Skippered by Charles Caudrelier, the Chinese Dongfeng Race Team will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race as Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race © Benoit Stichelbaut

Skippered by Charles Caudrelier, the Chinese Dongfeng Race Team will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race as Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race © Benoit Stichelbaut

 

Among the 400 boat fleet setting off from the Solent on 6 August in the Rolex Fastnet Race will be three of offshore racing’s most prestigious classes.

Grabbing the headlines will be the one design VO65s as the Rolex Fastnet Race serves as Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race and it will be the first occasion the teams will have lined up in anger. Among the seven, three teams competed in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race: 2nd placed Team Brunel; the Chinese Dongfeng Race Team, third last time and the Spanish MAPFRE team, which finished fourth. In one designs, experience is everything so these teams will have the edge, but crew from other boats in the last race have been distributed across the new teams too.

Dongfeng Race Team benefitted from being first to get sailing this time, picked their boat up post-refit late January. They have several of the same crew and have focussed more on the competition this time, says skipper Charles Caudrelier. “Last time we spent the first five months in China doing crew selection. We put 30% of our time into performance. This time we put in 70%.”
This year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will be Caudrelier’s third. In 2011, on the VO70 Groupama, they finished just behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, whose time of 32 hours and 39 minutes remains the monohull record. “I like the race because it is interesting – short and complicated with lots of transitions,” says Caudrelier.
While Dongfeng is a favourite, late to the party is Turn the Tide on Plastic, skippered by Dee Caffari, their campaign was only announced mid-June.
Caffari is a big fan of the Rolex Fastnet having completed her first on a Challenge boat in 2001. She was on Team SCA two years ago:  “It is an ocean classic everyone wants to do. It covers such a range of boats and sailors, it is like an oceanic version of Round the Island Race.”
Having competed many times in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Sam Davies will be in the driving seat of Tanguy de Lamotte’s IMOCA 60, Initiatives Coeur ( Photo © Initiatives Coeur )

Having competed many times in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Sam Davies will be in the driving seat of Tanguy de Lamotte’s IMOCA 60, Initiatives Coeur ( Photo © Initiatives Coeur )

 

Former Team SCA skipper Sam Davies has returned to the IMOCA 60 class. She has taken over the Initiatives Coeur campaign from Tanguy de Lamotte but the two are sailing together for the rest of 2017.
 “Everyone is happy Sam’s in the driving seat. It is a great continuation for the project,” says de Lamotte. Davies, who also raced with de Lamotte in 2015, said: “I am very excited Tanguy gave me this opportunity. It is a project that I know every well – a cool boat, a cool team and cool charity project to be involved.” It supports Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, which funds operations on children born with heart defects. They are sailing the foil-assisted IMOCA 60 that finished the last Vendée Globe in third.
As with the other eight IMOCA 60s competing, they are racing the Rolex Fastnet Race doublehanded. Before sailing the race together in 2015, de Lamotte won it twice in the Class40, while Davies’ first race was in 1995 on a Sun Legend 41 and she has done it countless times since.
They are up against the boats which finished first and second in the Vendée Globe: Bureau Vallée 2 (ex-Banque Populaire) campaigned by Louis Burton and Servane Escoffier, and Alex Thomson and Irish sailor Nicholas O’Leary on Hugo Boss.
For Thomson, the Rolex Fastnet Race has played a huge part in his sailing career. “My first was in 1995 on a Sigma 36 called British Eagle – it took just over seven days – but in that race I found my love for offshore racing. That’s the great thing about the Fastnet – it introduces people to proper offshore racing.” The 2003 race was the first occasion Thomson sailed under the colours of Hugo Boss, preluding a 14 year sponsorship deal.
This time, Thomson who is sailing with Nicholas O’Leary is hoping to beat the other IMOCA 60s but is bullish about taking on the larger boats in his foil-assisted weapon. “Downwind we’re quicker than a VO65 and if you give us the right conditions (22-25 knots, broad reaching) we can beat Rambler, but in the Fastnet you don’t get to choose the weather you sail in.”
Most significant in the Rolex Fastnet Race’s non-IRC line-up is the 34 boat Class40 fleet. In this are a mix of pro sailors and enthusiastic amateurs and boats ranging from state of the art reaching machines to old production boats. It is also one of the most international line-ups including Russia and Japan, Sweden, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, South Africa and Oman.
The Rolex Fastnet Race will see 34 Class40s compete, including the newest, Louis Duc's Carac (150) ( Photo © Christophe Breschi )

