Please select your home edition
Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

Sunrise performs a horizon job as therapy is needed after Scilly Isles 'glass out' in Rolex Fastnet

by James Boyd / RORC 12 Aug 2021 11:03 PDT 8-14 August 2021

Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise has sewn up IRC Two in this 49th Rolex Fastnet Race. The Devonshire team crossed the Cherbourg finish line at 1004 BST this morning. Sunrise's corrected time of 4 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes 4 seconds has given Kneen IRC Two victory by a huge margin. As Sunrise finished, her closest rival was just past the Lizard with more than 120 nautical miles still to sail.

After a hideous outbound beat down the Channel, when they never seemed to be in phase with the tide, Sunrise's first break came after making the last minute call to go up the eastern side of the traffic separation scheme at Land's End with Il Corvo as the majority of the frontrunners chose to go up the TSS's west side.

Rounding the Fastnet Rock on Tuesday mid-evening, Sunrise already had pulled out a 1 hour 12 minute lead under corrected time.

But the key moment of her race came as, while she was forging past the Lizard, the wind utterly switched off for those astern as an area of high pressure rolled over them.

"There was a big ridge chasing us at 10 knots, so we just had to go faster than 10 knots the whole way down there," explained Dave Swete, Sunrise's sole pro sailor. "It never caught us, but it caught the rest of the guys which I think went down to our fighting hard at the start and when we were fighting current for the first half of the race."

A jubilant Kneen shared his take on this: "The key moment was at the Scilly Isles when we were trying to hold on to the original wind to get us safely into the Channel. All of our weather routing said we'd be stuck in the light pressure, and we had chosen the sails that we believed we needed to deal with that."

From there, the crew kept their fingers crossed, while looking over their shoulders. As they arrived in Cherbourg having straight-lined it from the Scilly Isles, their competitors were still on a very different part of the chart.

"We feel very fortunate to have made it here, arriving at a good time for the strong tides just before the finish," said Kneen. "But there really was no relaxing until we actually crossed the finish line. Nothing is ever certain in this game."

Scilly Isles park-up

Meanwhile the rest of IRC Two over the course of the early hours this morning compressed into a tight bunch to the west and south of the Scilly Isles as they parked up, unable to break free of the clutches of the ridge. Their restart only occurred at around 0600 this morning. This afternoon they were well on their way to the western side of the Casquets TSS.

A massive 17 hours off the lead is Scarlet Oyster, Ross Applebey's Lightwave 48, followed by a group that includes the JPK 10.80s Richard Fromentin's JPK 11.80 Leclerc Hennebont/Cocody and Dutchwoman Astrid de Vin's Il Corvo, plus Swede Olof Granander's First 40.7 Embla and Eric Fries' Fastwave 6 from France. Of this group Fastwave 6 was the only one brave enough to attempt to extract themselves from the ridge by sailing south of the TSS to the south of the Scilly Isles with limited success. Based on current progress, this group is expected to finish on Friday morning.

The Scilly Isles parking lot also had a devastating effect on IRC Three. The lead trio coming into it - Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 1080 Raging-bee"; Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle's JPK 1030 Léon, followed by Philippe Girardin's J/120 Hey Jude - rounded the east side of the TSS to the west of the Scilly Isles only to hit the meteological brick wall mid-evening yesterday.

The Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier faired worse rounding the west side of the TSS, landed themselves in the embrace of the high earlier.

Robertson-Bomby lead in IRC Three

The IRC Three race restart has brought some new players into the mix with the British duo of Volvo Ocean Race sailor Henry Bomby and double Olympic gold medallist, turned doublehanded offshore sailor, Shirley Robertson on the Sun Fast 3300 Swell sauntering into the lead on corrected time. Swell also currently holds an 11 miles advantage over the defending champions Léon. Cheekily sneaking ahead of the previous front three is Aileau, the JPK 10.80 of Olivier Burgaud and Sylvain Pontu. Swell was making 9.4 knots but on a course suggesting they may be looking for relief from the Alderney Race south of Alderney this evening.

On board Léon defending champion Alexis Loison will also be wondering what he can do to reclaim the lead of IRC Two-Handed which Swell has taken off him in the overnight reshuffle.

From the Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII he's racing doublehanded with Matt Smith, Nigel de Quervain Colley reported: "Very frustrating park-up to west of the Scillies last night, allowing some boats to gain a 20 mile advantage. Now playing catch-up. We had a fast ride up to the Rock - flew the Fractional Zero and pulled masses against the fleet - up to second in IRC Two-Handed at one point. But that's the thing about yacht racing... we will remember the good bits and bury the bad!"

New faces at the front of IRC Four

A restart has also occurred in IRC Four. Ludovic Menahes and David le Goff on the JPK 10.10 Raphael had been emulating Sunrise and Ino XXX in grafting hard to extend away from the chasing pack, both on the water and under IRC corrected time...until they too hit the brick wall at the Scillies. First Raphael's crew was unable to cover as they rounded the west side of the TSS to the west of the Scillies as the two British boats, Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt on the JPK 10.10 Jangada and Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews on the Sun Fast 3200 Cora, sailed down its east side. However, the Brits found themselves first to be nailed by the ridge as Raphael and the majority of the IRC Four fleet that was behind her were faster to extricate themselves.

