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American entries in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race

by RORC Press Office 2 Jul 2019 05:00 PDT 3 August 2019
2018 Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

Connecticut - Former Scaramouche crosses the pond to tag the rock

Hiro Maru, Sparkman and Stephens sloop, Stamford
Built to an original Sparkman and Stephens design, this 1971 Palmer Johnson aluminium racing sloop is a fine vintage racing boat. Formerly known as Scaramouche and raced by Chuck Kirsch to great renown in the 1970s, taking line honours in the Newport - Bermuda Race in 1974. The boat was purchased in 2015 by Hiroshi Nakajima, a Japanese architect based in Stamford, and has been undergoing an extensive refit between 2017-18.

Hiroshi has been sailing for over 50 years across a variety of boats, eventually racing his own from 1998, taking part in eight Newport - Bermuda races. He comments "I have always wanted to race across the Atlantic and participate in the Fastnet as well as other races on this side of the pond. Entering Hiro Maru in the Fastnet Race has been a long-term dream."

Hiro Maru will be racing the feeder Transatlantic Race from Newport, RI, to Cowes in the months before the race. "We expect to do well with a vintage boat against the more modern boats and would hope to place in the top five in class", says Hiroshi of the Fastnet. "It is an adventure and challenge for every sailor, combining both coastal and offshore sailing with so many variables. We are looking forward to sailing past the famous landmarks of the course and sharing these moments with Corinthian friends." 12

Massachusetts - The boat to beat?

Wizard, Volvo 70, Baltimore
Brothers David and Peter Askew must be riding high going into the Fastnet Race, fresh from wins in the RORC Caribbean 600, Chicago Mackinac, Bayview Mackinac and Newport - Bermuda Race, with a class win at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race to boot. "For some of us it is our first time in the race, for others its old hat. What with getting out of the Solent, the tidal gates and navigating all the corners, there are lots of challenges ahead. We'll mostly be looking forward to the onboard bangers and mash!"

Onboard the Volvo 70 is a pro-team with Charlie Enright of Team Vestas on tactics and Britain's Rob Greenhalgh joining the crew. "We're a fun, tight knit group - some family, some Volvo sailors - who like to sail hard and have a good time."

Minnesota - British CEO racing for Gillette children's hospital

Velocity Girl, VQ32, Minneapolis
Designed and built in The Netherlands, Velocity Girl is owned by Richard Lett, a British CEO of LeClair Insurance USA, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His track record is strong in long offshores, competing in VelocIty Girl twice in the Round Britain and Ireland Race as well as in three Fastnets and OSTAR 2013. The yacht was optimized for solo shorthanded sailing and Richard equates her "small, manageable and modest performance" to "a 4x4 rather than a track racer". Racing shorthanded again, he says that it will be his co-skipper's first time in the UK so "I want him to have a great experience". Well the Fastnet is certainly that!

Press contact: Margaret Lett, , or +1 (0) 651 398 1671

New Hampshire - Age no barrier for doublehander from New Hampshire

Kiva, Hinckley Southwestern 51, Newcastle New Hampshire
Aged 69 and 71, Mark Stevens and Hank Halsted are possibly the oldest doublehanded entry ready for the startline. With Mark from New Hampshire and Hank from Rhode Island, the pair have already taken on the Fastnet Race before in 2015 when they finished 17th in class. "We are competitive and are here to win our class as well as for the challenge and to have fun. We have been sailing doublehanded together for more than 20 years and we participate in most Newport to Bermuda or Marion to Bermuda races over that period. We are good sailors and good friends."

New York - Rambler 88 sets its sights on line honours

Rambler 88, Canting Keel sloop, New York
New York based George David is the former chairman and CEO of United Technologies who has since made a name for himself as the owner of the Rambler series of yachts. Rambler 88 is the latest and it has set down some credible results include overall winner of the Voiles de St Barths, line honours winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Middle Sea Race as well as third on the water in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

George's relationship with the Fastnet goes back several years but most remember the dramatic capsize of Rambler 100 at the Fastnet Rock in 2011 during which George and his partner were swept off the upturned hull. Since then they have returned with Rambler 88 taking monohull line honours in 2017. This will be George's fifth time of competing: "Too often we have been bridesmaid, which could be what brings us back along with the great traditions and scenery of this classic race."

Third Time Lucky?

Lucky, Reichel Pugh 72, New York
The new 72ft Lucky was launched in 2018 for American owner Bryon Ehrhart, following in the footsteps of his 63ft Reichel Pugh design and before that the TP52 in which he scored a series of strong results. Hitting the ground running, Lucky took part in a series of maxi events across the Mediterranean including Capri Sailing Week, Rolex Giraglia, Palermo to Monaco and the Maxi Worlds.

This will be this iteration of Lucky's first appearance at the Rolex Fastnet Race but Bryon Ehrhart has done the race twice, in 2009 with the TP52 and in 2015 on the RP63. In the latter, Lucky did not live up the name when the boat strayed too far north on exiting the Needles channel and hit the Shingles bank, forcing the boat to retire within hours of the start. Unsurprisingly Bryon has already stated the start will be the most challenging aspect of the course: "Picking lanes through smaller, slower boats in restricted waters. We'll aim to sail safe, sail hard and sail fast."

The crew will be made up of a mixture of professionals and amateurs, mostly regular crew. Youth will be on their side with nine of the 22 being US sailors under 30.

American team to test themselves against the best

Warrior Won, XP 44, Larchmont, New York
Business owner Christopher Sheehan has been sailing for over 40 years, mostly family cruising in and around the coastal waters of New England but also beyond in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea. He and his 11-strong crew, most from New York, are seasoned offshore sailors. Two are professionals but the rest are amateurs who have been sailing together for years. Among them include two Shields class US National Champions, two are Class40 owner/crew and one is the boat captain for the MOD70, Argo and a two-time Melges 32 US National Champion.

The boat is a proven winner, taking the 2016 St David's Lighthouse Trophy, and is a regular competitor in blue water racing including the Sydney Hobart Race in 2017. They intend to stay in the Mediterranean and compete in the Rolex Middle Sea Race this year after the Fastnet.

"It will be my first Fastnet," says Christopher. "But one crew member has done it three times and another twice. All crew have over 5,000 miles each of offshore racing. We hope to win our class but the primary reason for participating is due to the tremendous 350 strong competitors. Nowhere in the world can you test your skills against so many well-run offshore programmes."

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