Please select your home edition
Edition
Leaderboard FD July August September 2023

Caro wins the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race

by Andy Rice / RORC 26 Jul 2023 05:41 PDT 26 July 2023
Max Klink (right) and tactician Adrian Stead (left) plus the Caro crew with the Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner's trophy - the Fastnet Challenge Cup © Paul Wyeth / www.pwpictures.com

Max Klink's Botin 52 Caro has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. After being confirmed as winner of IRC Zero yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course can catch the Swiss boat for overall honours in the 50th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's offshore classic.

The fact that the opening 12 hours of the race were so bruising, with winds gusting close to 40 knots and boat-breaking seas off the south coast of England, made victory all the sweeter for Klink and his crew of professional sailors as they admired the great names that have gone before them, engraved on the base of the Fastnet Challenge Cup. "This is a legendary group of sailors who I have been fortunate to sail with for a few years now," said the Swiss owner, "but when we set out on this race I never expected that we could win. It's a dream come true, and all the more special that this is the 50th edition of such an iconic race.

"The first 12 hours we were just in survival mode, trying not to break anything, trying to keep the boat at 100 per cent. I wasn't thinking about any title or trophy, it was just about getting through the conditions."

Klink used to race a 65-footer but is very happy to have taken a step down in the size range, and arguably a step up in the level of competition. "The 50-footers are so competitive now and the racing is so close," said Klink, mindful of how close they might have been to suffering a similar fate as Rán 8, former Fastnet winner Niklas Zennström's CF520 which pulled out of the first race due to structural problems. "The line [between success and failure], it's very close. But boats like Caro and Rán are built for the tough conditions. You just have to remember there are times to slow the boat down, not do anything stupid, and that's where the experience of these guys comes in.

"At one point we just had everyone in the cockpit, no one was hiking. And keeping the boat speed to no more than six knots and trying to just get through this really bad sea state."

Tactician Adrian Stead, twice a winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race with Zennström and past Rán campaigns, hadn't competed in the race for 10 years. So the British professional was delighted to have come back with another victory. Working with young Australian navigator Andy Green, competing in his first Rolex Fastnet Race, the extensive homework Stead had undertaken in researching the nooks and crannies of the Dorset, Devon and Cornish coastlines more than 20 years earlier for the Admiral's Cup had come back into play in Caro's bid to make every second and every inch of the race course count in their favour. "Things like being in under the Lizard in the back-eddy that might save you five minutes further up the track, we worked hard on those details," said Stead, who paid tribute to Green's ability to master the tricky race course at his first attempt. "Andy did great work around the course, particularly through the big current on the final run into the finish.

"Also I think the practice run we did on the Wednesday before the race, out in the Solent in 25 knots of breeze, that was a useful preparation for everyone on the team to get our heads in the game. Practising the starting, and then a full circuit of the Isle of Wight, a good seven-hour shakedown for all of us and the boat." The multiple dummy runs at the start paid off with an excellent start out of the Cowes line last Saturday. "We had all our rivals under control out of the start and it's always good for the team spirit when you're leading out of the Solent," said Stead. "But then we lost the wand off the top of the mast in the Portland tidal race and we lost all our wind instruments, so we were running blind." Then, when the bowman went up the rig to replace the wand, he discovered the cable had been mashed due to the earlier breakage, so the crew had to complete the rest of the race sailing by the seat of their pants, without critical instruments and mostly data-free.

However, Stead admits they had the dream run back from the Isles of Scilly. "We pretty much straightlined it all the way and we realised we had a very good shot at winning IRC Zero so pulled out all the stops, got out some extra chocolate bars and had everyone hiking hard on the rail for the last few hours into the finish. We were fortunate how the weather worked out for us, but I think we did a great job of preparation and keeping ourselves in the game for as long as possible and we are so pleased how it all paid off."

The winning crew on Caro are: William Parker, Wade Morgan, Ryan Godfrey, Justin Ferris, Jono Swain, James Paterson, Harry Hall, Cian Guilfoyle, Andrew McCorquodale, Andy Green, Adrian Stead and owner Max Klink.

For further information, tracking and all the latest news, please go to the Rolex Fastnet Race website, www.rolexfastnetrace.com and race social media channels.

Tracking: cf.yb.tl/fastnet2023

See the Race Entry List here.

Related Articles

A worthy 50th Rolex Fastnet Race
As ever, the fleet was hugely diverse The 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race proved near perfect as a celebration of the 50th running of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event. As a reminder of what a brutal race it can be, its giant fleet set off from the Solent into a southwesterly gale. Posted on 3 Aug 2023
Rolex Fastnet Race 2023 - Pip Hare
The inspirational Pip Hare sailed the Fastnet with NIck Bubb in her Open 60, Medallia British sailor Pip Hare has long been an inspiration to the Bow Caddy team, so it was a real pleasure to meet her briefly in Cowes, just before she set off with Mini sailor NIck Bubb on the Fastnet Race in her recently modified IMOCA 60, Medallia. Posted on 29 Jul 2023
Rolex Fastnet Race: 50th edition grows the legacy
Crews were set an immediate and extreme examination of boat-handling and resilience The largest ever fleet in the history of offshore racing spanning fully professional ocean racing greyhounds as well as more Corinthian entries combined with conditions that tested preparation, determination and expertise. Posted on 29 Jul 2023
Doublehanded domination at 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race
Les P'tits Doudous en Duo finished first in IRC Two-Handed One of the strongest competitions within the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 50th Rolex Fastnet Race was in the ever-swelling ranks of IRC Two-Handed, mostly populated from IRC Two and IRC Three. Posted on 28 Jul 2023
Les P'Tits Doudous en Duo save their best to last
Winning IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race 81 teams from all over the world entered IRC Three for the Rolex Fastnet Race. The podium was dominated by the French JPK 1010s, but up to the Fastnet Rock it was Cora, the British Sun Fast 3200, which held pole position since the brutal start in Cowes. Posted on 28 Jul 2023
2023 Rolex Fastnet Race - Challenge accepted
Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors. For Max Klink, the owner and skipper of the 15.85m (52ft) Swiss entry Caro, the dream became reality in 2023. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
Juzzy comes good in Rolex Fastnet Race IRC Two
The outcome of IRC Two hung in the balance until the very end The outcome of IRC Two hung in the balance until the very end, but it was Juzzy who came through to win at the end, as the fleet arrived in a wet, wild and windy Cherbourg early on Thursday morning. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
Fournier fires Pintia to victory in IRC One
After a close battle with Sunrise III in the Rolex Fastnet Race Gilles Fournier and his family and friends on Pintia couldn't quite believe they had managed to win IRC One after such a close battle with Sunrise III. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
2023 Rolex Fastnet Race: Caro etched into history
Remaining focused and committed throughout takes passion, belief and determination The Fastnet Challenge Cup is awarded to the overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race on time correction. Success is dependent upon possessing the skills and ability to race one's yacht at its full potential, whatever the weather or sea conditions. Posted on 26 Jul 2023
Worthy Class40 winners in the Rolex Fastnet Race
Some of the most impressive offshore racers of this size were competing While there was some serious 40ft competition and much new hardware in IRC Zero, some of the most impressive offshore racers of this size were competing in the Class40. Posted on 26 Jul 2023
Hyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTERHenri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW FOOTER