Rolex Fastnet Race 2001
The winner of the Fastnet Challenge Cup, for Best Overall in IRC was Piet Vroon from Holland, racing his Lutra 52, Tonnerre de Breskens. Piet took 3 days 02hrs 23mins and 31secs to complete the course, winning it for the first time in 20 attempts.
The excitement of the start was heightened by 28 knots of wind and square beating conditions. A decent breeze prevailed to enable some boats to stay offshore at Portland Bill. However, the fleet split and the front of the fleet experienced totally different weather patterns to the middle and back markers.
For mid fleet boats a South Westerly breeze became a North Westerly at the Fastnet Rock to give them a fast reach home. The tail end of the fleet even experienced a South Easterly as they came inshore form the Lizard into Plymouth, meaning that some boats returned from the Rock on starboard gybe.
Skip Sheldon's Reichl/Pugh 65 Zaraffa claimed victory in IRC SZ, Piet Vroon's Lutra 52, Tonnerre de Breskens won IRC Overall, IRC 0 and IRM. First in IRC 1 was Gery Trentesaux's Courrier Nord, the Spanish yacht Calima claimed IRC 2 and the S & S Classic Clarionet won IRC 3. With France, Holland, Spain, USA, Great Britain and Ireland all collecting the 'chocolates' the Fastnet remains one of the major offshore sailing events in the world.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club programme, archives
The Royal Ocean Racing Club, Ian Dear - published by Adlard Coles 2000
The Champagne Mumm Book of Ocean Racing - An Illustrated History, Ian Dear - published by Severn House Publishers 1985