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The party has started

Lithuanian Volvo 60, Ambersail competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2011. Photo: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiBy 9 am on Thursday morning, 70 yachts had completed the Rolex Fastnet Race. A steady stream of yachts came in during the night, 52 in just 12 hours.

The first ever Lithuanian yacht to compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Ambersail, finished just after 6.30 pm. The yacht has been on a three-year odyssey to celebrate a thousand years of their country's history. After completing a circumnavigation in 2009, Ambersail competed in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland before sailing the boat across the Atlantic to take part in the RORC Caribbean 600. The Volvo 60 then raced back to Britain in the Transatlantic Race in order to take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Ambersail skipper, Simonas Steponavicius has competed in all of the above.

"The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the races that any offshore sailor just has to do," enthused Simonas. "I don't think any Lithuanian has ever competed in this great race, now there are 15 of us and we know that our friends back at home want to compete in the future. We have always dreamed of doing the race and now I know why, it has been running for so long. It is a fantastic race, very tactical and complex. It has something of everything; working the tide, understanding the effects of land on the wind, ocean racing and some fantastic conditions.

The crew on Ambersail have come a long way in the last few years, when we started we could barely sail the boat, now we feel that we can handle the boat very well. Unfortunately, we will not be able to come to the prize giving as we have a match racing event back in Lithuania, it will be great to compete against each other! I would like to thank the Royal Ocean Racing Club for the Rolex Fastnet Race, I hope that Lithuania has added another page in its history."

It was a busy night in the Pantaenius Bar, as hundreds of thirsty sailors descended on the waterside tavern. Of special note was the crew of Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders. Venomous scored a tenth place but their performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race has secured a Class Zero win in the RORC Season's Points Championship. Three generations of the Saunders family were in the Pantaenius Bar. Joining Derek was his son Mark and his grandson, Alexander, who at just three months old was most definitely the youngest guest last night. Young Alexander is obviously a sound sleeper as he slept through quite a party, including an awesome air-guitar display by Venomous crewman Stefan Hilton.

The Rolex Fastnet Race attracts people from all over the world and the Pantaenius Bar was filled with the sound of accents from the four corners of the globe, swapping stories of their adventures in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Plymouth laid on a fantastic firework display for them last night, in the guise of the final of the British Fireworks Championship and the maritime city also supplied a deluge of rain this morning, to wash down the ever-increasing bevy of yachts that have completed the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Race Office at the Finish

  • Shaw Way, Mount Batten, Plymouth
  • +44 (0) 1983 295 144
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Race Office at the Start

  • 82 High Street, Cowes
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