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Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's French JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls  leading IRC Three © ELWJ Photography Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's French JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls leading IRC Three © ELWJ Photography

To the wire in IRC Three

Thursday 10 August 2017 - PM

IRC Three went to wire this afternoon in the Rolex Fastnet Race between two French JPK 10.80s. Coming into the finish Timeline, of past class winner Marc Alperovitch, seemed to be the victor but when Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret’s lower rated Dream Pearls arrived 33 minutes later, her time corrected to 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of her compatriots.

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Didier Gaudoux's JND 39, Lann Ael is currently leading IRC Overall. Credit: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi Didier Gaudoux's JND 39, Lann Ael is currently leading IRC Overall. Credit: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

Class leaders firming up

Thursday 10 August 2017 - AM

Overnight and into a magnificent West Country morning, boats have been streaming across the Rolex Fastnet Race finish line and into Plymouth Yacht Haven. With this, the leaders in the bigger classes have begun firming up along with the prospects for the boat that will be the crowned overall winner under IRC in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial flagship offshore race.

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Peter Burling with Ian Budgen grab a selfie at the Fastnet Rock as Nikata rounded. Credit: Ian Budgen Peter Burling with Ian Budgen grab a selfie at the Fastnet Rock as Nikata rounded. Credit: Ian Budgen

Burling round the Rock

The most successful sailor in the world currently, Peter Burling has been busy recently. Since impressing everyone through winning the 35th America's Cup in cool as a cucumber style in Bermuda, ‘pistol Pete’ has finished second in the 240 boat fleet at the Moth Worlds on Lake Garda and since Sunday has been competing on a very different vessel - the 115ft Baltic-built Nikata, the largest yacht in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race.

So has the double Olympic 49er medallist, former Moth World Champion and America’s Cup winning helm sailed offshore before? “I’ve done a little bit,” says the New Zealander modestly. Deep down his sailing resume is New Zealand’s top offshore race, the Coastal Classic and also the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

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Antoine Carpentier, Samuel Manuard, Maxime Sorel and Jonas Gerckens currently 1st places Class40 with V&B  © ELWJ Photography/RORC Antoine Carpentier, Samuel Manuard, Maxime Sorel and Jonas Gerckens currently 1st places Class40 with V&B © ELWJ Photography/RORC

V and B prevails in the Class 40s as Trentesaux has a comfy ride

Wednesday 9 August 2017 - PM

Aside from the Volvo Ocean Race seven, another tight competition in the Rolex Fastnet Race has been between the twenty six Class40s racing.

These boats are designed to a box rule created in France in the early 2000s. With more than 150 examples launched in the last 13 years, it is also highly international with boats competing from crews as far afield as Oman, South Africa and Japan, ranging from professionals (both old timers and budding youngsters) to enthusiastic amateurs.

The Class40 leaders arrived in Plymouth this afternoon, with victory finally going to V and B skippered by Frenchman Maxime Sorel. He arrived at 14:32 after 3 days 3 hours and 22 minutes.

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The Volvo Ocean 65 Dongfeng, skippered by Charles Caudrelier of France clinched a hard-fought class win in the 47th biennial Rolex Fastnet Race with just a 54 second lead on VO65 MAPFRE © J.Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race The Volvo Ocean 65 Dongfeng, skippered by Charles Caudrelier of France clinched a hard-fought class win in the 47th biennial Rolex Fastnet Race with just a 54 second lead on VO65 MAPFRE © J.Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng Race Team win dash for Rolex Fastnet Race finish line

Wednesday 9 August 2017 - AM

Some of the world’s most high profile ocean racing yachts arrived in Plymouth in the early hours of this morning at the end of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Following Rambler, Ludde Ingvall’s 100ft maxi CQS and Nikata, (at 115ft LOA, the longest yacht in the race), came the fleet of seven identical VO65s competing on Leg Zero of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. However, in an exceptional performance, arriving before all of these fully crewed heavyweights was a nimble French two handed IMOCA 60.

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George David's maxi Rambler 88 claim monohull line honours © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi George David's maxi Rambler 88 claim monohull line honours © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rambler 88 claims monohull line honours

American George David’s Rambler 88 arrived in Plymouth to claim monohull line honours. The silver maxi crossed the finish line off Plymouth breakwater at 22:14:21 BST in a time of 2 days 9 hours 34 minutes and 21 seconds. This was more than six hours faster than they had managed in 2015 when they ghosted in just four minutes astern of Jim Clark’s 100ft maxi, Comanche. But it was considerably outside of the monohull race record of 1 day 18 hours and 39 minutes, set in 2011 by the Ian Walker-skippered VO70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

“This was our fourth [Fastnet] race,” said George David upon his arrival in Plymouth Yacht Haven. “We have had two that were fairly windy and one with no wind, two years ago, and this one with decent wind but a tough windward-leeward course. 360 miles upwind is a challenge and it is cold, but it is okay. We sailed well and we did a good race. We’ll see what happens.”

