Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: 2019 Rolex Fastnet

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    2019 Rolex Fastnet


    Big or small boat race? The 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race remains wide open
    Whether to go inshore or offshore, how long will it take, will it be a ‘big boat or small boat’ race, how to handle the powerful tides and will I need an anchor and an umbrella? The answers for this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race are profoundly different according to whether you are on an Ultim trimaran or one of the fastest monohulls like Scallywag and Rambler 88 or on Assent, the Rogers family’s well-travelled Contessa 32 or one of the 390 or so boats in between.

    In essence, the forecast for this year’s race is starting tomorrow (Saturday) at the beginning of the ebb tide in an unusual southeasterly breeze (rather than upwind in the normal prevailing southwesterly), blowing up the eastern Solent, but then doing what the weather gods alone will decide in the westerly Solent, it being in the lee of the Isle of Wight.

    According to Rolex Fastnet Race meteorologist Libby Greenhalgh, overnight the most significant change in the forecast is that the southeasterly here is looking more established, although perhaps more easterly, making for a dead downwind start and still light in the westerly Solent. “The exit is faster, so the routings have got about an hour faster.”

    The fleet are unlikely to have the traditional beat through the Solent © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

    Over the first night for the leaders, or well into Sunday for the tailenders, the crews will have to negotiate a ‘transition zone’ that will see the wind drop before filling in from the southwest, a scenario that may benefit being north (in search of thermal breeze close to the coast) or offshore and south (to get to the new gradient pressure first), as always, also dependent on the state of the tide.

    “Faster boats will tend to dig further south towards the Casquets TSS and will be the most southerly,” continues Greenhalgh. “For everyone else it will be of more rhumb line or just south of the rhumb line route.”

    In a ‘typical’ Fastnet Race, the choice between going west or east of the TSS off Land’s End is significant. However earlier in the week the only way to go was west, maintained Greenhalgh. However this has since changed with the easterly route opening up for the slower boats.

    The good news is that after this the scenario becomes more straightforward with a reach across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock and back to the Scilly Isles, in southwesterly or WSWerly winds and in pressure that will vary between 15-25 knots according to the timing. At present it seems very unclear if the overall prize will go to the smallest boat in the race, which will get held up least in the transition zone or one of the bigger boats. However across the fleet crews on the fat-sterned reaching machines are looking smug.


    In the battle for monohull line honours this could favour George David’s beamy, powerful Rambler 88 over Seng Huang Lee’s substantially longer but more slender Dovell 100 SHK Scallywag.

    Scallywag navigator Miles Seddon said they expect to meet the beginning of the cold front, marking the transition zone, early on Saturday evening. Then they’ll be off: “We’ll reach off towards the Rock into increasing pressure and round it in 20 knots and come back in 20 knots and free off for us.” As to whether this is enough for SHK Scallywag to beat the monohull race record of the VO70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing of 1 day 18 hours and 39 minutes, it will be close. “If it all goes swimmingly well, we should be just inside of it,” maintains Seddon who says this year could be a ‘big boat race’ given that they are likely to see the strongest conditions in the Celtic Sea.

    Among the other hottest big boats will be the 70 footers, including Peter Harrison’s Sorcha which in a previous life won the race twice as Niklas Zennström’s Rán II. Among her former winning crew is veteran offshore navigator Steve Hayles, who reckons that an IRC Zero boat could win overall this year but rates a VO70 such as David and Peter Askew’s Wizard (already winner this year of the RORC Caribbean 600 and Transatlantic Race 2019) over their Maxi 72.

    “In the two races we won we were on the wind the whole way to the Rock. Right now my personal fear is Rambler 88, the VO70s or even a quick 50 footer. After the unusual southeasterly, it goes light and if they get through that in reasonable shape, then it is reaching to the Rock and back and the windier it gets, the better it is for them. But there is a lot of subtlety in it. The first day remains a big unknown and even things like cloud cover could make a huge difference.”

    Another well-practised boat competing at the bottom end of IRC Z is the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa which this year alone has competed in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Pineapple Cup from Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

    Navigator Andrey Yakunin believes: “I think right now everyone is anxious to find the limits of the transition zone. From there it will be pretty straightforward to the Rock and back.” As to whether or not Lady Mariposa is enough of a weapon reaching, Yakunin says that generally they do well if they can sail to their polars. “We have taken quite a bit of take way from the Pineapple Cup and the Caribbean 600 and adjusted how we use our sails. I think we are okay reaching as long as we can get some decent speeds.”

    Sailing the Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII in IRC Three are doublehanders and Volvo Ocean Race sailors Hannah Diamond and Henry Bomby. “I did quite a bit of pre-race analysis and whenever an IRC Three or Four boat does well it is because they just make it through the tidal gate at Portland Bill,” says Bomby. “Normally you are upwind through there, but we’ll be straight line sailing. There appears to be more wind in the south where the transition is also shorter, but then you end up more upwind anyway. So our route will take us quite close to the Casquets and we’ll be offshore for the transition, then tacking and getting lifted.

    “After the transition we’ll be fully upwind, pointing at Penzance but then eventually getting lifted. That will be quite a tricky thing – when you start getting the new breeze filling in. The more west you get, the quicker you’ll get through it, but the chance of sailing extra miles because you overlay is quite high. That will be a critical part of the race.”

    For boats in this size range the crossing of the Celtic Sea will still be a reach but in a more moderate 12-14 knots. Fastrak XII’s routing suggests a time of 3 days 12 hours.

    The lowest rated boat in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race is the Rogers family’s Contessa 32 Assent. “We should do 120 miles/day or five days, which is pretty slow,” admits Simon Rogers of the yacht design/builder dynasty sailing, with brother Kit and their respective eldest children Hatty and Jonah, both sailing their first Rolex Fastnet Race. “The first two days look quite good for us. We are hoping the bigger boats will get stopped in the soft stuff in Lyme Bay on the first night. Then we have to cross the transition zone somehow– so there do you go offshore and look for the first gradient or a little bit of thermal activity, depending on where we get the tide turns. But the reality is that when the tide turns, we’ll be anchoring…

    “Then we get quite a decent westerly to beat up to Land’s End. It looks like we will get a little bit of south and the wind will go right and on day three or four it will rise which could favour the little boats. I don’t think we will be competitive under IRC but I do see the little boats doing well this race.”

    Assent is still equipped for the voyages into the ice made by her previous owner and she is around 700kg ‘overweight’ and although she has a Code 0, she otherwise only has a small jib as a headsail. Daughter Hatty observes: “We need 15 knots with the small headsail. The most wind I reckon we’ll see coming back. It is going to be a race of two halves but once the transition happens it will be pretty stable. We need to be in on Thursday night because the wind is forecast to shut off on Friday morning.”