Racing doublehanded with Calanach Finlayson on the Sun Fast 3600 Diablo in IRC Three, Nick Martin shared his pain from last night: "I need counselling having sat there for several hours. We did pretty well up to the Rock and were in good shape. The leg back down wasn't ideal - I think we lost the plan a little bit, but generally we did okay. But when we got to the Scillies it just went completely t**s up. We got stuck there with Jangada and Fastrak and Cora and there was nothing we could do about it. All the routing said to go that way, but it didn't account for this wind loss and the tide was building and it was like a washing machine."

Martin said they didn't kedge as it was too deep and they were doublehanded and eventually they tried to get back to the west side of the TSS. "We did that successfully in the end, but it took hours and all the time all we could see on the tracker was the rest of the fleet going by from the bottom of the TSS, like a motorway - all the boats we had left behind hours and days ago were back. That was galling." ? Having fallen so far behind, Martin said that this afternoon they were trying "something different" and have taken a small flier north towards the Lizard in an attempt to reclaim some ground. "The routing saying this is the quickest way to Cherbourg but there are no other boats around. We'll see if it pays off."

At midday the IRC Four leaders on the water were fanning out across the Channel due south of the Lizard with Raphael furthest south, with Harry J. Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome and Vincent and Jacques Rigalleau's Sun Fast 3200 Enedis immediately to the north, and the Pinteauxs JPK 10.10 Gioia closest to the Lizard. Over the course of this afternoon Raphael has inevitably nosed back into the lead on the water.

However, leading on corrected time seems to be one of the smaller IRC Four boats: Benefitting greatly from the park-up has been Alain Guelennoc's X-332 with Chris Choules' Sigma 38 With Alacrity and Irish Offshore Sailing' Sun Fast 37 Desert Star, skippered by Ronan O'Siochru currently second. But you wouldn't put money on it remaining this way in 24 hours time.

Related Articles

Upping the ante for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race
James Boyd reviews some of the latest hardware built or acquired especially for this year's race Names on the Fastnet Challenge Cup include Jolie Brise, Dorade, Myth of Malham, Carina II, Pen Duick III, Condor, Nicorette, Morning Glory, Nokia, Rán 2, Night and Day, Courrier Du Leon and Lann Ael 2, plus the American VO70 Wizard and the Sunrise. Posted on 27 Jan
50th Rolex Fastnet Race on course for record entry
By 1300 today entries were up to 433 The Royal Ocean Racing Club's new race entry system has been burning red hot since 1200 UTC today when registration opened for the 50th edition of the club's flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 11 Jan
50th Rolex Fastnet Race Notice of Race published
With one week to go until the all-important registration date With one week to go until the all-important registration date for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race, its organiser, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, has published the event Notice of Race. Posted on 4 Jan
Rolex Fastnet Race registration opens in a month
The 50th edition of RORC's flagship event starts on 22nd July 2023 1200 UTC 11th January 2023: this time should be double underlined in the calendar of those wishing to enter next year's Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 11 Dec 2022
Special 50th edition Rolex Fastnet Race in 2023
For a second consecutive occasion, this will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin A year from now the start gun will fire on what will be the most significant, historic edition of the world's largest offshore yacht race. Posted on 22 Jul 2022
Dates for 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race announced
50th edition of the world's largest offshore race Following the success of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and its French partners are delighted to announce the date for the next edition of its flagship event in 2023. Posted on 2 Dec 2021
Rolex Fastnet Race round-up
The approach of the successful crew is the most decisive factor There are many factors that play a part in determining the eventual winner of an offshore race, but it is the approach of the successful crew that is the most decisive. Posted on 15 Aug 2021
Applecart upturned in small boat division
Rolex Fastnet Race sees IRC Four full of 20 year old amateur-crewed boats With nine JPK 10.10s in action in IRC Four, the smart money was on a fifth in a row win for the highly successful model from Jean-Pierre Kelbert's boatyard. However, this year's IRC Four podium did not contain a single JPK 10.10. Posted on 13 Aug 2021
Sunrise wins the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race
Tom Kneen is the first British winner of the race since 2003 Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Kneen is the first British winner of the race since Charles Dunstone and his maxi Nokia Enigma in 2003. Posted on 13 Aug 2021
Victory for Loison in IRC Three
Two-Handed goes to the wire in Rolex Fastnet Race One of the most intense battles, both on the water and under IRC corrected time, in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race played out in IRC Three. Interesting was the diversity of crew make-ups: Fully crewed, doublehanded and mixed doublehanded. Posted on 13 Aug 2021
Armstrong-A-Wing-728x90 gif BOTTOMRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER