, Roger Sturgeon USA Sail Number: USA60065, Design: STP 65 (2009 Rolex Fastnet Race) -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188  


Another Plymouth yacht is the X-332 X-Rated (GBR). 'Last time we were doing well until we were caught on the wrong side of a shift off the Scillies (Isles) and then were becalmed after rounding the Rock,' explains owner Charles Gurney. 'The crew this time comprises four of the five who did it in 2009 and three others. I am delighted to have Beth Matthews as part of the team. Her inclusion is noteworthy as she is fifteen years old; Beth has become an invaluable member of the crew both helming and trimming the main.'

Prize Giving: The main trophy for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than 30 other trophies that will be awarded at the prize giving on Friday, 19 August at the historic Royal Citadel. The Citadel, home to the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, overlooks Plymouth Sound and Sutton Harbour, where the majority of the fleet will berth.

Rolex Fastnet Race website

RAMBLER and ICAP LEOPARD, the first boats to round the Fastnet Rock 2007 -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster?nid=87188  




Watching the start of the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188  


2009 Rolex Fastnet Race start -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188  


ICAP Leopard takes line honours in 2009 Rolex Fastnet race -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=87188   Click Here to view large photo




by Trish Jenkins

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=87188

6:23 PM Fri 12 Aug 2011 GMT






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

Click for further information on
2011 Rolex Fastnet Race

Related News Stories:

22 Aug 2011  Images of Barley Cove: Rambler100 righting and pumping out
22 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race: Fastnet Race in Four Minutes - Crewcam Video
20 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race lives up to its reputation
20 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet success for McConaghy
20 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Citadel
20 Aug 2011  Rambler crew received safety training at LRSE
19 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race recap from Gryphon Solo 2
19 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race - First double win in 50 years
18 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race: Capsized supermaxi Rambler righted plus Video
18 Aug 2011  Rolex Fastnet Race fleet slows down
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World



2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan






Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island










America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,


Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,


















AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos by American Windsurfing Tour,
















America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia by International Maxi Association,




Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium
IFDS Worlds - Former president presented with ISAF awards medal
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Improvements aplenty in Byte CII fleets
America's Cup: New Zealand loses top coach to Artemis Racing
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Day 9 - Swish on record pace   
2014 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta - Day 3   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 2   
2014 IFDS World Championship: Opening Ceremony images   
Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery   
Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships   
Hamilton Island Race Week: Everywhere there's smiley people   
IFDS World Championships - US Paralympic hopefuls ready for racing   
Sopot Match Race - Poland's Tour debut deemed a triumph   
Vineyard Race celebrates 80th running of the East Coast classic   
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games: Young sailors begin racing on Lake Jinniu   
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Victory for Morgan Noireaux   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day 8: Test of endurance   
Bart's Bash: Over 2300 entered from 588 yacht clubs - Join here   
Halifax ready to welcome the world at 2014 IFDS World Championships   
RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec + Video   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer   
IFDS Worlds - Gary Jobson to attend opening ceremonies   
Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Dalton DeVos crowned champion   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games trailer   


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