    Libby Greenhalgh is betting on a well-sailed boat at the bottom end of IRC Two. “Otherwise the faster boats obviously, if they are not too sticky in the slow stuff, will do alright in terms of having good breeze going across and coming back with the frontal system. IRC Z could also be in with a shout, but they have to do a big banana around the transition. IRC Two will do less distance and less time in the lighter wind.”
    Last edited by Photoboy; 08-04-2019 at 01:22 PM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  2. #2
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    The Record Fleet Departs Then Finds Light Air

    A massive fleet started the 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

    A record fleet of 388 yachts set sail this afternoon from Cowes on the Rolex Fastnet Race.

    From the outset this 48th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s pinnacle event was unusual. Whereas in most ‘normal’ Rolex Fastnet Races, the giant fleet embarks on a highly tactical race, tacking down the Solent and out into the English Channel, then having to figure out how to make the best of the strong tide, instead today they were treated to a southeasterly wind allowing them to broad reach in a straight line down the western Solent and through the usual bottleneck at Hurst Narrows and on past the Needles.

    Leading the charge down the Solent were the massive 32m long Ultim trimarans, with Maxi Edmond De Rothschild, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race winners Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier leading out of the Solent before a brief contretemps with the Shingles Bank allowed through Thomas Coville’s brand new Sodebo Ultim 3 and Francois Gabart’s MACIF (on which America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill is racing).

    Crowds lined the shoreline for the start © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

    While the wind was southeasterly and forecast to be ultra-light in the lee of the Isle of Wight, in fact there was enough to keep the boats moving down the Solent, assisted by the strong ebb tide.

    Among the IMOCA 60s, all being sailed doublehanded, there was a split north and south of the Shingles with Kevin Escoffier and Nicolas Lunven on PRB leading the southerly group and Paralympic sailor Damien Seguin and reigning Solitaire du Figaro champion Yoann Richomme on Groupe Apicil leading the group to the north...until they too grounded on the Shingles allowing Banque Populaire, Initiatives Coeur and Bureau Vallee 2 past.

    Heading off for their first night at sea, the largest fleet of IMOCA 60s to ever compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race made a spectacle at the start in the Solent © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

    A great feature of the IMOCA 60 fleet is that four of the 20 boats have female skippers; three, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron and Pip Hare, British. Pip Hare is racing with Australian, and fastest man on the water under sail, Paul Larsen.

    This is only Hare’s third major race in her new IMOCA 60:

    “I was really pleased that we did the Round the Island Race earlier this year because reaching in one of these things up and down the start line can be a little bit scary we’ve discovered, especially when there are all the other boats in the way!”

    Out into Christchurch Bay, Hare was lining up for her first night at sea:

    “It looks like we’ll see the transition at around 0200 Sunday morning. The game right now is whoever gets beyond the tidal gate at Start Point really has a chance of getting away. Our current routing shows we’ll be to the west of Start Point when the wind transition comes, so we’re just ahead of it at the moment.”

    Four massive 32m long Ultim trimarans led the charge © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

    Eighteen Class40s set sail at the same time as the IMOCA 60s and at Hurst Narrows it was Cabinet Z skippered by Cedric de Kervenoael, leading, followed by Imagine, the latest Owen Clarke design, skippered by German Jörg Reichers, and Franco-Englishman Luke Berry on the Mach 3 Lamotte - Module Création also in the mix.

    George David’s Juan K-designed maxi Rambler 88 led the IRC fleet out of the Solent, ahead of the Dovell 100 SHK Scallywag on which owner Seng Huang Lee is sailing. “This is my first Fastnet and I am really looking forward to it,” said Lee, who raced the final leg of the last Volvo Ocean Race in which his team competed. “The 100 is a lot more comfortable than the 65ft! We are aware of what happened in 1979 so this is going to be tough, but it looks like good weather with a strong finish.”

    Among the competitive 70 footers, David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard was doing a good job in light running conditions, hanging on to the coattails of Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou and Peter Harrison’s Maxi 72 Sorcha leaving the Solent.

    However stars of the show in IRC Z were David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala and Eric de Turckheim’s Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine, which blasted out of the start and is trailing the 70 footers at Hurst Narrows.

    At the slower end of IRC Z, the de Graaf family on the Ker 43 Baraka GP were punching above their weight on the mainland side of the Solent. For this year’s race they have lured navigator Wouter Verbraak on board. “We are looking really forward to it. We are one of the smallest boats in IRC Z, so we need to get into clear air and stay in touch with the big boats,” said the elder de Graaf brother Dirk prior to leaving. “The wind is going to die out tomorrow probably when we’re near Plymouth. Then we are expecting a nice, tough reach to the Rock. We have a very fast boat for reaching.”

    Sorcha and Wizard exit the Solent after the start of a record-breaking Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK© Paul Wyeth/RORC

    Similarly slingshoting her way from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in IRC One was Frenchman Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen. As she led out of the Solent, Tor McLaren’s MAT 1180 Gallivanter and Frenchman Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43 Albator were trailing her, with Albator currently looking strong under IRC.

    Exiting the Solent in IRC Two, 2015 winner Géry Trentesaux on board his Rolex Middle Sea winning JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé was leading the charge both on the water and under IRC, but with sistership Sunrise, skippered by Tom Kneen, close behind and with Christopher Daniel’s J/122E Juno, early season leader of the Performance 40 championship, third on the water.

    Among the 84 IRC Three yachts, Neil McGrigor's Boo was the first of the fourteen J/109s to exit the Solent. However, it was the smaller JPK 10.80s that were leading on the water with Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s Dream Pearls having pulled out a small lead and also looking strong under IRC, with Boo second. Dream Pearls was being chased on the water by the trio of Nicolas Gaumont-Prat’s First 40.7 Philosophie IV, David Richards’ Sun Fast 3600 Jellyfish and the French JPK 10.80 Raging-bee².

    George David's American maxi Rambler 88 led the IRC fleet out of the Solent © Paul Wyeth/RORC

    J/109s and JPKs were also leading the charge in the smallest class, IRC Four. At Hurst Narrows, the J/109 Just So, being raced doublehanded by William McGough and Christian Jeffrey, led the 87 strong fleet. McGough and Jeffrey are both Corinthian sailors in their 30s and this is their first season racing in IRC Two-Handed. Just So was ahead of Francois Moriceau’s JPK 10.10 Mary and perennial class winner Noel Racine’s Foggy Dew, another JPK 10.10. Sadly Gipsy Moth IV had to postpone her start due to engine problems. However, the team led by Richard Chalmers managed to resolve the issue and restarted this evening.