The Rolex Fastnet Race will see 34 Class40s compete, including the newest, Louis Duc’s Carac (150) ( Photo © Christophe Breschi )

 

The Rolex Fastnet Race will be the first event for the newest, most radical Class40. Louis Duc’s Carac (150) is a Marc Lombard design and has the highest volume bow permitted under the Class40 rule. The latest models from all the leading Class40 designers are competing such as Brieuc Maisonneuve’s Cap Des Palmes, a Guillaume Verdier Tizh 40; Norwegian Henrik Bergesen’s Hydra, a brand new Owen Clarke design; two new Sam Manuard-designed Mach 40 Mk3s, Maxime Sorel’s V And B and Catherine Pourre’s Eärendil.

President of the Class40, Halvard Mabire, is racing Campagne de France, a new boat to his own design, with his English partner Miranda Merron. Mabire’s first Fastnet was in 1977. “It was on a small plywood boat with hard chines. It was one of the slowest Fastnets in history – very very light all the way. I did it again in 1979, which was not the same story.” He has since done the race as part of the Admiral’s Cup and on a Maxi One Design. “The Fastnet is one of the oldest races. It is very nice to have this race – we know it will happen every two years. It is good that the RORC opened it to multihulls, IMOCA 60s and Class40s.”
As to the form, the favourite is, for once, not French, but from the Channel Islands. Following his 2006 Route du Rhum victory, Phil Sharp has returned to the Class 40. His yacht Imerys currently leads the 2017 Class40 championship, following their second place in the recent Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables race.
Jersey's Phil Sharp on Imerys currently leads the 2017 Class40 championship ( Photo © Andy Le Gresley )

Jersey’s Phil Sharp on Imerys currently leads the 2017 Class40 championship (Photo
© Andy Le Gresley )

The Rolex Fastnet Race starts from off Cowes at 1100 on 6 August.
How to follow:
  • All the latest news, race updates, video, photos, blogs from the boats + Live streaming of the starts: Race minisite: http://fastnet.rorc.org/
  • Twitter: #rolexfastnetrace @RORCracing
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/royaloceanracingclub
  • Instagram: instagram.com/rorcracing
  • Coverage on Fastnet TV & Radio: Cowes – 87.7fm, Plymouth – 87.9fm and online http://879fm.uk/
  •  Virtual Regatta – check the race minisite closer to the start to sign up for the game
Spindrift 2 takes Line Honours at the Rolex Fastnet 2015  (photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyu Images)

Image licensed to Lloyd Images
Rolex Fastnet 2015. Pictures of the 131ft Maxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 skippered by Yann Guichard (FRA) and Donna Beraterelli (Sui) pictured taking line honours as the cross the finish line this evening

On August 18th at 23:57:41 (CET),The maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 was the first boat across the finish line in Plymouth in the 46th Rolex Fastnet Race after a thrilling tactical race in an unusually calm Celtic Sea. For 58 hours, Dona Bertarelli’s and Yann Guichard’s crew raced through erratic winds within sight of their closest rivals, who chased them all the way to the finish line. It was a race full of twists and turns, even in the last few miles, before Spindrift 2 sealed her second victory in as many years. The ocean-going black-and-gold trimaran is better suited to the winds of the Southern Ocean than the unusually calm conditions of this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, but the French and Swiss crew successfully negotiated this test of teamwork and endurance, which came with just a few months to go until their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy.

Image licensed to Lloyd Images "Spindrift 2" the 100ft Maxi Trimaran skippered by Dona Bertarelli & Yann Guichard shown here at the start of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. Cowes. Isle of Wight (photo by LLoyd Images)

Image licensed to Lloyd Images
“Spindrift 2” the 100ft Maxi Trimaran skippered by Dona Bertarelli & Yann Guichard shown here at the start of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. Cowes. Isle of Wight
(photo by LLoyd Images)

It’s always a pleasure to come back to this legendary course,” explained Dona Bertarelli at the finish. “The light, unpredictable winds made it all the more difficult. We had to use every last gust to make headway. The race required determination, endurance and teamwork. We had to perform a lot of manoeuvres and we had to test the changes made to prepare the boat for the Jules Verne Trophy. The results were positive from a technical point of view, because our power increased by 20% at certain points of sail.” 

Yann Guichard also spoke about the race: “It was my second Fastnet Race and it’s always very exciting to sail around Fastnet Rock. It was a long, slow race, but we learnt a great deal. We saw that the boat is now much quicker in light winds. It was the first race for Spindrift 2 in her new configuration. We’ve got quite a few small tweaks to do here and there. It was a very useful exercise as part of our preparations for the around-the-world record attempt.

