Please select your home edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Fastnet Race, new Hugo Boss, 470 Worlds and the Pan America Games

by David Schmidt 6 Aug 2019 08:00 PDT August 6, 2019
A massive fleet started the 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

It's fair to say that the eyes of the international sailing world have been riveted to the waters off of Cowes, UK, for the past few days as the 48th edition of the Fastnet Race, the 608 nautical mile offshore contest that's organized by the Royal Offshore Racing Club, in association with the Royal Western Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron, unfurled in fast conditions that saw an impressive new racecourse record set. The 2019 edition was marked by a record-setting fleet of 388 entries, which ran the gamut from fully professional and sponsored teams to Corinthian programs sailed by family and friends, and included everything from tidy monohulls to globe-trotting maxis and behemoth multi-hulls.

While there was plenty of sailing hardware on hand to keep spectators happy, there's little question that most spectators, both in person and online, spent a sizeable percentage of their bandwidth "gawking-off" at the massive "Ultim" trimarans that dominated the show, both in terms of their LOA and beam, but also of course their mind-numbing speeds.

All told, four of these massive sea creatures sailed the course in their fully crewed configurations, with Volvo Ocean Race winning skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, sailing aboard Maxi Edmond De Rothschild nipping line honors off of round-the-world-record-holding skipper Francois Gabart, sailing with his team (which included America's Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill) aboard MACIF, by just 59 seconds. All told, Maxi Edmond De Rothschild sailed the course in 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds, which represents an improvement of 4 hours 45 minutes and 34 seconds over the race's previous multihull record, which was set by skipper Loïck Peyron and his crew aboard Banque Populaire V in 2011.

"I've never experienced a finish like that before... It was incredible!" said Cammas, in an official team press release, upon finishing. We really had to work hard for this one."

Meanwhile, amongst the monohulls, skipper George David and his globetrotting and all-conquering crew aboard the American-flagged maxi Rambler 88 took line honors and also established a new race record for the fastest time from the starting line to Fastnet Rock, beating their previous benchmark reference, which they established in 2011 aboard Rambler 100, by 88 minutes. (N.B., The team's 2011 record doesn't officially count, as they dropped their keel and capsized shortly thereafter, thus not completing the course; fortunately, no one was harmed in this potentially life-threatening accident.)

"We're delighted to have that outcome," said David after finishing his successful race. "It was a contest this year because we had the big hundred-footer Scallywag and they had some, should we say, strong statements ahead of the race about how good they were! And so we were especially motivated to get here 10 or 12 miles ahead of them, which we did. And we were in heavy competition right from the start."

Be sure to stay current with the website as more Fastnet news breaks, and as corrected-time victories are determined.

Meanwhile, also in offshore sailing news, Vendee Globe skipper Alex Thomson wetted his latest Hugo Boss IMOCA Open 60 over the weekend, ahead of the boat's official launch and christening in September. The boat was designed in partnership between the designers at Alex Thomson Racing and VPLP, and features massively streamlined bow sections, hard chine lines, state-of-the-art hydrofoils, and a stern section unlike anything previously seen in the IMOCA world.

"What makes us one of the most exciting teams in this sport is that we display the courage to lead," said Thomson, in an official release, as Hugo Boss's hull first experienced saltwater. "We innovate, we push boundaries and we're not afraid to do things differently. We accept that, in doing so, we might not always be right. But we are certainly not afraid to explore things that have never been done before."

As with all radical new designs, time will tell if the designers at Alex Thomson Racing and VPLP got it right with their radical new design, however no one can ever accuse this team of being static or conservative in their approach to high-performance sailing. And, given Thomson's downright impressive showing in the 2016-2017 Vendee Globe, during which he girdled the bulk of the planet on a single foil while giving the frontrunner (and eventual winner) a strong fight, there are precious few takers lining up to tell Thomson that a boat is too radical.

The Hugo Boss team will spend the next month-plus commissioning and testing the glossy black weapon before her scheduled official launching and christening ceremony takes place in mid-September. Then, Thomson will sail her in October's doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race before matriculating to singlehanded mode for the 2020 season.

