Classic upwind start for record breaking Rolex Fastnet Race | Leg Zero Part Two | BR31: A new breed of carbon racer | Clipper Race and Volvo Ocean Race Fleets Take Over Portsmouth Harbour | CQS wins the Queen's Cup | Round up Report at Lendy Cowes Week | Too soon? | Glandore Classic Regatta sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald celebrates 25 years | O'Pen Bic Worlds | Featured Brokerage
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Classic upwind start for record breaking Rolex Fastnet Race
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.
The multihulls were followed away from Cowes by two other 'non-IRC' classes - the nine doublehanded IMOCA 60s and twenty seven Class40s. Given the upwind conditions, the older, conventionally foiled IMOCA 60s were prevailing. At 1630 Paul Meilhat and Jules Verne Trophy record holder crewman Gwenole Gahinet aboard SMA, the 2012-3 Vendee Globe (and the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race) winner as MACIF, were leading the 60s past Portland Bill. The first 'foil-assisted' IMOCA 60 was favourite Alex Thomson and Nicholas O'Leary on Hugo Boss in third place, taking a northerly route, close to the land.
The last to start were the largest in the IRC fleet, IRC Zero, including the line honours contenders George David's Rambler 88 and Ludde Ingvall's 100ft CQS. By 1520 Rambler 88 was off and close into St Alban's Head, leading IRC Zero on the water just ahead of the biggest boat in the fleet, the 115ft Nikata.
Leg Zero Part Two
Dongfeng Race Team stormed down the western Solent to lead the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s in the Rolex Fastnet Race - part two of the Leg Zero qualifying series for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.
With 2.5 knots of outgoing tide against 18-21 knots of south westerly wind, the Chinese team, skippered by Charles Caudrelier, secured their lead by expertly covering the rest of the tightly bunched fleet.
The two red boats, MAPFRE and Dongfeng Racing won the start but the Spanish team were held up by bad wind coming off Nikata, the biggest boat in the race at 115 feet. In fact, all the Volvo Ocean Race sailors were challenged by having to sail around the record 390-boat fleet in this 605-nautical mile offshore classic.
Sailing in a mixed boat fleet will not be a challenge after this section of Leg Zero. Following the Fastnet, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet will complete two more legs - Plymouth to Saint-Malo and Saint-Malo to Lisbon - without any other boats as a distraction, or hindrance.
The opening leg of Leg Zero was a 50nm sprint around the Isle of Wight, won in record-breaking fashion by MAPFRE.
That makes the Fastnet the first offshore test for the teams that will take the start line of the Volvo Ocean Race on 22 October in Alicante.
The boats are due at the Fastnet Rock at around 0600 UTC on Tuesday, whereupon they will sail downwind in conditions building from 15-20 knots before a reach to the finish in Plymouth late on Tuesday night.
The fleet will re-start from Plymouth on the leg to Saint-Malo on Thursday.
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Clipper Race and Volvo Ocean Race Fleets Take Over Portsmouth Harbour
And right in the middle of the fleets' docks... a bit of guerilla marketing by Suhaili. Click to see the larger shot of the fleets.
The Clipper Race, the only event on the planet which trains non-professionals to become ocean racers, is preparing to leave for Liverpool for the 2017-18 race start; whilst the professional Volvo Ocean Race teams are competing in Leg Zero which includes the Rolex Fastnet Race starting this Sunday (6 August), effectively a qualifying leg for the 2017-18 edition that starts from Alicante, Spain on 22 October, 2017.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69, and a veteran of the Whitbread Round The World Race (now known as the Volvo Ocean Race), who established the Clipper Race over twenty years ago, commented: "There's been a great buzz around the marina all week and I think as much as the Clipper Race crew are feeling rather excited to be so close to their professional counterparts, I have also been impressed by the respect shown by the Volvo Ocean Race sailors towards our crew.
"Oceans do not distinguish between professional or non-professional sailors. The many challenges of racing around world are huge and the determination and endurance required to succeed is to be admired. Full respect to anybody, whether in the Clipper Race or Volvo Ocean Race, who takes on this unique challenge."
The Clipper 2017-18 Race starts August 20 from Liverpool's Albert Dock and will return eleven months later on July 28, 2018 after racing 40,000 nautical miles in 13 races across six continents. A total 712 crew members will compete on board twelve teams, representing 41 different nationalities.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 edition starts 22 October 2017 from Alicante, Spain and will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world - across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 Host Cities, and finishing at the end of June 2018 in The Hague.
CQS wins the Queen's Cup
Cowes, Isle of Wight, England: Ludde Ingvall's CQS picked up the prestigious Queen's Cup at the end of the Triple Crown series in Lendy Cowes Week. The 120 year old gold trophy was presented by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, for the maxi racer class in the event.
The heavy weather series has proven to be a great warm up event for the Rolex Fastnet race, which starts on Sunday 6th August off Cowes.
Ludde Ingvall is a previous line honours winner of the Rolex Fastnet race, but hasn't contested the ocean racing classic for a few years, and will face stiff opposition from some of the other maxis and super maxis.
