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Two’s Company: Large Two Handed Fleet

Nick Martin's J/105, Diablo-J Photo: Peter Mumford/Beken of CowesTwo-Handed racing has seen a rise in popularity in offshore racing and the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race certainly reflects this with 31 entries this year. Nick Martin, RORC Rear Commodore will compete in his 5th Fastnet with his J/105, Diablo-J, four of which have been Two-Handed. Diablo-J is currently at the top of the RORC Season's Points Championship leaderboard in this class:

"We've all been inspired by the great solo sailors of our time and RORC's Two-Handed Class continues to support and provide the opportunity for many of us, typically corinthian sailors with full-time careers, to experience challenging and adventurous competitive racing. An extensive program allows us to pitch ourselves against IRC boats of all classes, both Two-Handed and fully crewed alike. It's highly rewarding, especially when you finish ahead of fully-crewed boats," explains Nick. "It is the dream of many sailors to qualify & compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race, so to achieve this in arguably the most challenging class, can be regarded as a pinnacle for many. It's fantastic that we have attracted a large fleet this year and in my opinion, this has become the most competitive of all fleets."

Peter Olden grew up in Southern Ireland where the famous Fastnet Rock stands. Ever since he can remember it has been his ambition to take part in the Fastnet Race. This year his dream will come true, competing in his A35, Solan Goose of Hamble. Commenting on the increase in popularity of two-handed racing in offshore races Peter said: "The challenge of racing double-handed is probably the main factor, particularly in a long distance race where many hours will involve sailing the boat single-handed. The logistics, time and cost of getting a crew fully trained, qualified and equipped, particularly for the modern Fastnet Race are significant. I am certain this is a key driver. Technology has also played its part, for example, modern plotters, computers and AIS save a great deal of time and anxiety, also modern autopilots (properly calibrated) will do amazing work".

Matthias Kracht on the JPK 9.60, Ultreia! recently won the Myth of Malham Race in the Two-Handed Class. He says their first aim is: "To finish the race which is still a monument among the offshore races, a kind of Everest for French sailors. We will give our best, weather permitting. The Two-Handed division is certainly one of the classes that will develop over the next few years. It is almost the perfect match for all-round sailors, as part of the race, especially in long races like the Fastnet, is sailed almost single-handed but with the security of having a perfect partner on board. It is a long race, made to test endurance, vigilance and is as much about teamwork as with a full crew. It gives you perfect understanding of your partner, and obviously you need to have complete confidence in them. I am very lucky with Renaud Courbon, because all serious decisions are constantly discussed on board during the races. We would like to do some good clean sailing, and if we finish in a good time, in the Two-Handed Class as well as in IRC 4, we would be more than happy; obviously the Rolex Fastnet is the major race in the RORC Championship."

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