Day Three: British Soldier leads IRC Three into the Celtic Sea

Denis Murphy's Grand Soleil 40, sailing in IRC Three © Rick Tomlinson/ Denis Murphy's Grand Soleil 40, sailing in IRC Three © Rick Tomlinson/

1200 BST Tuesday 10 August

At midday on the third day of the Rolex Fastnet Race, about half of the IRC Three fleet has left the Isles of Scilly to port to race through the Celtic Sea towards the Fastnet Rock.

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, leads the class on the water, just under two miles ahead of Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.80 Raging Bee². Philippe Girardin’s J/120 Hey Jude is third. The leaders are still beating, but the wind has abated to about ten knots. It must feel almost serene after the pounding taken over the first two days.

Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle, racing JPK 10.30 Leon, is now fourth on the water, but still estimated to be leading the class after time correction. All three boats ahead of Leon have the advantage of a longer waterline length. Leon has built a substantial lead in the IRC Two-Handed Class. After time correction Leon is estimated to be three hours ahead of the opposition. Ludovic Menahes & David le Goff, racing JPK 10.10 Raphael in IRC Four, is ranked in second place and Olivier Burgaud & Sylvain Pontu racing JPK 10.80 Aileau is third in IRC Two-Handed.

From Ireland, Denis Murphy and Annamarie Fegan’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo is four miles astern of the class leaders, seventh in IRC Three, but the best scoring displacement racer/cruiser in the class. Tactician Nicholas O’Leary commented as they passed Land’s End: “It was a tough exit out of past the Needles Fairway, wet ‘n’ wild and we lost wind instruments for 24 hours, thankfully the four dinghy sailors on board and small keelboat drivers have a natural feel. We had a nice battle with Shirley and Henry (Robertson and Bomby on the Sun Fast 3300 Swell) which kept us on our toes and Annamarie is keeping the troops fed ‘n’ watered with her famous veg. soup. We expect it to be lighter across to the Fastnet Rock. ETA 0300 tomorrow night.”

73 teams started the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race in IRC Three, the largest class in the race with the majority of the teams racing Two-Handed. As of 0700 BST 10 August, 20 teams have now retired or discontinued racing in the class.