By 11:00 BST on day five of the Rolex Fastnet Race, all bar three boats in IRC Four that are racing have rounded the Fastnet Lighthouse. Still to round the most northerly mark of the course are Robert Marchant’s Fulmar Fever (IRL) from Waterford, Sagitta 35 Ugly Duckling (GBR) skippered by George Beevor, and Pierre Legoupil’s Illingworth & Primrose 33ft Classic Le Loup Rouge (FRA), which is from Cherbourg.
During the early hours of today a westerly wind has kicked in from the Atlantic Ocean to produce fast reaching conditions. The leaders in IRC Four accelerated in the fresh westerly with the pack of three leading boats hitting double-digit boat speed. The wind is increasing for the IRC Four fleet behind but, for now, the rich are getting richer.
Marc Willame’s JPK 960 Elma (FRA), racing doublehanded with Antoine Jeu leads on the water. Chris and Vanessa Choules’ Sigma 38 With Alacrity (GBR) is second just ahead of Samuel Dumenil and Antoine Runet racing Casamyas (FRA). After IRC time correction, the provisional leader is With Alacrity by just seven minutes from Elma after 250 miles of racing. Casamyas is ranked third, an hour and a half behind the leaders after IRC time correction. The dark horse is Francois Charles Dehler 33 Sun Hill III, as they are manually giving position reports after a YB tracker malfunction. The competition is IRC Four is as fierce as in any of the IRC classes as Chris Choules on With Alacrity admitted: “At 21:57 (25 July) we rounded the Fastnet Rock in close company with Casamyas with perhaps a little luff!”
The 50ft Fred Shepherd yawl Amokura, skippered by Paul Moxon, has made it to the Fastnet Rock!
Amokura was built in Moody’s Hamble UK in 1939 and now calls Dartmouth, Devon her home. The 50ft Fred Shepherd yawl competed in the 1959 Fastnet Race and in the 2019 edition but completed neither. In 2021, Amokura finally crossed the finish line for the race she was built for. At 84 years old Amokura is one of the oldest boats in this year’s race and is fully crewed this year.
“The only damage to report is our IRC Four pennant is a bit torn after a wild first night,” laughed Paul as the Amokura crew tucked into a lamb curry at the Fastnet Lighthouse. "Amokura is going really well and the crew are all unscathed and smiling. It looks like a windy beam to broad reach is likely as we head south which is dream territory for Amokura. She may be 20 tons, but when she gets going in those conditions with the Atlantic swell set up for the right direction, she is an absolute joy to sail. See you in Cherbourg!”
By Louay Habib