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Race Updates 2009

A full house in Sutton Harbour - All yachts finished

Yachts in Sutton HarbourAll competitors in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race have now safely arrived in Plymouth, with the final boats finishing overnight and early this morning. This classic race has now come to a successful close as the remaining crews are left to swap stories on the dockside at Sutton Harbour before heading back to their home ports. Whether they return clutching a piece of silverware or not, all competitors in the 608nm race will take with them a sense of pride and achievement at completing the course, which this year was tactically challenging and long.

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Everyone a winner

Sutton Harbour, Plymouth Photo: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiNiklas and Catherine Zennström were rightly very proud to win the prestigious Fastnet Trophy. The oldest ‘Blue Ribbon' trophy has over 80 years of yacht racing history etched on its plinth. "Team RÁN put an enormous amount of effort into this race, we were lucky with the weather but we did not leave anything to chance, the team worked extremely hard especially ion preparation and we sailed almost perfectly, I would especially like to mention Steve (Hayles) who did a fantastic job navigating on RÁN. The Zennström's received a fantastic ovation from a packed marquee at the Royal Citadel overlooking Plymouth Sound and rightly so, the couple always race on the boat and treat their stellar crew as an extension of their family, they are a credit to the sport.

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Rolex Fastnet Race Prizegiving at Royal Citadel

2009-rfr-niklas-and-catherine-zennstrom-roger-maingot-rolex-andrew-mcirvineFriday afternoon and at the time of the Rolex Fastnet Race prizegiving at Plymouth's Royal Citadel, one third of the competitors still remain at sea. Of 299 starters, nine have retired and 194 have reached Plymouth, leaving 106 yet to finish.

While Niklas Zennstrom's Ran 2 has won the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race overall under IRC and in IRC SZ, so Amanda Hartley and Jamie Olazabel's Swan 56 La Floresta Del Mar, claimed IRC Z. Meanwhile the three smallest IRC classes looked set throughout this race to be a clean sweep for France, until the very last few miles of sailing for the Class 3 leaders late this morning. At 1200 GMT, when Fabrice Amedeo's promising X-332 Bateaux Mouches du Pont de l'Alma had just six miles left to go, she was rudely pipped at the post on handicap by David Lees' High Tension 36, Hephzibah, storming towards the finish line, 17 miles astern of her. The final results of IRC Class 3 are yet to be decided.

A win in IRC Class 2, conducted with equally clinical precision to that of the seasoned pros on Ran 2, was that of the team on Prime Time, owned by the trio of Jerome Huillard, and brothers Jerome and Marc Alperovitch. Having previously campaigned an X-302 they traded up to their present A-35 yacht one and a half years ago with the specific aim of racing it offshore, the highlight of their program being the Rolex Fastnet Race.

"The perception is that it is a very well-known race," confided Marc Alperovitch of how the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial classic is viewed across ‘la Manche'. "This impression comes from the 1979 race and people are aware that there were casualties. I think it is a race with a significant impact, particularly within the sailing community – they all know it is a difficult and competitive event."

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Race round up 1100 12th Aug 2009

La Foresta del mar Photo: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiAmanda Hartley's Swan 56, La Foresta del mar was the surprise winner in IRC Zero beating the highly fancied Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens owned by 26 time Fastnet veteran Piet Vroon. La Foresta del mar was crewed by some of the worlds finest Spanish sailors including Jordi Cafalat and Guillermo Atadil. Sir Geoffrey Mulcay's Swan 56, Noonmark VI is third.

Loday & Nicoleau, Grand Soleil 43, Codiam, look to have clinched IRC 1 with Cyrille Legloahec's A 40, Batistyl and Andrew McIrvine's Corby 36, Quokka VII, currently second and third respectfully. All three yachts are now in.

Alperovitch & Huillard's A 35, Prime Time, are still holding court in Class IRC 2 with David Walters' J 39, Jackdaw in second and Yannick Richomme's Grand Soleil 40, Captain Blind in third, all three of these yachts are safely tucked up in Sutton Harbour but most of the class are still at sea. These three yachts look set to take the podium positions in class.

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