    As they cleared the Needles, the Greig City Academy crew on Scaramouche reported that 13-year old Kai Hockley was on the helm. “Everything is okay at the moment but we’ve just had a bit of drama when we blew out one of the spinnakers, but we got the other one up. We managed to recover the halyard from the top which is quite good news.”

    This evening the leaders will be tackling a transition zone which they will have to cross before reaching the new southwesterly breeze. This could prove the defining moment of the race for many.

    As night falls, Macif and Maxi Edmond De Rothschild Lead the fleet

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  3. #3
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Maxi Ultimers Crush Fasnet Record, Cammas Takes Home The Watch!

    All 4 Maxi Ultimes have beaten the previous Fastnet Record, With Gitana 7 just nipping Macif by 58 seconds....withs a 1Day, 4hour, 2 minutes and 26 seconds elapsed time record

    The Royal Ocean Racing Club would like to congratulate Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild for remarkable victory, winning multihull line honours and setting a new multihull race record for the #RolexFastnetRace!

    Previous Fastnet Multihull Record: 1d 8h 48m 46s August 20011 Banque Populaire Loïck Peyron

    Rambler 88 knocks 88 minutes off the Rock record
    Rambler 88 broke the monohull record to the Fastnet Rock by 88 minutes when the canting-keeled sloop from New York passed the rock at 16:45:47 this afternoon. George David and his crew have set a new time of 1 day 2 hours 47 minutes, breaking their own record which they set back in 2011 with the bigger Rambler 100 (1 day 4 hours 15 minutes). However, that was the same occasion when the keel fell off the 100-footer, not long after rounding, requiring the crew to be rescued.

    David’s crew, which includes multiple America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth, won’t give much thought to the record until they’re safely back in Plymouth. If they can maintain current form, the outright monohull race record is also on the cards for Rambler 88. Speaking on the satellite phone shortly before they rounded the Fastnet Rock, navigator Jules Salter said they had plenty to keep them occupied, with 25 knots gusting to 30, and big seas to negotiate.

    “We’ve just done a peel from the J2 to the J4. We’ve got a wind angle of 115 to 120 which is making it fast - about 23 knots of boat speed - but pretty noisy on board and wet across the deck. The mood is pretty good, everyone’s pretty cool, doing their best, getting stuck in, and getting ready for a busy time coming up as we pass the TSS and the Fastnet.”

    After four previous attempts on the line honours victory in the Fastnet Race, could this be David’s year? If the fast-reaching conditions prevail for the rest of the passage back from the Rock to Plymouth, then Rambler should stand a good chance of keeping Scallywag and the rest of the IRC monohull fleet behind them. The other boat in the mix is the ex-Volvo Open 70, Wizard, just seven miles back from Rambler.


    On IRC handicap, Wizard holds the lead, with Maxi 72 Sorcha (formerly the two-time Fastnet winner Rán 2) and Jethou (extended over the winter from a 72-footer to 77ft) in second and third place respectively, and Rambler in fourth.

    The high-speed conditions are right in Wizard’s sweet spot. Formerly Franck Cammas’ 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race winner Groupama 4, and now owned by Baltimore brothers David and Peter Askew, she was the recent winner of the Transatlantic Race 2019, and the crew includes a few Volvo Ocean Race veterans - Rob Greenhalgh from the UK, two-time skipper Charlie Enright of the USA and Australian navigator Will Oxley.

    IRC One
    The front runners in IRC One have around 400 miles to go to the finish.

    Well known to the Fastnet Race, the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen is just a mile ahead on the water of Ino XXX, James Neville’s HH42 which was sixth overall in the last edition. On handicap Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41, L’Ange De Milon, heads IRC One at this stage, with the NMD 43, Albator, in second and Ino XXX in third. Albator’s performance is particularly impressive, this being Philippe Frantz’s first attempt on the Rolex Fastnet Race, although not that surprising. The crew comprises a range of experience, from good dinghy racers to a Figaro sailor and previous competitors from the Route du Rhum, America’s Cup, Half Ton Cup and Trophée Jules Verne.

    IRC Two
    Géry Trentesaux is no stranger to the front of the Fastnet fleet, having won the race in a JPK 10.80 in 2015 and was winner of last year's Rolex Middle Race in his present boat, JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé. In IRC Two Courrier Recommandé is leading on the water with just over 400 miles to the finish, and also leading IRC Two on corrected time. Less than two miles behind the leader and in second place on handicap is a strong Fastnet performer, Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam. Another mile further back on the water and third on corrected time is Sunrise, a sistership to Courrier Recommandé. Owner of Sunrise is Plymouth-based Tom Kneen who has followed Trentesaux into a JPK 11.80 and is looking very competitive considering he only took up offshore racing five years ago.


    The Hare and the tortoises
    Day One - Morning report
    Overnight in this 48th Rolex Fastnet Race, the much forecast park-up caused by the wind transition between the southeasterly and southwesterly gradient breezes created a driftathon and a major compression in the fleet between Start Point and the Lizard. This meant a park-up for the majority of the fleet…but for some more than others.

    Across Lyme Bay the majority of the fleet took a southerly course, passing closer to the Casquets traffic separation scheme than to Start Point, the idea being that the all-important transition zone leading to the new southwesterly breeze would be at its narrowest here. As they were headed and tacked, the boats most fully committed to the south – especially the IMOCA 60s PRB and Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco - had sailed as far south as the Channel Islands before the breeze shifted enough for them to tack.

    But the boats which would prove stars of the show were those which had remained north. Passing Start Point at around 2100, British IMOCA 60 class newbie Pip Hare, sailing doublehanded with the fastest man on the water, Australian Paul Larsen, were furthest north, just seven miles offshore. Subsequently they nosed slightly north of course, in towards Plymouth, with the result that by the end of the evening Hare and Larsen were leading not just the IMOCA 60 class, but the entire monohull fleet, including the maxis SHK Scallywag and Rambler 88 (at the time desperately trying to claw their way north), and the ‘hot 70s’ such as Jethou, Wizard and Sorcha. Up against the largest exotic carbon fibre hardware, they were sailing an ancient IMOCA 60 that began life as Bernard Stamm’s Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world race winner in 2002.

    “We just ended up sailing our own course, while the foiling boats were doing what they needed to do,” said a jubilant Pip Hare this morning. “Going across Lyme Bay, we wanted to just get west as fast as possible so we stuck up our biggest masthead kite – more of a VMG kite – and we ended up sailing low and fast, and then just kept moving!