Shortly after finishing the race in Plymouth, the trimaran headed back out to sea to return to her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, which she is expected to reach on Wednesday during the day.

Message from the board here.

View the pictures of Spindrift 2 on the Fastnet Race here.

Technical specifications:
Name: maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2
Central hull length: 40 m
Length of floats: 37 m
Beam: 23 m
Displacement: 21.50 t
Draft: 5.10 m
Air draft: 45 m
Mast height: 42 m
Mainsail: 405 m²
Gennaker max: 560 m²
Gennaker medium: 450 m²
Gennaker mini: 360 m²
Reacher: 260 m²
Staysail: 170 m²
ORC: 75 m²

Maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 schedule:
September – October
Training aboard Spindrift 2.

Jules Verne Trophy
Around-the-world record attempt starting from Ouessant Island (Brittany, France) and circumnavigating the world, passing Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn to port. The current record was set on January 6th, 2012 by the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V (Loïck Peyron and thirteen crew members) in a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, averaging 19.75 knots.

Spindrift 2, Onboard, Fastnet Race (Photo by Yann Riou)

Spindrift 2, Onboard, Fastnet Race (Photo by Yann Riou)

 

 

The Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at Hurst Castle Lighthouse. The spectacular fleet fills the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland shores © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at Hurst Castle Lighthouse. The spectacular fleet fills the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland shores © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Two months out from the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has made public the latest entry list for its biennial 600 mile race from Cowes to Plymouth, via the Fastnet Rock, starting at noon on Sunday 16th August.

 The entry list makes for impressive reading in terms of scale, diversity and quality of the fleet taking part, confirming the Rolex Fastnet Race’s position as the world’s biggest and most popular offshore race by far.

As of today there are 387 boats entered with a further 74 on the waiting list. If all the boats currently entered were put bow to stern, the line from Cowes would stretch two thirds of the way across the Solent to the mainland (1635.75m).

The bulk of the fleet – 340 entries to be precise – are competing under IRC for the race’s overall prize, the Fastnet Challenge Cup. With the two American maxis: Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s 100ft Comanche and George David’s Rambler 88, due to be the pace setters on the water, the IRC fleet will, in due course, be divided into classes and class sub-divisions.

The remaining 47 are not competing under IRC but represent some of the world’s leading professional race boat classes. These include the latest generation foil-born IMOCA 60s, lining up for their first major event in the build-up to next year’s Vendée Globe, plus a large and highly competitive fleet of Class40s. Then there is the 13 strong multihull class featuring Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s 40m long trimaran, Spindrift 2, the world’s fastest offshore sailing yacht; in 2009 she covered 908.2 nm (ie 50% further than the Rolex Fastnet Race course) in 24 hours at an average speed of 37.84 knots and in 2011, as Banque Populaire V, set the Rolex Fastnet Race multihull record.

The average size of yacht competing in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race is 44.34ft (13.52m) with Spindrift 2 being the largest multihull, Comanche and Leopard the longest monohulls at 100ft and at the smallest end of the fleet, three 30ft yachts including Myles and Ashley Perrin’s Capo 30, Santana from California.

In IRC rating terms, Comanche and Rambler 88 lead the charge with Time Correction Coefficients (TCC) of 1.973 and 1.869 respectively, while the slowest boat in the fleet is Tony Harwood’s Nicholson 38, Volante,on 0.864 (the minimum permitted TCC this year is 0.850).

An impressive 52 entries are sailing two handed, up from 45 in 2013 when the race was won for the first time in its history by a two handed crew: French father and son, Pascal and Alexis Loison aboard their JPK 10.10,Night and Day.

Hoping to emulate the Loisins’ performance this year is another father and son crew, Derek and Conor Dillon from Listowel in southwest Ireland, who are competing on their Dehler 34, Big Deal. Despite owning the boat for 10 years and campaigning her in many regattas in Ireland, the Dillons have only recently ventured into offshore racing, but nonetheless won the Two Handed class in last year’s Round Ireland Race. With the Fastnet Rock on their doorstep in Kerry, the RORC’s flagship event was an obvious ambition.

Conor Dillon will race Two Handed with his Father Derek on their Dehler 34, Big Deal.
© Dillon Family

As Conor puts it: “We have rounded the Fastnet many times and always dreamed of doing it in the Rolex Fastnet Race. This will be a memorable moment for us for sure. I just hope it happens in day time…

“Every year we are trying to go bigger and bolder. This is an opportunity to compete in a legendary race against the best the world has to offer as well as, of course, making lifetime memories together. There are some seriously talented sailors in this race. You can give it your absolute all, and still not touch the leaders.”

