Isles of Scilly Ahoy!
By 09:00 BST on day five of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the leaders in IRC Three were closing in on the Isle of Scilly, preparing to gybe east for the final push to the finish in Cherbourg. The breeze built from the west during the night to give a fast broad reach. All bar one boat racing in IRC Three has rounded the Fastnet Lighthouse; Gian Paolo’s Hanse 400 Dansen Aan Zee (NED) from Stellendam is expected to reach the famous landmark later today.
The lead boats have all opted for a direct heading towards the Isles of Scilly but some tactical decisions are required as they approach the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). The majority of the boats are lined up to race south of the west of the Isles of Scilly TSS, however several boats are lined up to take a short-cut, passing to the north of the exclusion zone including: Emigdio Bedia’s J/99 Gorilon, Benoit Rousselin’s JPK 1010 Delnic, and Pascal PY’s Sun Fast 3200 Lemancello. The final part of the race for the leading boats looks almost dead downwind, for a tactically demanding finale.
Gautier Normand’s A35 Locmalo (FRA) still leads on the water by approximately seven miles, yet three teams racing doublehanded top the IRC Three rankings. Sun Fast 3200 Cora (GBR) raced by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews is in pole position after IRC time correction by about an hour from Romain Gibon’s JPK 1010 Les P'tits Doudous en Duo (FRA), which is hanging on to second by just five minutes from Ludovic Menahes’ JPK 1010 ADEOSYS.
49 teams are still racing in IRC Three with two additional retirements in the last 24 hours.
The leading teams are expected to finish the Rolex Fastnet Race tomorrow late morning Thursday 27th July.
By Louay Habib