    “Getting that separation from the fleet meant we didn’t fall into the same hole as them. Then we worked pretty hard during the night, sail changing, moving stuff around etc. The breeze got very light, down to around 3 knots, so we were really working the boat hard. The tactic was just - keep sailing west: Speed, speed, speed!

    Hare continued: “Seeing us first monohull under line honours was like – WOW! Completely unexpected! And then to still be in this position this morning... We can see Banque Populaire behind us and of course all the fleet is coming in to meet us and I don’t imagine they’ll put up with us forever ahead for much longer…”

    Paul Larsen added: “It’s been pretty good! I wonder what all those boats have been up to over there, parked up! Those foilers go fast but will escape again, so we’ll get all our photos up today. I hope you’re enjoying it because we certainly are!”

    Inevitably Hare and Larsen’s fame was short-lived. In swift succession David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard and Seng Huang Lee’s SHK Scallywag (overall and line honours winners of the recent Transatlantic Race 2019) were first to pass them, followed by George David’s Rambler 88 and Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou. Nonetheless there was huge credo that this morning Hare and Larsen were able to pass the Lizard in the lead of the IMOCA 60 fleet, including all the hot new hardware and crews with multiple Vendée Globes behind them. At the time of writing Hare and Larsen were trying to fend of the approaching Arkea Paprec, the brand new, fresh out of the box IMOCA 60 sailed by Sebastien Simon and Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou and Banque Populaire, crewed by Clarisse Cremer and reigning Vendée Globe champion Armel le Cleac’h.

    New record in the Ultim match race to the Rock
    Incredibly, despite the significant early evening slow-down in the transition zone between Start Point and the Lizard, the lead Ultims trimarans passed the Scilly Isles just after midnight and then covered the 190 miles between the southwest corner of the Traffic Separation Scheme between the Scilly Isles and Land’s End in just six and a half hours, at an average of more than 29 knots.

    In the match race for the Ultim lead between Maxi Edmond De Rothschild and MACIF, Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas’ team had her nose ahead and rounded the Fastnet Rock at 06:33:38 BST, just two minutes ahead of Francois Gabart’s MACIF at 06:35:31 BST. Maxi Edmond De Rothschild’s elapsed time from the start of just 18 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds (and 18 hours 5 minutes and 31 seconds for MACIF) is a new race record time to the Fastnet Rock, the previous best being that of Loick Peyron and the crew of Banque Populaire V who set a time of 22 hours 21 minutes and 25 seconds in the speedy 2011 race.

    Having been slower through the transition, Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim 3 rounded the Fastnet Rock more than two hours astern at 08:37:35 BST with the Yves le Blevec-skipper Actual Leader at 09:20:32 BST.

    Since then Francois Gabart and America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill, on board MACIF, have overhauled Maxi Edmond De Rothschild, which has suffered some as yet unknown damage to her appendages following her contact with the Shingles Bank yesterday.

    Since 0500 this morning, the tide has turned foul and those out in the middle of the Channel, still attempting to pass the Lizard, are making some wide tacking angles. As predicted before the start this is going to be the ‘make or break moment’ of the race.

    At present, there is no clear group of boats that are doing well under IRC corrected time. Nominally Wizard is ahead after the American VO70 and her eagle-eyed navigator Will Oxley spotted the progress of the boats to the north last night and headed towards it. Meanwhile, Frenchman Jacques Pelletier’ s Milon 41 L’Angle de Milon is technically ahead in IRC One, with Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre De Glen and James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX jockeying for the lead on the water some 17 miles south of the Lizard.

    IRC Two are this morning mid-way between Start Point and the Lizard. In this class it is the leaders on the water who are also doing best under IRC – and they are two of the wiliest French teams: Nicolas Loday’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam and 2015 overall winner Gery Trentesaux with his new JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé. However, now upwind and uptide, they are both only making 3-5 knots through the water.

    Only a short way behind, France is again doing well in IRC Three where Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls is leading. They are south of doublehanded Olympic hopefuls Hannah Diamond and Henry Bomby on their Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII. Meanwhile leading the class to the north are formidable British Corinthian doublehanders Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino. Again they are making 4-5 knots with wide tacking angles.#

    France also holds the top three spots among the smallest/slowest boats in IRC Four. At present the leader is perennial class winner Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, sharing the lead on the water with Emmanuel and Etienne Pinteaux’s sistership Gioia and, really impressively, Francois Charles’s Dehler 33 Cruising Sun Hill 3 is also up there. The IRC Four leaders mid-morning were due south of Plymouth, albeit a long way offshore, with Francois Moriceau’s JPK 10.10 Mary on a flier, furthest south
    Last edited by Photoboy; 08-04-2019 at 01:26 PM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  4. #4
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Boris Fastnet Update:
    A short visit to the sea
    A front passes us in the Irish Sea. Winds from SW increase. We put a reef and later the smaller jib. We accelerate to over 30 knots speed sometimes. Jump. And bounce over the sea. The keel fin makes noise at this speed. I manage to sleep with some quiet music on my big headphones. Water spray is now flying in the air and getting everywhere. The cosy warmth of the sleeping bag is a retreat for a short moment. With the small jib the bow is light and rises high up. The rig is not too stressed and me neither.
    We see two boats. also contenders for the vendee globe. One is brand new. The other one the winner of the last vendee.
    Malizia is going well now. We are not at the front. We had a bit of a slow morning and lost every hour about one mile. Now 10 hours later we are 10 miles behind one of the boats that yesterday at sunset had crossed 5 miles behind us. 10 miles away from the podium.
    it’s all straight on from now on now after the front: Upwind without tactics. Our position won’t change to the better today. Maybe tonight or tomorrow if opportunities come up in the form of new wind shifts.
    Now we are for a short moment just out here at sea behind this front upwind in the fresh and cold northwest wind blowing over an agitated Irish Sea. A common picture made out of grey water and grey sky. A bouncing and banging boat, rocking and heeling over, arguing with the confused swell and the choppy wind waves.
    Out from underneath our shelter I observe a White Sea bird gliding through the swell. The sky opens up on the backside of this front let’s more light into the grey. Despite the constant banging and hurling of the wind in the mast Nothing will happen over the next few hours other than the distant sun set behind Ireland sending his very shy rosé out to us.
    This moment could be anywhere during the vendee in the south as well. It could be month at sea or days.
    This is just a short visit but just long enough. it’s all here: We are at sea and so far away from everything which is not right here and right now as if we were on another planet.
    More and more boats appear around us from the grey together with the silhouette of the Irish coast and the distinct flash of that lighthouse we all want to round as quickly as possible. Such a ritual since half a century. A short visit to the sea and then back to the pub in Plymouth. This is the Moment everyone has come here for. This is the fastnet race.

