Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Race Updates 2009

Classic sea breeze conditions

Crew of Incisor of Wight for the 2009 Rolex Fastnet RaceClear skies over Cowes and whispers of cumulus cloud over the main land shore with a light northerly wind are a recipe for a southwesterly sea breeze to kick in this afternoon. The tell tale signs mean that the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race could have a champagne start with the 300 strong fleet encountering more wind than earlier predicted.

In Cowes Yacht haven, the competitors are gearing up for the off and the morning sunshine is spreading an infectious warm humour amongst the competing yachts, clustered in Cowes.

Joe Sutton skippering Corby 45, Incisor of Wight, was looking forward to the race with some relish. "We have competed in three qualifying RORC races this season, the Cervantes Trophy Race, the Myth of Malham Round Eddystone Race and the De Guingand Bowl Race, so we have done a fair few miles together and we are still talking. We all work for Gerald Ronson in London, but we are from all over the place. I am from Tipperarry and there are two other Irishman on the boat from Donegal and Cobh, the rest of the crew are from Scotland, England and Belgium. We all love to sail and we are looking for an enjoyable race and intend to make a good account of ourselves."

The Start to The Lizard

Eddie Warden Owen, Chief Executive of the Royal Ocean Racing Club walks the first 186 miles of the course from the start to Land's End. The 608 mile race from Cowes around the Fastnet Rock and back to the finish at Plymouth has many races within the race, how the 300 boats deal with these challenges will affect their performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The start of the 2007 Rolex Fastnet RaceThe Start and the Solent

Starts are always important, the leading boat in a class can dictate tactics and keep an eye on the competition behind. The start in the confines of the Solent means that there are often boat on boat tactics at play and the race to the Needles has many opportunities to make gains or losses. Playing the tide and pressure and trying to slingshot out of the HurstNarrows is the game of chess to get into the open sea before the competition, the prize.

After leaving the Needles channel the fleet has to negotiate a number of headlands on the way to Lands End. Around these headlands the tide accelerates to great advantage when the tide is with the boats but to be avoided at all costs when the tide turns making long term strategy very important.

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How to follow the race

Start of the 2008 Rolex Fastnet RaceWatch, listen and join in…

Start – at 1200 BST, The Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Sunday 9th August

The Rolex Fastnet Race always starts from the famous Royal Yacht Squadron Line in front of West Cowes.
It will be a spectacular sight as the 300 yachts head west in the Solent; the narrow strip of sea between the Isle of Wight and the Hampshire Coast.

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Weather window

The Fastnet Rock at sunsetMike Broughton is navigating on Jens Kellinghusen's German Rogers 46, Varuna for the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. This will be the 14th trip 'around the rock' for Broughton, he did his first, as a nipper, in 1979.

"At the start, current weather models are predicting that south west to westerly winds will dominate, potentially these could be in the early teens," suggested Broughton. "By Monday, a low pressure system north of Northern Ireland could well come into play bringing good breeze to the Irish Sea, especially for the leading boats. I would go as far to say that this may well suite Niklas Zennstrom's RÁN. I see them as favourite for an overall handicap win in IRC."

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Rosebud nips in

Rosebud Team DYT and Luna Rossa at Cowes WeekIt was close, really close, but Roger Sturgeon's STP 65, Rosebud Team DYT won Class IRC Zero at Cowes Week a slender margin; a countback on first places. Flavio Favini's Luna Rossa was second by a whisker with Torben Grael at the helm. All of the magnificent hi-tech racing boats in the big boat class at Cowes Week will be competing in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race.

Rosebud Team DYT trimmer, Jonno Swain is a highly experienced yachtsman, originally from Durban South Africa, he has competed in the last two Volvo Ocean Races and inshore, has been on the TP 52 circuit for many years, winning with Mean Machine.

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