Wind direction as much as strength defined the 48th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race.
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.
Twenty years ago the Royal Ocean Racing Club allowed multihulls to participate in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Today, while the numbers remain relatively small compared to the giant IRC fleets, the quality and diversity of the multihull fleet is of note.
An American VO70 has continued its phenomenal winning streak to claim the Fastnet Challenge Cup, the overall prize for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. David and Peter Askew, aboard their VO70 Wizard, came out on top under IRC corrected time, beating French boat builder Nicolas Groleau’s perennial entry on their canting keel Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom by 45 minutes. This was despite the 2019 race being the Askew’s first attempt at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s pinnacle 600 mile offshore.
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.