    Will Harris Sailing powered by Hive Energy IMOCA Globe Series Vendée Globe Royal Ocean Racing Club ROLEX
    Last edited by Photoboy; 08-05-2019 at 08:20 AM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  5. #5
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Gitana's Miracle Come From Behind Win

    MACIF pipped at the post by Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in Ultim competition

    The 32m long Ultim trimarans laid on a spectacular finish in this 48th Rolex Fastnet Race resulting in MACIF, the leader since rounding the Fastnet Rock earlier this morning, being beaten to the finish line in the last breath of the race by her arch-rival Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.

    As Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s skipper Franck Cammas explained: “Just after they gybed onto the layline for the finish we crossed them and decided to overlay. It was our last chance to see if there was something still possible. But until five minutes before we finished we never thought it was possible!”

    Skipper of MACIF, Francois Gabart, the Vendée Globe winner and outright singlehanded round the world record holder, gave his side:

    “They gybed a little bit outside of us and I was thinking ‘it looks like they’re in a good position’. Plus they were going really fast downwind and even at the Lizard I was thinking ‘it’s going to be tough to keep them behind’. After the last gybe they were two miles away and we were between them and the finish so it looked good for us. But they were able to fly while we had a problem with our rake system and we couldn’t adjust it…”

    The difference was that Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was able to foil into the favoured end of the finish line off Plymouth breakwater, whereas MACIF was not able to, crossing the line just 58 seconds after.

    Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s elapsed time of 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds, bettered the outright multihull race record, set by Loick Peyron and the crew of Maxi Banque Populaire in the breezy 2011 race by 4 hours 45 minutes and 34 seconds.

    In fact the two giant Ultim trimarans were never more than four miles apart throughout the race although there was a near split as they appeared to make easy meat of yesterday evening’s wind transition zone into the new southwesterly breeze. As Cammas explained:

    “Before the start we wanted to go north, but after the start we got a new forecast which showed that the south was better. In fact MACIF gybed north and we hesitated but then decided to stay with them, because we wanted to race them. In fact on the northern route the faster you were the better it was. We were faster than our routing in the first bit because there was more wind, and faster than the polars because it was flat water.”

    For Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, their race had incidents. They went aground on the Shingles Bank at 25 knots while leading the Ultims out of the Solent destroying the tip of their daggerboard. Then a large fish got caught around their daggerboard just after passing the Fastnet Rock, requiring them to back down to extract themselves, allowing MACIF past.

    While friends, there is strong rivalry between the two teams. As Cammas’ co-skipper and navigator for the race, Charles Caudrelier put it:

    “It is always good to beat Francois [Gabart] who is a very famous multihull sailor with a good boat and a good team. Our boat is sometimes faster in certain conditions, but they have improved the speed of their boat and they sail it very well. It was a big fight – great fun!”

    For their endeavours the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild crew won the line honours multihull trophy and were presented with a Rolex timepiece, ashore at Plymouth Yacht Haven.

    Racing on board MACIF was Jimmy Spithill, the last minute replacement for Pascal Bidegorry, who stood down with a back injury.

    “That was my first Fastnet. It was quick - I probably won’t ever do it quicker than that!” said the America’s Cup winning skipper. “The power of these boats is incredible because they are big machines. With other foiling boats your limit is waves but with these, because of their scale and the shape of the foils, you can push them hard.”

    Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim 3 finished 1 hour 24 minutes after the leader, having been left behind by the lead duo in the transition yesterday evening and then when the leaders were first to the strong breeze crossing the Celtic Sea this morning.

    Further records to the Fastnet Rock fell this afternoon with George David’s Rambler 88 maxi rounding at 16:45:47 this afternoon. This beats the previous record, which the American maxi yacht team also set (however that time of 1d 4h 15m, established in 2011 aboard their previous Rambler 100, was overlooked at the time because just minutes later the keel fell of their maxi causing it to capsize.) Rambler 88’s new record has bettered the monohull record by, appropriately, 88 minutes. However the VO70 Wizard, campaigned by Baltimore-based brothers David and Peter Askew, is at present fastest to the Fastnet Rock under IRC corrected time and now holds a solid lead both in IRC Z and overall at this still early stage of the race.

    The monohull frontrunners rounded the Rock in 25-30 knots, the biggest southwesterly breeze seen so far in this race.

    The next group to reach the Fastnet Rock will be the first IMOCA 60s where it is the new generation Charal sailed by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt which has pulled out an 8 mile lead over Sam Davies and Paul Meilhat on board Initiatives Coeur, approaching the rock neck and neck with Maître Coq, sailed by Yannick Bestaven and ocean racing veteran Roland Jourdain.

    At an earlier stage of their crossing of the Celtic Sea towards the Fastnet Rock are the Class 40s. Here there is a three way neck and neck fight for the lead between Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création, Arthur le Vaillant's Leyton and Catherine Pourre's Eärendil, the trio having finally shaken off the persistent and well sailed eight year old Pogo S2 Colombre XL of Charles-Louis Mourruau.

    The match race for the lead on the water in IRC One continues between Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre De Glen and James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX, half way across the Celtic Sea to the rock. They have both extended to the extent that they are now leading the class under IRC ahead of third placed Albator, Philippe Frantz’s NMD 43. Meanwhile the bulk of IRC One is passing east of the Scilly Isles.

    Inevitably the talented Frenchman Géry Trentesaux, overall winner of the race four years ago, and his JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé has pulled out a lead in IRC Two and late this afternoon was passing the Scilly Isles, about to set out across the Celtic Sea. Impressively, both Trentesaux’s yacht and Nicolas Loday’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam have slowly extended away over the course of today and are already a long way through the supposedly faster IRC One fleet.

    Still going well in IRC Three are Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls, which were approaching the Scilly Isles this afternoon. However inevitably 2013 winner Alexis Loison, sailing with Jean Pierre Kelbert on the latest 10.30 model from Kelbert’s JPK yard, are on the ascent, up to second place under corrected time with doublehanded Olympic hopefuls Hannah Diamond and Henry Bomby on the Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII neck and neck with them.

    Another stand-out performance is occurring in the smallest/slowest class in the Rolex Fastnet Race, IRC Four, where, still to the south of the Traffic Separation Scheme off Land’s End, perennial class winner Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew is extending away both under handicap and on the water. They are immediately trailed by sistership Gioia, formerly the Loison’s 2011 winner Night and Day and the Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora.

