Rolex Fastnet Race Archives

Money for Nothing

Todd Wells, owner of Je Vante. Photo: RORC / Tom GruittTodd Wells, owner of J/109, Je Vante, has a dry sense of humour, cultivated from decades of working with top rock bands, including Dire Straits.

There were 21 J/109s entered into this year's Rolex Fastnet Race - the 45th edition - creating the largest one-design class racing under IRC. Todd Wells' Je Vante crossed the finish line nearly two hours ahead of the rest, to win the battle of the J/109s. Todd and his crew are all amateurs; none of them even work within the maritime industry. For them, the Rolex Fastnet Race is the pinnacle of a long hard season of offshore racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

"Having sailed on other people's yachts for years and annoyed most of the owners, I realised that I would have to do the Rolex Fastnet Race in my own boat because nobody wanted to have me," laughed Todd with a wry smile.

"During the winter, I spent a lot of time and effort preparing the boat and sails and it has paid off, the boat is very fast. We have no ringers on board, nobody makes a shilling for racing on Je Vante. We are all corinthian sailors and it is tough to put a crew together as we all have commitments outside of sailing but all the team is experienced, switched on and motivated. As an owner, writing the cheques is the easy bit. Getting the right crew together, and keeping them together, is the toughest job you can have.

Wells continues: "It is incredibly satisfying to beat some extremely well sailed J/109s and I never would have believed that we would have done so well. However, as the season has gone on, I realised we had much more ability than I thought possible."

Je Vante's superb performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race has propelled the team to the top of the IRC Three leaderboard for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Whilst Todd Wells has been on board for every race of the season, he will not be with the team for the final showdown of the season for Je Vante.

"I will be in Cape Town on honeymoon with my lovely wife-to-be, Debra. So the team will round off the season without me. Although I may just take a quick call from the team when they finish the race whilst Debra is 'Twisting By The Pool'."