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Girl power rules as Team SCA moves into the lead in the Rolex Fastnet Race

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Rolex Fastnet Race: The mainly female crew on Team SCA powers onwards. Photo: Rolex/Kurt ArrigoNow downwind, homeward bound back from the Fastnet Rock, the overall IRC leadership has shifted in favour of the bigger boats. With this, there is some excitement sparking up around the Rolex Fastnet Race Village at Plymouth Yacht Haven with the women's Volvo Ocean Race team, Team SCA, moving into first position. This morning the pink VO70 had edged ahead in the IRC Canting Keel class, and this afternoon they have taken the overall lead.

However they are being seriously threatened by the all-male crew led by Ian Walker on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, currently just over a mile astern of Team SCA. While there are three male coaches sailing on board Team SCA, including Kiwi veteran and multiple Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson, the rest of the crew is female.

Former Olympian, multiple Laser Radial and Europe World Champion and Volvo Ocean Race sailor, Carolijn Brouwer, is on board, along with British Vendée Globe sailor Sam Davies and Olympic match racer Annie Lush. "We are currently ahead - it is very close, very exciting!" said Brouwer. "We have them [Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing] in sight for the whole night and they are just to windward behind us a little bit. It has been very competitive racing so far."

Brouwer, originally from the Netherlands, who was helming Team SCA at the start, said that although the Rolex Fastnet Race was the team's first official race, for the crew it represented another step in their training for next year's round the world race.

"We are in 9-10 knots of breeze and conditions are very, very tricky," Brouwer continued. "We have been doing a lot of manoeuvres and a fair few changes - we are just focusing on keeping them clean and tidy." They have used being in contact with the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing VO70 to compare their performance. "Conditions are extremely tricky and it will only get trickier the closer we get to Plymouth. We just need to keep focused and keep chugging along, like we have over the last couple of days and hopefully it will all turn out okay."

At 1600 BST, Team SCA had 120 miles to go and was 27 miles from Bishop Rock to the west of the Scilly Isles.

Read more... [Girl power rules as Team SCA moves into the lead in the Rolex Fastnet Race]
 

Who will win the Fastnet Challenge Cup?

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Rolex Fastnet Race fleet leaving Lands End on the way to the Rock. Photo:Rolex/Kurt ArrigoWith nearly the entire 293 strong IRC fleet stretched across the Celtic Sea, calculating who may win the Fastnet Challenge Cup, after time correction, is a complex conundrum. However with VOR70, Team SCA, rounding the Fastnet Rock in an elapsed time of 37hrs 29min 37sec, we now have a reference point to gauge how the entire IRC fleet is faring.

The two 100 foot Maxis, Esimit Europa 2 and ICAP Leopard, have an estimated finish of Midnight tonight, the two goliaths are wrestling for Monohull Line Honours but an overall win on time correction is also a possibility. Esimit Europa 2 is over 12 miles ahead of ICAP Leopard on the water and is expected to pull away downwind in light airs. It is highly likely that given the present conditions, Esimit Europa 2 will take the gun and in doing so will be leading the race after time correction. Currently the two VO70s, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team SCA are locked in a private duel but neither is likely to eclipse Esimit Europa 2 after time correction.

Read more... [Who will win the Fastnet Challenge Cup?]
 

A case of quick quick slow for fastest boat in the world

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Night Owls, Winning Crew on Spindrift 2 at finish line of Rolex Fastnet Race. Photo:Rolex/Kurt ArrigoA case of quick quick slow for fastest boat in the world

The world's two fastest offshore racing trimarans had to endure the world's slowest finish in the early hours of this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Having jockeyed for the lead since leaving the Solent on Sunday, the Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard co-skippered Spindrift 2 was ahead past the Lizard in the early hours of this morning, only for the wind to switch off within two miles of the finish. Even the world's largest racing trimaran, with her 47m tall wingmast, was unable to find any wind when it counted.

As she parked, with Plymouth tantalisingly near, Armel le Cleac'h and the crew of the 31.5m trimaran Banque Populaire were able to ghost in. As the navigation lights on the French Vendée Globe hero's maxi-trimaran grew ever bigger, at one point closing to within half a mile, it looked like she might sail around Spindrift 2. However, at the last moment, the frontrunner found the lightest zephyr to ghost across the finish line at 02.53.58 BST.

Due to the upwind and light conditions this year, Spindrift 2's elapsed time of 38 hours 53 minutes and 58 seconds was more than six hours slower than the course record that this same boat managed in the race two years ago.

Despite being so close, it was another 22 minutes 41 seconds before Banque Populaire crossed the line.

Read more... [A case of quick quick slow for fastest boat in the world]
 

Newsflash: Spindrift 2 takes Multihull Division Line Honours in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race

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Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, co-skippers of Spindrift 2, a VPLP 131 Trimaran racing in the Multihull Division, crossed the finish line of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race at the Plymouth Breakwater at 02.53.58 BST on Tuesday 13th August after an elapsed time of 38hr 53m 58s.

The order of finishers & results from the Rolex Fastnet Race will be posted on the official race website here.

More information will follow in our Morning Update.

 

A close knit Rock rounding led by Spindrift 2

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Spindrift 2 rounding the Fastnet Rock. Photo: Rolex/Kurt ArrigoAn intriguing dust-up is taking place between the world's fastest racing yachts competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

After an excellent start, the 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, led the Multihull division along the south coast of England last night, but earlier this morning off Land's End it was the Sidney Gavignet-skippered MOD70, Oman Air-Musandam, that had moved into the first place, despite being half Spindrift's length. Crossing the Celtic Sea, it was then the turn of the 31.5m trimaran, Banque Populaire, to edge ahead. But at the Fastnet Rock, Spindrift 2, just managed to get her nose in front, rounding at 14.03:08 BST with the Armel le Cleac'h skippered Banque Populaire right on her transom.