    The majority of the smaller classes setting out into the Celtic Sea tonight have a fast, breezy crossing ahead of them with reaching conditions in winds of around 20-25 knots.
    Last edited by Photoboy; 08-05-2019 at 08:21 AM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  6. #6
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Rambler 88' Takes Monohull Line Honors

    Rambler 88 claims consecutive monohull line honours
    Rambler 88 has won monohull line honours this morning, after crossing the Plymouth finish line at 09:55:02. American Owner George David and his all-star crew were delighted to have beaten their rivals on the 100-footer SHK Scallywag to the punch.

    For a while it looked like breaking the outright monohull race record was on the cards, especially after Rambler 88 set a new record from Cowes to the Fastnet Rock, George David beating his own record by 88 minutes, which he set on Rambler 100 back in 2011. The race back across the Celtic Sea towards the Scilly Isles was also very quick with straight-line sailing at speeds of around 20 knots. But it was the final run into Plymouth from the Scillies that put paid to any race record hopes. In the end, Rambler 88 finished in a time of 1d 19h 55m 2s, 1 hour and 16 minutes off the record set by the Volvo Open 70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2011.

    Not that George David was complaining. This was his fifth assault on the Rolex Fastnet Race and he has succeeded in repeating his line honours victory from two years ago.

    “We're delighted to have that outcome. 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.”

    Passing the Rock was an emotional moment for David, with Rambler 88 encountering very similar, rough conditions that had befallen the ill-fated Rambler 100 there eight years ago. As the boat reached the Rock this time, David had no idea that he’d just set a new record to the Fastnet lighthouse.

    “I had some other things on my mind - from 2011 when we were up there in comparable conditions, 25-30 knots in really lumpy seas a few miles west of the Rock. The keel came off, the boat rolled over and that was the end of that. So we have some special memories. At least I did personally.

    “My wife Wendy wasn’t on the boat this time. She was in 2011, and she and I spent three hours in the Celtic Sea courtesy of that little issue. Baltimore lifeboat was there yesterday, to meet and greet and wave and say hello. We know those people pretty well. We’ve been back to Baltimore four or five times since.”

    David paid tribute to everyone who helped in that rescue operation and remains grateful to this day for an outcome that could have been a lot, lot worse.

    Once past the Fastnet, the New Yorker’s mind turned towards the possibility of breaking the race record. It was looking good until the final run in from the Scillies:

    “Our route plan at the rock was we would finish at six or seven this morning, which would have been ahead of the record. The problem was we turned the corner at the Scillies and came down the Channel and it was VMG the whole way. So we sailed probably an extra 40 or 50 miles. And that extra distance sailed added maybe another two or three hours on to our time.

    Rambler 88’s navigator, Jules Salter, had just completed his 14th consecutive Fastnet Race but said this was one of the best:

    “That was a great run on board a fantastic boat with a really good bunch of guys. It would have been great to have beaten the record, but at least I’ve still got the record because I was on board Abu Dhabi in 2011. We’ll have to come back for another go.”

    SHK Scallywag finished just 27 minutes after Rambler 88.

    “It was a very close, exciting race,” said owner Seng Huang Lee. “We had a little bit of everything – fine weather, rough sea and a squall just before we rounded the Rock. But these were the conditions that Rambler was designed for, so congratulations to them.”

    Meanwhile at the opposite end of the fleet, the Rogers family’s Contessa 32 Assent was this morning approaching the southern corner of the Land’s End Traffic Separation Scheme. Simon Rogers reported: “We have boats behind us which is good news, doing 10 knots downwind with the tide.”

    The IRC Four leaders are currently half way across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock with Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew leading on the water and under IRC, although sistership Emmanuel and Etienne Pintesaux’s Gioia (formerly the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner Night and Day) was just four miles behind.

    Surprisingly only eight of the 87 boats in the larger/faster IRC Three are ahead of Foggy Dew, which is just 14 miles astern of the IRC Three on the water and IRC leader Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls. However Dream Pearls is facing a serious challenge from Alexis Loison and Jean Pierre Kelbert’s JPK 10.30 Léon and Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.80 Raging-bee². Overnight Hannah Diamond and Henry Bomby on their Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII have dropped back slightly, as have Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, after Fish had to make a trip aloft to free a stuck batten.

    At 0900 the runaway leader in IRC Two, the JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé of 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race winner Géry Trentesaux, had just over 20 miles to go the Fastnet Rock and was looking strong. 14 miles ahead is her British sistership, Tom Kneen’s Sunrise, which is now up to second with Nicolas Loday’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam having dropped back to third, just two miles astern.

    Just before 0700 Frenchman Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre De Glen was first boat in IRC One to round the Fastnet Rock. She was followed some 35 minutes later by James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX, these two boats both looking strong under corrected time. This morning at around 1040 Lars And Birgitta Elfverson’s Ker 40 Keronimo rounded the Fastnet Rock, seventh under IRC. Navigator Nick Jones reported: “20 knots, quite bumpy seas – it’s a bit like a washing machine down here at my navigation station, most things are broken, but it’s been lots of fun with lots of banter.”

    Further up the race course, William Mathelin-Moreaux’s Lift 40 Beijaflore led the Class40s around the Fastnet Rock at 0520. She was followed by Luke Berry’s Lamotte - Module Création in second at 05:53, then Arthur le Vaillant’s Mach 40.3 Leyton and Catherine Pourre’s Eärendil. Broad reaching back southeast across the Celtic Sea, the Class40 frontrunners were making 15-17 knots.

    The next class due into Plymouth this afternoon will be the IMOCA 60s, where Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on the new generation Charal currently hold an eight mile lead over Clarisse Cremer and Armel le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire, with the leader due to finish early afternoon today (Monday).

    At 0900 this morning 42 boats had retired from 388 starters of which 333 were racing in the IRC fleet.

    Some crews have chosen not to embark on the Celtic Sea crossing given that prolonged 20-25 knots southwesterly winds have been creating a building sea state. Some have had this decision made for them. Stephen Robinson’s Class40 Jumpa Lagi dismasted yesterday after passing the Scilly Islands. All her crew were safe and they are pottering back east and this morning were just off the Lizard.

    Regular French competitor Marc Alperovitch and his JPK 10.80 Timeline was forced to put in to Plymouth Yacht Haven prematurely when one of his crew injured his ribs in a fall. Embarrassingly this was an accidental tumble within the light conditions during the first few hours of the race. They continued and were doing well, but with the anticipated motion of the boat, given the waves in the Celtic Sea, was felt likely to cause too much pain for the crewman.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  7. #7
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Charal Corrals IMOCA Line Honors

    Charal shakes off competition to claim Rolex Fastnet Race honours
    While IMOCA 60s are renowned for racing non-stop around the world in the Vendée Globe, the doublehanded crews of these extraordinary space-age craft appreciate the Rolex Fastnet Race as it offers most conditions of a round the world race within just a few days.