Among the present line-up 180 boats will be competing in the race for the first time, while 163 took part in 2013. Some of the most regular participants are Dutch old hands such as Piet Vroon, winner of the race in 2001 and, at the tender age of 85, back this year with his latest yacht, Tonnerre 4. Then there’s Harry Heijst who has raced his classic Royal Huisman-built S&S 41, Winsome, in seven Fastnets, the first back in 1999.

“The most memorable Rolex Fastnet Race for us was in 2005 when we won Class 2 and came fourth overall,” recalls Heijst. “We were looking good for a first overall until three Class 4 boats suddenly got a lot wind at the Lizard and beat us in.”

Harry Heijst's Winsome
Harry Heijst’s Royal Huisman-built S&S 41, Winsome competing in the RORC Easter Challenge earlier this year
© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2015, the RORC, for the first time, gave their members priority entry to the race. RORC Commodore Michael Boyd expressed the delight of the club at the overwhelming interest in its flagship event: “Naturally, we are delighted with the enormous interest in the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. We now expect almost 400 starters and may have to disappoint many currently on the waiting list.  Of course, there is a way to avoid a let-down in 2017…join RORC! I will be aboard Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, in IRC 2 as we continue our ‘joint adventure’ and we hope to have our cruising boat, Southerly, to welcome finishers in Plymouth.”

Michael Board on board Olivia,Contessa 32 at the RYS Fleet Review © Olivia Chenevix-Trench.jpeg
RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd on board Contessa 32, Olivia at the recent RYS Fleet Review bicentenary celebrations
© Olivia Chenevix-Trench
Fastnet Light ( Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex )

Fastnet Light ( Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex )

The Royal Yacht Squadron and the New York Yacht Club, in
association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm
Trysail Club, announce the Transatlantic Race 2011.
Participation may be in the Racing, Racing/Cruising or
Classic Yacht Divisions. Minimum LOA is 40’ and minimum
crew size 4. There are no maximums. A separate class within
Racing/Cruising may be offered for Superyachts with LOA
greater than 100’. Other class assignments will be made
consistent with participation.
The race is principally for yachts rated under IRC but level
racing classes such as Volvo 70, IMOCA 60 and Class40 may
be included at the discretion of the organizing yacht clubs.
The race will be subject to the Racing Rules of Sailing (except
as modified by IRPCAS governing racing after sunset) and
the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, Category 1.
Race start will be in Newport, Rhode Island. Class/division
starts will be staggered from June 26th through July 3rd
consistent with anticipated race course times by classes.
The finish will be at the Lizard, west of Plymouth, England.
The New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court in Newport
and the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes anticipate welcoming
competing yachts at scheduled events on departure and
arrival.
Prizes will be awarded for class and division finishes, for
individual and team entries, and will be suitable for a race
of this magnitude. Corrected times and line honors will be
recognized.

The race will be subject to the current Racing Rules of Sailing, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) and the 2010-2011 ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, Category 1.

The New York Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, also announce a complementary companion series: the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series 2011, in concert with the following clubs: Royal Malta Yacht Club, Carolina Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Montego Bay Yacht Club, Lauderdale Yacht Club, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, Jamaica Yachting Association, Charleston Ocean Racing Association and Antigua Yacht Club.

There will be eight races in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. Three races, including the Transatlantic Race 2011, will be required to qualify. Races will be weighted equally with the exception of the Transatlantic Race 2011 that will be weighted 1.5 times. Cox-Sprague points will be awarded within individual races in the series to accommodate differences in fleet sizes. A yacht will be scored in the series using its two best finishes in addition to the Transatlantic Race 2011.

The eight qualifying races and their starting dates are:

Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race February 5, 2011
RORC Caribbean 600 February 21, 2011
Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston Race end March/early April, 2011
Annapolis to Newport Race June 3, 2011
Transatlantic Race 2011 June 26 through July 3, 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race August 14, 2011
Biscay Race September, 2011
Rolex Middle Sea Race October 22, 2011

Participation in each qualifying race will be subject to the NOR and Sailing Instructions as established by that race’s sponsoring yacht club or clubs. Yacht clubs may enter teams in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series and will accordingly be included as participating yacht clubs.

Prizes will be awarded for individual and team entries and will be suitable for a series of this magnitude. The Atlantic Ocean Racing Trophy will be awarded to the overall winner.