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.
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.
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.
Like a tap slowly being turned on, the quantity of Rolex Fastnet Race boats arriving in Plymouth has been steadily increasing since yesterday afternoon, with crews clambering off boats into the welcoming arms of the race office before heading for a beer in the race village.
While IMOCA 60s are renowned for racing non-stop around the world in the Vendée Globe, the doublehanded crews of these extraordinary space-age craft appreciate the Rolex Fastnet Race as it offers most conditions of a round the world race within just a few days.
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.
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.