    With the IMOCA 60s going through a revolution - following the introduction of foils, one design keels and masts, and being chosen as the grand prix boat of The Ocean Race, there has been huge interest in how they are performing, especially as some are new builds and others have been upgraded to differing degrees.

    As usual, all the IMOCA 60s were being sailed doublehanded in preparation for this autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre.

    Class act of this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race was Solitaire du Figaro winner Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on the new generation VPLP design Charal.

    Twenty IMOCA 60s set sail in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial Rolex Fastnet Race and, as forecast, it was the unusual and near impossible-to-predict transition on the first evening between southeasterly gradient to southwesterly pre-frontal breeze that would prove the race’s ‘defining moment’.

    Out of the Solent, PRB, sailed by Nicolas Lunven and her new skipper Kevin Escoffier, led, with Clarisse Cremer and Vendée Globe winner Armel le Cleac’h on board Banque Populaire and Charal both to leeward. However here Charal demonstrated the power of her foils, forging ahead past the north of the Casquets traffic separation scheme (TSS) with Louis Burton and Davy Beaudart aboard Bureau Vallée leading the southerly group.

    Alongside the top IRC Zero boats, like Rambler 88, Wizard and Sorcha, they headed southwest out into the middle of the channel… only for the wind to disappear almost completely and chaos to rein. As Sam Davies, sailing Initiatives Coeur with Route du Rhum winner Paul Meilhat, described it:

    “We went backwards for a while. I think we tried to draw a heart…because Initiatives Coeur is all about saving kids with heart problems. It was frustrating.”

    Meanwhile British IMOCA 60 newbie Pip Hare and the fastest man on the water, Australian Paul Larsen, were trickling along in breeze to the north on the shortest course. Ultimately they enjoyed several blissful hours of fame as their ancient 20 year old boat led the entire IMOCA 60 fleet past the Lizard.

    Beyou observed: “It was strange because I think they had wind from the north, which they should never have had! That was a good call by them.”

    Sébastien Simon and Vincent Riou on the new Juan K-designed Arkea Paprec were first of southerly group to notice the north paying, gybing to get a piece of it.

    Hare and Larsen were eventually overtaken at the Scilly Isles, when Charal once again regained the lead ahead of Banque Populaire.

    Outbound to the Fastnet Rock, Charal extended her lead to 15 miles. It was also lively, said Beyou:

    “It was very difficult because the wind was stronger than expected. We had 35 knots when I was expecting 25! It was wild reaching and the sea was rough.”

    On port tack, the wind was also veering. This left Charal 10 miles further east than they’d hoped, forcing them to short tack west (no mean feat just two up) along the top of the Fastnet TSS and the Irish coast to reach the Fastnet Rock. This they finally rounded after an elapsed of 1 day 8 hours 52 minutes 38 seconds (outside of Marc Guillemot and Safran’s record time of 1 day 6 hours 36 minutes).

    Rounding some 20 minutes later were Vendée Globe veterans Yannick Bestaven and Roland Jourdain on Maître CoQ (ironically under whose colours Beyou sailed the last Vendée Globe) with Initiatives Coeurs another 20 minutes behind.

    On the run back to the Scilly Isles, Maître CoQ drew level with Charal. This was due their having to make some laborious sail changes, reported Beyou. “We were broad reaching at 120° TWA under full main and J2 after the Fastnet TSS. Then we changed to the A3, which was the manoeuvre where we lost a lot.” During this period Charal hit her top speed of the race – 33-34 knots.

    Charal passed Bishop Rock to the west of the Scilly Isles at 0630 this morning while behind a four way fight was developing between Banque Populaire, Maître CoQ and Initiatives Coeurs and Bureau Vallée 2.

    Through judicious covering, Charal kept herself between those chasing and the Plymouth breakwater finish line where she arrived at 14:02:28 BST in an elapsed time of 2 days 1 hour 32 minutes 28 seconds (outside of the PRB’s 2011 record of 1 day 23 hours 21 minutes 27 seconds). Impressively this was only around 1.5 hours more than Peter Harrison's Maxi 72 Sorcha, being sailed with a large and talented army of crew. As Beyou observed: “They were gybing a bit better than us…”

    Overall Beyou said of this year’s race: “It was nice – a tough one because every time we were leading, people kept coming back into us. Anyway, we were first which is a good accomplishment for the team, because in the last two races we’ve had to stop. It has been good to see the boat perform in different conditions – upwind, downwind, light wind, strong wind.”

    It was also a good opportunity to learn about their giant foils. As Christopher Pratt noted: “Even if you changed something tiny, it is not a gain of 0.2 knots, it is a gain (or a loss) of 2 knots…”

    More delighted than Beyou was Kevin Escoffier and Solitaire du Figaro winner Nicolas Lunven on board PRB, who finished second. This season Escoffier, who was in Dongfeng Sailing Team’s Volvo Ocean Race-winning crew, has been bequeathed the IMOCA 60 sponsorship of Vendée-based house cladding company PRB. Second place came despite being on a boat with a 2010 vintage hull, albeit fitted with Juan K-designed foils for last year’s Route de Rhum.

    “We had a good start and were leading at the Needles,” recounted Escoffier. “But then we followed the forecast too much because conditions were definitely not what were forecast. We should have gone directly towards the Scillies earlier rather than hunting the new wind. But then we were quite fast reaching to the Fastnet.”

    During the race Escoffier said they had done 32 knots and sometimes 30 constantly. “That was a bit too fast but it was good to practice on the boat and I am very happy to have done so well on my first race as skipper of PRB.”

    The Rolex Fastnet Race was good for its female skippers with Clarisse Cremer on Banque Populaire third and Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur fifth, behind Bureau Vallée 2. At the time of writing Pip Hare and Paul Larsen were lying in 14th and Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire 17th on Campagne de France.

    “I think we deserved more than a fifth place,” said Sam Davies. “There were a couple of mistakes we could have avoided, but it was such fun to send it across the Celtic Sea and back and really try out the boat in conditions that were tough and rough, but not too tough and rough that you had to slow down. It was cool seeing ‘who hoons the fastest’!”

    Like Escoffier, Davies added it was particularly satisfying to see that her boat, which has been fitted with enormous foils over the winter, can now stay up with the 2016 generation foiling boats.

    Their ‘mistakes’ were a bow compartment flood when one of the foil hatches blew off. “There was a water alarm going off, but we knew we’d soon be in the lee at the Fastnet Rock and would slow down. But when I went forward, I got a nasty surprise because the water was up to my thighs! That required a lot of pumping!”