And finally, this week also marks two important Olympic class regattas, namely the 2019 Pan American Games Regatta (August 3-9), which is taking place on the waters off of Lima, Peru, and the 2019 470 World Championships, which is taking place on the waters off Enoshima, Japan. Both of these high-level regattas are giving aspiring Olympic sailors a chance to speed check themselves ahead of their rivals, and an opportunity to qualify for next summer's Olympics.

"This is part of the qualifier for the Olympics in 2020, so it is a qualifier but a big part of it is to continue to learn," said Emma Cowes (USA), who, along with her twin sister Carman, is competing against older, more experienced sailors at the in the Women's 470 class at the 470 Worlds. "Walking around the boat park and being around all these World Champions and Olympians is very inspiring and there is a lot we can learn from them, especially watching them on the water. It is basically like having a video session just sitting next to you on the downwind!"

Sail-World wishes all teams competing in the Fastnet Race, the Pan American Games Regatta, and the 470 World Championships the best of luck, boatspeed, and tactical opportunities to make great things happen.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

Related Articles

Chris Clark on the 2020 Bayview Mackinac Race
An interview with Chris Clark on the 2020 Bayview Mackinac Race I checked in with Chris Clark, race chairman of the 2020 Bayview Mackinac Race, via email, to learn more about this exciting freshwater distance race. Posted on 8 Jul
Happy Hour with Mateusz Kusznierewicz
Stretch & Stirfry chat with the Olympic champion and Star Sailors League pioneer Becoming an Olympic Champion at 21yrs old, a brief Polish history lesson, the Star Sailors League and Stirfry's language skills all come under close scrutiny as the lads chat with Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Posted on 7 Jul
Once in a blue moon
Every so often you get lucky, sometimes you get really lucky and sometimes you win the lottery Every so often you get lucky, sometimes you get really lucky and sometimes you win the lottery.'s Australian Editor John Curnow hit the jackpot last week while out with the Australian Sailing Team at Coffs Harbour Yacht Club. Posted on 6 Jul
How to keep girls in our awesome sport?
It's widely known that there's a stark drop out for junior sailors It's widely known that there's a stark drop out for junior sailors as they hit their teens. Sadly, with exams and social pressures being the biggest culprit, this affects girls more than boys. Posted on 6 Jul
Gladwell's Line: Turbulent times for America's Cup
First Challenger arrives in Auckland, as the Defender gets into action on the water and in Court. First Challenger arrives in Auckland, as the Defender gets back into action. Why the Cup must go on, and Emirates Team New Zealand blows the whistle on "informants", and gets an injunction. Posted on 6 Jul
Tim Metcalf on the SDSA's Homeward Bound Flotilla
Tim Metcalf on the Salty Dawg Sailing Association's Homeward Bound Flotilla I checked in with Tim Metcalf, Salty Dawg Sailing Association's communications and tracking coordinator and lead shoreside coordinator, about the group's recent return rally from the Caribbean. Posted on 1 Jul
Wishing that life imitated sailing
The US sailing community is proving that racing can still safely take place The sailing community is proving that racing can still safely take place amidst the coronavirus' scary backdrop, albeit in sometimes reimagined and likely more localized forms. Posted on 30 Jun
An interesting cluster develops
So Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3600 has certainly been a bit of a giant killer, especially short-handed. So Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3600 has certainly been a bit of a giant killer, especially short-handed. Races like the 5500nm Melbourne to Osaka lie as testament to that. Posted on 28 Jun
Happy Hour with Mike 'Moose' Sanderson
All in fluent Kiwanese... This week, the boys catch up with "Moose", talking all things Doyle. Sit back and learn about 'load sharing', The Ocean Race, Cherub sailing and Mari Cha all in fluent Kiwanese... Posted on 26 Jun
Jason Andrews & Shawn Dougherty on the Salish 200
A conversation with Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty on the 2020 Salish 200 I checked in with Shawn Dougherty, co-skipper of the J/125 Hamachi and an organizer of the 2020 Salish 200, via email, to learn more about this exciting distance-sailing “non-race”. Posted on 23 Jun
Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterMarine Resources 2019 - Footer