After five days and 15 hours at sea the lowest rated yacht of the 388 starters in the Rolex Fastnet Race finally finished the race in darkness in the small hours of Friday morning.
Sigma 38s hold a significant place in both the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Rolex Fastnet Race history. Following the 1979 Fastnet Race tragedy, in 1985 the David Thomas-design won a competition run by the RORC and the Royal Thames Yacht Club to design a yacht that could stand up to being raced in tough offshore conditions.
Eight friends from Spain finished the Rolex Fastnet Race Thursday morning in high spirits, pleased with their 52nd place in IRC Four. “We are just amateurs and we are sailing a 40 year old boat, so we are very happy with our position” says owner Pablo Bernabe.
The top ten of the overall IRC corrected time rankings for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race have proved to be quite an international affair. Not only did the Stars & Stripes take line honours with Rambler 88, but also overall victory in the race and IRC Zero, won by the VO70 Wizard.
With only 18 boats left to finish, the winners of some of the special awards can now be determined, including those for the classics, the Sparkman and Stephens Trophy for the best yacht of that design, which has been claimed by the S&S Yawl Lulotte owned by Ben Morris. Also winning a special prize this year is Carina II, which will take home the Dorade Cup for the best IRC corrected time for a classic yacht.
Kai Hockley, aged 13 along with Jaden Owusu and Christopher-Joel Fredrick, both aged 14, are not just the youngest crew taking part in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race but they have also undertaken one of the most intense programmes to prepare for the event. Along with six other 18-and-unders, they have worked exceptionally hard to be ready to crew an ex-Admiral’s Cupper Scaramouche, built in 1981, in this, the toughest of races.
Wednesday 7 August - IRC Three
For the third time since 2013 Alexis Loison has won both class and IRC Two-Handed in the Rolex Fastnet Race, this time racing with the boat builder Jean-Pierre Kelbert on the brand new JPK 10.30 Léon.
Wednesday 7 Aug - IRC Four
With 87 starters, IRC Four is the largest class racing in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. The vast majority of the sailors are passionate amateurs fulfilling their dream of racing in the Rolex Fastnet Race. As of Wednesday morning, after five days of racing, only ten boats from IRC Four had finished the race, however none of the teams still racing can beat Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. Astonishingly, out of Racine's eight Fastnet Races, he has won class four times. It is no surprise that the grandmaster from Le Havre has also won class in the last four consecutive RORC Season's Points Championships.
One of the tightest competitions in the 48th Rolex Fastnet Race was between the 18 Class40s. While they, like the IMOCA 60s, are due to be competing in this autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre these box rule based fliers, the most successful 40ft racing yachts of all time (with hulls 158 and 159 soon to launch), were being sailed fully crewed (ie four up) to class rules, boat-on-boat, independent of the IRC fleet.
The JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé arrived at 11:23:50 this morning, another barnstorming performance by the Fastnet magician Géry Trentesaux. Time and again the Frenchman has proven that he understands this race perhaps better than any other as he rounds off his high-level racing career with almost certain victory in IRC Two.
Tuesday 6 August - IRC One
Just when we thought this was looking a benefit race for the bigger boats, last night’s arrivals and previous leaders of IRC One - Tonnerre de Glen and Ino XXX - have been upstaged by two smaller rivals - L’Ange de Milon and Lann Ael 2 - who moored up in Plymouth around midday today.
The Fastnet Race Village is a hive of activity and sailors in the 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race return from their endeavours. Every team has their story and many are greeted by friends and family who have been watching the race unfold.
Monday 5 Aug PM - IRC Two-Handed
With 63 teams starting the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race in the IRC Two-Handed division, Robin Verhoef & John Van Der Starre's racing J/122 Ajeto! was the first to round the Fastnet Rock at 16:18:36 on Monday 05 August, in an elapsed time of 2 days, 2 hrs, 48 mins and 36 secs.
Monday 5 August PM - IRC Zero, One and Two
While all the big news has been going on in Plymouth today with the line honours victory of Rambler 88 and Wizard’s fast finish making her look like a hot candidate for overall victory, the vast majority of the fleet continues to battle away in the Celtic Sea.