    They also got something caught round their keel and were forced to back down to remove it. “When you are doing 25 knots, you lose about five miles just doing that.”

    Ashore Davies was swaying and just keeping her eyes open. “I’m very tired,” Davies concluded. “But that is normal at the end of the Rolex Fastnet Race. It’s been like that for the last three times I’ve done it. I have never felt as tired as after any other race. Still, I’m happy.”
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  8. #8
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Borlenghi's Best

    Take some of the fastest vessels of various size on earth, mix in a little Irish Sea, Some dramatic
    backdrop like the Fastnet Lighthouse, mix in some magical lighting and put Carlo Borlenghi in a helicopter
    and voila! You get some insane imagery like none other available!

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  9. #9
    IRC 2 first place a JPK 1180, 3 out of 4 top places are JPK's.
    IRC 3 1st place a JPK 1030, 6 out of the top 7 places are JPK's.
    IRC 4 1st place a JPK 1010 and 5 out of the top 8 boats are JPK's.
    Two questions are going to keep me up tonight 1) What the hell are they doing that I'm not doing? (unfortunately this list is probably quite long!) 2) Where's the closest IRC race?

  10. #10
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Blog Entries

    Wizard Claims Fastnet Challenge Cup

    David and Peter Askew's VO70 Wizard is the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

    US Rolex Fastnet Race winner breaks French winning streak
    An American VO70 has continued its phenomenal winning streak to claim the Fastnet Challenge Cup, the overall prize for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. David and Peter Askew, aboard their VO70 Wizard, came out on top under IRC corrected time, beating French boat builder Nicolas Groleau’s perennial entry on their canting keel Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom by 45 minutes. This was despite the 2019 race being the Askew’s first attempt at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s pinnacle 600 mile offshore.

    “To win the race is unbelievable,” said David Askew upon hearing of their latest victory. “Obviously the Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the premier ocean racing events in the world and has a magnificent history going back way before I was born, and I’m an old guy!”

    The Fastnet Challenge Cup is the latest silverware that the Baltimore-based brothers can add to their ever-growing trophy cabinet. A month ago Wizard won the historic Transatlantic Race 2019 and in February claimed the RORC Caribbean 600. Their winning streak started last year when they came out on top in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse division of the Newport Bermuda Race.

    Wizard hit the start line alongside Rambler 88 and 100ft SHK Scallywag © Paul Wyeth/

    Significantly, Wizard’s success brings to an end the string of Rolex Fastnet Race overall victories by French teams that started in 2013 with Pascal and Alexis Loison and concluded in the last race with Didier Gaudoux’s JND39 Lann Ael 2.

    Among maxi boat owners, the Askews are unique. They herald from Detroit and have sailed since they were kids. Once grown up they were part of the Great Lakes big boat sailing scene, competing in the then cutting-edge IOR 50 circuit. They even ran some successful race boats such as a Santa Cruz 70. “Collectively we have a vast amount of experience,” admits David. “We almost don’t know what we know! But looking back, we have been doing this a long time and know how to put these programmes together.”

    In 1985 David competed in his only previous Fastnet Race aboard the Frers 55 Jubilation. “At that time I was completely in awe and I always vowed I’d go back,” he recalls.

    For more than a decade, the brothers stepped away from sailing when they took over the family’s successful chemical company USALCO, got married and started families. However the call of the sea proved too great and in the early 2000s David Askew succumbed and bought a J/120. “I coerced my brother into sailing with me,” he continues. “That started the whole process that resulted in us deciding we wanted to go around the world winning races with a VO70.”

    While they campaigned their Reichel/Pugh 74 Wizard to victory in many races, notably the Chicago-Mackinnac Race and the Barn Door trophy in the Transpac, the present campaign came about when Franck Cammas’ former Volvo Ocean Race winner Groupama 4 was put on the market by her then owner. “About five or six years ago we were wanting to do a transatlantic race and trying to get a boat to do it with. It just happened that the best Volvo 70 probably ever built came available in Sydney, so we hopped on it –bought it, did the Hobart Race and then went from there,” recalls David.

    While they didn’t win that Rolex Sydney Hobart, their present incredible winning streak started the next year.

    The crew of Wizard, whom David Askew credits for a great deal of their current success © Paul Wyeth/

    David Askew attributes the Wizard team’s success to putting the right pieces in place. After buying the boat, the decision was made to employ Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright as sailing master and bring on board an all-star crew. They included Enright’s business partner Mark Towill, with whom he has run two Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, plus former Volvo Ocean Race winners Richard Clarke and Rob Greenhalgh, and leading Australian navigator Will Oxley.

    “I credit it really to everything – the organisation, the capabilities of Charlie Enright, the collective experience of all the crew as well as the two owners and selecting the right tool for the job - the Volvo Open 70,” continues David Askew. “It’s the sum of all the parts that contributed to the result. Plus a little bit of luck!”

    Of their Rolex Fastnet Race win specifically, David says: “Honestly, I never really thought about winning it, or even doing well - just completing the race is a victory of sorts. Obviously we put together the best team that we could assemble. We have a boat that we’ve been campaigning now for two years, that we bought specifically for the purpose of trying to win all the major ocean racing events in the world. And we’ve been having tremendous success.”

    Compared to the previous events they have competed in, David says the Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, to win.

    “Just to win IRC Zero – that exceeded my expectations, just because of the sheer amount of competition. We come over here from the States to have one go at it, but other people (from New York for example…) are doing this race year in, year out and have a lot of experience.

    “[Our winning streak] can’t last forever - you just try to make it last as long as you can. That being said, we definitely have a formula. We decide what we want to do and then find the right machine and the right people to get it done.”

    David and Peter Askew hit the dock for some interviews after winning yet another offshore classic yacht race with their VO70 Wizard © Paul Wyeth/

    As to the Rolex Fastnet Race, Wizard did a fine job keeping Rambler 88 and SHK Scallywag in their rearview mirror for longer than their shorter waterline length should have allowed. Navigator Will Oxley made prompt and intelligent interpretations of what the strange weather was doing in the English Channel, and, as Oxley himself puts it:

    “The crew work was just excellent. Every manoeuvre was done really well. We used all the sails in the right order. We never had the wrong sail up. Charlie made an excellent call that we change directly from the masthead Code 0 to the J2, so we were under-wicked heading out to the Rock for the first hours, but then we didn’t have to do the change from the J1 to the J2. On these boats they are hanked sails and trying to get rid of the J1 and put the J2 up in those conditions is very difficult so that was another key moment.”

    From here Wizard heads for the Rolex Middle Sea Race to see if she can apply her winning formula to that race.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts