With a backdrop of the Citadel and Plymouth Hoe, the setting where history has it that Sir Francis Drake first spied the Spanish Armada while playing a game of bowls, prizegiving attendees were treated to their own piece of Fastnet history. Almost completely unchoreographed, proceedings coincided with the arrival of the gaff pilot cutter, Jolie Brise, the winner of first ever Fastnet Race in 1925 and still the only boat to have won the race on three occasions.
Since 1977, Dauntsey's School in Wiltshire gained use of the boat and in 2003 finally acquired her. According to her skipper Toby Maris, Jolie Brise last competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race during the 1990s and prior to that not since prior to World War Two.
"We are making very good progress towards the things we want to achieve," Maris said en route to the Rock. "The students have been having a very good sail, we want to complete the race and finish ahead of Duet and we want to enjoy ourselves. It will be an iconic moment when we get around the Rock."
However the 50 tonne pilot cutter is some way from being a state of the art racing yacht. "It is like taking a soggy 50 tonne log upwind!" Maris jokes.
Jolie Brise's fly-by up the Cattewater, en route to the Rolex Fastnet Race hub at Plymouth Yacht Haven, was followed by a magnificent display by the Aerostars Aerobatic Display Team.
Mike Greville, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, congratulated competitors on their participation in the race. He noted not only this year's record size fleet, but also the high number of international competitors and the tiny number of retirements - just ten from 336 starters. He also thanked the sponsors, in particular Rolex, who after 12 years of backing the biennial event, have since committed to support the race until 2021.
Richard de Leyser, Managing Director of Rolex UK and Ireland added: "I'd like to congratulate all 336 crews and the huge number of competitors we had in the race this year. We know what a huge commitment it is just to make it to the start line and we should spare a thought for those who haven't made it to the finish line.
"I would like to make a special mention to all the international teams who have made the effort to be here. It is terrific to see two teams from Australia that have made it all the way here." De Leyser was formerly General Manager of Rolex Australia, where the Swiss watch manufacturer backs the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Racing Manager of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Nick Elliott then took over as master of ceremonies for the prizegiving.
The biggest haul of silverware of course went to the French father and son team of Pascal and Alexis Loison, the first ever doublehanded crew to win the Rolex Fastnet Race outright. In addition to the top prizes of the Fastnet Challenge Cup and a Rolex Yachtmaster Chronometer, they also won trophies for being the top non-British yacht in IRC, the best corrected time for a yacht with a skipper aged 18-30, the winning navigator, the best two handed boats in IRC and winning IRC Three.
Popular winners, the humble French duo received a standing ovation as a tearful Pascal Loisin made a short speech: "What a great race. I am happy to win with my son. It was a great achievement. Thank you for everything."
The next Rolex Fastnet Race will take place 16th August 2015.
Hobo Trophy for the best One-Design yacht in IRC: Mefisto (Sigma 38), Kevin Sussmilch
Sparkman and Stephens Trophy for the best S&S boat Overall: Winsome (S&S 41), Harry Heijst
Swan North European Challenge Cup presented by Swan Yachts for First Swan on elapsed time: Plis Play (Swan 80), sailed by Vicente Garcia
Gazprom Swan 60 Plate presented by Swan Yachts for First Swan 60: Petite Flamme, Dmitry Samokhin
Whirlwind Trophy for the best Swan Overall: Best Buddies (Swan 441 R), Kay-Johannes and Susann Wrede
Bloodhound Cup for the best corporate yacht: Team from Attenda on Dusty P Logic (First 40), Sailing Logic skippered by Nick Martin
Joggernaut Trophy for Best Irish Yacht Overall: Discover Ireland (Reflex 38) Martin Breen and sailed by Aodhan Fitzgerald
Joe Powder Trophy for best corrected time in IRC at the Fastnet Rock and first in IRC Three A: Rhapsodie V (J/120) Jean Jacques Godet
Culdrose Trophy for the best Service Yacht in IRC round the Fastnet Rock on corrected time and Inter Regimental Cup for best Service yacht in IRC Overall: British Soldier (J/111) Army Sailing Association, sailed by Henry Foster
Roger Justice Trophy for the best Sailing School Yacht Overall and 1st in IRC Two A: Scarlet Logic (Oyster 48), Ross Applebey and Sailing Logic
Maite de Arambalza Trophy for the best Yacht with a female skipper: Southern Child (First 40), Lucy Reynolds
Coates Scholfield Trophy for the yacht whose crew sailed the furthest to complete the race: Duffy (Dufour 34e), Enrico Calvi
Dennis Doyle Memorial Salver for the skipper who has taken part in the greatest number of Fastnet races: Ken Newman - 28 races( Marinero)
Martin Illingworth Trophy for the best yacht club team in IRC Overall is the team from UNCL: Inis Mor (Ker 39) Bernard and Laurent Gouy; Courrier Vintage (MC 34 Patton), Sam Marsaudon and sailed by Géry Trentesaux; Lann Ael (JPK 110), Didier Gaudoux
Yachts and Yachting Catamaran Trophy for the first Multihull home: Spindrift 2 (VPLP 140 trimaran) Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard
Croda Wave Trophy for the best MOCRA multihull Overall: Oman Air - Musandam (MOD 70) Sidney Gavignet
MOCRA Crystal Trophy for the best MOCRA multihull under 50 ft: Paradox (Dazcat 10m), Will Claxton
Elapsed time trophies:
RORC IMOCA 60 Trophy for the first IMOCA 60 home: MACIF, Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux
First Figaro II home: Artemis 77, Nikki Curwen and Charlie Dalin
Clarion Cup for the first British Yacht Home and Royal Thames Yacht Club Spirit Cup for the first Royal Thames yacht home: ICAP Leopard (Farr 100) Mike Slade
Jolie Brise Cup for the first Yacht Home in IRC One to Four: Tonnerre de Breskens (Ker 46), Piet Vroon
Erroll Bruce Cup for the first Yacht Home in IRC Zero: Bella Mente (JV 72) Hap Fauth