Rolex Fastnet Race - The Class40 fleet crossed the start line of the 600-mile race at 11.20 on Sunday 14th August 2011.
Over Monday night, the 17 remaining Class40’s crossed the Celtic Sea with reports of 25 knot windspeeds and gusts up to 30 knots with a challenging sea state. By the halfway point of the 150 mile leg from Land’s End to Fastnet Rock at 22:30 BST, the two BT Boats Kiwi 40FC’s were still holding the lead with the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) team of Michel Kleinjans, David Thomson, Ian Wittevrongel with fourth crewmember, Clive Lonsdale, on Roaring Forty 2 keeping four miles ahead of Francesco Piva and his Italian team on Peraspera.
While Kleinjans and his team had taken a more northerly option to the rock, Piva opted for a southerly approach and led a tight pack of five boats with 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race Class40 winner, Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives – Alex Olivier; GOR team Ross and Campbell Field and crew on BSL; Matthias Mueller von Blumencron with Red and the double-handed British team of Ned-Collier Wakefield and Jonny Malbon on Concise 2 spread over just seven miles.
With the wind shifting from south-west to westerly, the southern group may well have benefited with a faster approach to Fastnet, but Roaring Forty 2 led the front pack around the rock and the Pantaenius buoy with a four-mile lead over Initiatives – Alex Olivier at 07:00BST on Tuesday morning and Red, BSL, Peraspera and Concise 2 crowding round the mark four miles behind De Lamotte (it is possible that Marc Lepsequeux and Marie Toit – Caen La Mar are in the lead pack as the yacht’s tracker is polling erratically).
As Kleinjans set off downhill on starboard gybe with De Lamotte one mile astern and both boats hitting just over 11 knots, the second wave were beating towards Fastnet Rock with Catherine Pourre and crew on Eärwen hitching north, heading close inshore to Sherkin Island and Clear Island to lay the rock on starboard tack and Bermuda’s Richard Crossley on the 2006 Rolland Design Les Conquerants de Normandie in 16th place on a long port tack towards Galley Head approximately 40 miles north-east of Fastnet. At 10:00 BST, Adriaan van Oord rounded the rock in seventh place with Moonpalace, fractionally ahead of Axel Strauss and Tzu Hang with Eärwen rounding in ninth place.
Meanwhile, further down the track to Land’s End, Kleinjans and Roaring Forty 2 broke east on port gybe mid-morning as the pursuing pack stayed on starboard with the Belgian-British team just two miles ahead of Initiatives – Alex Olivier in second after 48 hours of racing and a spread of only eight miles in the front five boats with Ross and Campbell Field in third with BSL; Piva and Peraspera in fourth and Von Blumencron in fifth with Red and 200 miles of the race remaining.
Follow the Rolex Fastnet Race Class40’s via the event’s tracker
. Global Ocean Race website