For a lengthy period this morning Rambler 88 appeared set to achieve ‘the double’ ie win both line honours and overall on handicap. However she has since been displaced from the top spot overall under IRC by the 115ft giant, Nikata and Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer. “You can always hope, but you can never tell, especially when you have boats out there for three or four more days and the weather may change and tomorrow it’ll blow harder and they’ll come up behind us,” observed David.

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Nikata round the iconic Fastnet Rock in front of a spectacular sunset. Credit: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo Nikata round the iconic Fastnet Rock in front of a spectacular sunset. Credit: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo

Rock-bound flotilla

Tuesday 8 August 2017 - PM

The first monohull arrivals are due into Plymouth tonight with George David’s Rambler 88 leading the charge, rounding Bishop Rock, the mandatory mark of the course southwest of the Scilly Isles, at 1515 BST.

But the hottest contest in this group is between the seven one design Volvo Open 65s. They finally reached the Fastnet Rock at around breakfast time this morning with the Chinese entry Dongfeng Race Team in first place, making the turn south at 0758, followed by Team Akzonobel, MAPFRE, Sun Hung Kai Scallywag, Team Brunel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and with the Dee Caffari-skippered Turn the Tide on Plastic bringing up the rear almost an hour later.

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The crew of Concise 10, the MOD70, celebrate at the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Credit: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi The crew of Concise 10, the MOD70, celebrate at the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Credit: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

Concise home as Dongfeng Race Team leads VO65s around the Rock

Tuesday 8 August 2017 - AM

Unchallenged, Concise 10 blazed into Plymouth this morning, first boat home in the 47th Rolex Fastnet Race. Tony Lawson’s MOD70 trimaran crossed the finish line off Plymouth breakwater at 05:55:00 BST with a race time of 42 hours and 55 minutes. This time didn’t come close to the overall multihull record for the Rolex Fastnet Race but it was still respectable considering they sailed upwind all the way to the Fastnet Rock.

Dockside at Plymouth Yacht Haven, a beaming Tony Lawson commented:

“To take the record for the Round the Island Race just a few weeks ago and then this… they deserve it, they have sailed well. Everyone thinks multihulls can’t go to weather, but we led three state of the art monohulls around the Rock by about 100 miles and we led them into Plymouth by 200 miles. So if you want to go fast you have to get yourself a multihull!”

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Concise 10, the Ned Collier-Wakefield skippered MOD 70, was the first round the Fastnet Rock on Monday 7 August. Credit: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo Concise 10, the Ned Collier-Wakefield skippered MOD 70, was the first round the Fastnet Rock on Monday 7 August. Credit: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo

Heavy traffic off Cornwall as Concise rounds the Rock

Monday 7 August 2017 - PM

At 15:49:37 BST Tony Lawson’s MOD70 trimaran Concise 10 became the first boat to round the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland. At the time the next boat in the race, George David’s Rambler 88, was 111 miles astern. However thanks to their upwind passage, their time of 28 hours 49 minutes was well outside of record to the Rock of 22 hours and 21 minutes, set in 2011 by the Loick Peyron-skippered 40m Banque Populaire Maxi trimaran.

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Picture sent to us from Initiatives Coeur of Sam Davies helming the IMOCA 60. Credit: Initiatives Coeur Picture sent to us from Initiatives Coeur of Sam Davies helming the IMOCA 60. Credit: Initiatives Coeur

Concise approaches the Rock as Portland Bill pays

Monday 7 August 2017 - AM

Overnight the fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race has been made solid progress upwind, tacking on shifts and dipping in and out of the land according to whether or not the tide is favourable.

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Magnificent conditions for the start of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi Magnificent conditions for the start of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Classic upwind start for record breaking Rolex Fastnet Race

Sunday 6 August 2017

The Solent laid on ‘classic’ conditions for the start of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 47th Rolex Fastnet Race. In brilliant sunshine and with brisk westerly winds gusting up to 20 knots, the giant fleet tacked up the western Solent before compressing through the usual bottleneck at Hurst Narrows. A record-sized fleet of 368 boats started the race, 12 more than two years ago, confirming the Rolex Fastnet Race’s position as the world’s largest offshore yacht race.  

The first start got underway at 11:00 BST for the nine multihulls and within minutes, the blue three-hulled streak that is Concise 10 had pulled out a lead, frequently heeling to an alarming degree, just one hull immersed. By the time IRC One was starting at 12:20 Tony Lawson’s MOD 70, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, was already off Poole. Crewman Paul Larsen, who five years ago became the world’s fastest sailor setting a world record of 65.45 knots, reported Concise 10 was sailing under reefed mainsail and staysail. “We’re making 20 knots tacking past Poole and just dropping into the watch system. Glamour start conditions in the Solent. I can just see the next boats clearing Hurst Castle.” However Larsen warned that unless the wind freed up, there was little chance for them to break the multihull race record. By 1500 Concise 10 was already level with Portland Bill.

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