"It is a great match," enthused Spindrift 2's co-skipper, Yann Guichard, this afternoon. "Right now, Banque Populaire is just 300m to windward and we are doing the same speed and the same angle."

In theory the bigger boat should be faster, but Guichard says that in the 18-19 knot winds they have, the smaller Banque Populaire benefits from being lighter. "We are too heavy, so it is really close. We gybed first and she gybed just to windward, so it is like a match race - it is definitely not over yet."

Read more... [A close knit Rock rounding led by Spindrift 2]
 

French boats hold the upper hand in the Rolex Fastnet Race

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STOP PRESS: Prince De Bretagne retired 0800 today due to technical problems, all on board are ok.

Despite having been upwind since the start, the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet has been making excellent progress down the south coast of the UK since yesterday's start.

There have been no retirements overnight, and to date, just four boats from 335 starters have officially dropped out. The most dramatic was the grounding of the brand new Cayman Islands-registered Botin 65, Caro, which went hard onto Salt Mead Ledge at the top of the tide yesterday afternoon. She has since been pulled off but has been forced to retire back to Endeavour Quay in Gosport.

The Clipper 68, New York, retired after suffering a fire on board and didn't make the start. The Farr 52, Toe in the Water, withdrew yesterday afternoon when a winch pulled out of her deck. The Royal Navy Nicholson 55, Dasher, is also out after another boat collided with her.

At 0130 BST this morning, Sidney Gavignet's crew on board the Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 trimaran led the substantially larger Armel le Cléac'h-skippered Banque Populaire past Land's End, hugging the shore this morning. Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's even larger 40m long Spindrift 2 chose a different route to the west, only tacking north once they were south of the Scilly Isles. The lead trio remains close with the Omani MOD70 a nose ahead.

Read more... [French boats hold the upper hand in the Rolex Fastnet Race]
 

Bunch up in Poole Bay – Rolex Fastnet Race sets sail from Cowes

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The IRC Class 4 Fleet at the start of the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Photo:Rolex/Kurt ArrigoOff Cowes, the rain stopped and the sun came out for today's start of the world's largest offshore race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial Rolex Fastnet Race. In the end, 335 boats set sail for Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off south-west Ireland, with 292 racing for overall honours under IRC rating and a further 43 non-IRC boats.

As is tradition, the start was upwind into a West-South Westerly that for the first starts was around 10 knots, but slowly built to 15 as the sea breeze developed.

First away were the Multihulls, including the world's two fastest trimarans, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's 40m long, Spindrift 2, and Armel le Cleac'h's 31.5m, Banque Populaire, with the latter very late starting. Meanwhile the Sidney Gavignet-skippered, Oman Air-Musandam, was charging along up the mainland shore. Four hours in and Gavignet's team had managed to fend off the two larger trimarans as well as the new 80ft, Prince de Bretagne, trimaran campaigned by double Route du Rhum winner Lionel Lemonchois.

Read more... [Bunch up in Poole Bay – Rolex Fastnet Race sets sail from Cowes]
 

Replay of the Live TV at the start

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Click here for larger Player Window [Replay of the Live TV at the start]
 

How to watch the start

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Rolex Fastnet Race Start - Royal Yacht Squadron. Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi The 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Sunday 11th August from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes with an impressive 347 competing yachts.

The first of eight starts is scheduled for 1200 with the magnificent multihulls speeding away towards the Western Solent. The last start is scheduled for 1350 with the high performance yachts powering through the racing fleet.

On Land

The best places to watch the start will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade. Spectators will also be able to listen to the live commentary on Fastnet Radio on the speakers along Cowes Parade and The Green. As the fleet funnels out of the Solent there will also be good fleet viewing from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, and Hurst Castle on the mainland.

On Water

Spectator boats can watch the start in a specially created zone between the shore and Gurnard Buoy.

On Air

Fastnet TV:

For the first time in the history of the race, live TV coverage of the Rolex Fastnet start sequence will be broadcast from the RORC Fastnet web site: http://fastnet.rorc.org

Fastnet Radio:

Broadcasting live on 87.7fm on start day from 1145 with race commentary from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line and out on the water. Fastnet Radio will also be available on line at: http://fastnet.rorc.org

Read more... [How to watch the start]
 

French dominate the non-IRC classes

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Macif skippered by Francois Gabart. Photo: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd ImagesFrance is probably the world's top nation when it comes to offshore racing with events such as the singlehanded round the world race, the Vendée Globe, and classes like the IMOCA 60, Class40 and Figaro. In addition to their domination of many of the IRC classes, French boats also represent the majority in the non-IRC classes competing in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, which sets sail from Cowes tomorrow from 12 noon BST.

This year's biennial race to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland, features some of the very best sailors from across the Channel, including Michel Desjoyeaux, PRB skipper Vincent Riou and François Gabart. Between them, they have won the last four Vendée Globe races. The podium finishers from the 2012-3 Vendée Globe are all taking part, with Gabart back on his winning IMOCA 60, MACIF, Alex Thomson on his third-placed Hugo Boss, while second placed Armel le Cleac'h, has graduated up to skipper of the 31.5m long trimaran, Banque Populaire.

Read more... [French dominate the non-IRC classes]
 
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Rolex Fastnet Race 2015

Start:
Sunday 16th August 2015

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