Sir Michael Hintze, the chief executive of CQS, who was onboard the boat for Wednesday's challenging race around the Isle of Wight, will also be on the crew for the Rolex Fastnet race.
The CQS team had a final shake down sail on the Solent on Saturday in their preparations for the Rolex Fastnet race.
Australian skipper Ludde Ingvall has selected his crew to sail CQS in the Rolex Fastnet.
The team on CQS will be 22 strong, and deep in ocean racing experience.
Leading the helming team will be New Zealand legend Chris Dickson, the winner of many world championships, and skipper of America's Cup challenges and round the world races.
Alongside him is watch-leeder Rodney Keenan, who designed the rig and sails for the boat, and has extensive round the world sailing experience. Also very long on offshore experience is Sweden's Ola Astradsson, who has sailed many thousands of miles with Ludde.
Half the multi national crew are New Zealanders, with British adding four more to the total. There are three Americans, including the only female, Genny Tulloch, two Australians a Swede and an Irishman.
Round up Report at Lendy Cowes Week
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.
The overall winner among the White Group dayboats is 14 year old Freddie Peters, who also won the RS Elite class, the Newcomers' trophy and Young Skippers Trophy. The RS Elite is renowned for close racing, but Peters' Riff Raff dominated the leader board, winning all but one race. Ossie Stewart's More T Vicar took second overall and Colin Smith's Shaken Not Stirred third.
The final day of Lendy Cowes Week dawned bright and sunny, with a west north westerly breeze of 7-10 knots. All starts today took place from the Royal Yacht Squadron's inner line, with an accelerated starting sequence for the reduced number of entries in Black Group, which finished their points series yesterday.
The last start of the week was for the XOD class. John Tremlett's Lass, went into the last race for the XODs as overall leader 14 points ahead of Simon Russell's Swallow, counting four first places and a second. However, Tremlett's discarded 18th place from his result on the opening day left his overall lead in this big fleet vulnerable to a less than perfect result in the final race. -- Rupert Holmes
With the announcement of its as yet unchristened new, foil-assisted monohulls for the 2019-20 crewed lap of the planet, and beyond, the Volvo Ocean Race continues its longstanding tradition of letting the Imoca class do much of its full-scale R&D. But has it all happened too fast this time?
Water ballast was first introduced in the Whitbread 60s for the 1993-94 race having been used on the Imoca 60s' forebears, the Open 60s, from the early 1980s. VO70s made their Volvo race debut in 2005 with canting keels, some 12 years after Isabelle Autissier's Ecureuil Poitou Charentes 2 became the first Open 60 to use one (and several more years after Michel Desjoyeaux - inevitably - had introduced the canting keel to the Mini 6.50 fleet).
In comparison the latest change has been much swifter, the first foil-assisted Imoca 60s launched barely two years ago with the first foil-borne Volvo boats following just four years later.
What must be of some concern is that, compared to water ballast and canting keels, foiling technology is way more complex and tricky to engineer in an offshore environment. For example, of the five newgeneration semi-foiling Imoca 60s on their first major outing in the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre, only Banque Populaire finished (with structural damage), while others suffered severe failures, the worst being Hugo Boss which was nearly written off.
Full article in the August issue of Seahorse: www.seahorsemagazine.com
Glandore Classic Regatta sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald celebrates 25 years
Water Wags. Click on image for photo gallery.
Starting off the week was the traditional 'Parade of Sail' led by the Baltimore RNLI.
Following closely behind was Michael O'Donnell's Big Momma which also served as the committee boat for the week. Other boats included Brian Smullen's beautiful 17m planked McGruer's ketch Cuilaun; Patrick Dorgan's Elsie, one of the oldest boats in the event, designed by William Fife and built in 1896; visiting yachtsman Thomas Drewes' 7.3m work boat Jane Paul; Dr. Michael Brown's MacDuach, which is the oldest of the Galway Hookers built during the 1970s revival of the class and an assortment of other classics as well as Dragons, Squibs and Ettes.
Racing was divided into two fleets. The Bay Fleet comprised of larger offshore boats and the Harbour Fleet was made up of one-designs. The racing was hotly contested with some classes being decided by just one point.
Full results and programme: glandoreyc.com/2017-classic-regatta/
O'Pen Bic Worlds
As the curtain falls on the O'Pen Bic 2017 World Championship in Lake Garda, Italy, our New Zealand sailors celebrate with World Titles in both the Under 17 and Under 13 age groups and a strong showing from the entire New Zealand contingent.
In the under 17 division Sean Herbert topped a fiercely competitive fleet of 132 sailors from around the world. Sean put in a dominant performance throughout the regatta going into the final day 20 pts ahead. Sean's World title represents his second after winning the u13 division back in 2012. Sean is also the current National Starling Champion and certainly a name to watch on the NZ and world sailing stage in the future!
Another notable name to watch out for is 11 yr old, Mattias Coutts. Mattias, son of Kiwi yachting legend and CEO of the 2017 America's Cup Sir Russell Coutts, had to fight hard to protect a narrow lead over the 55 boat fleet going into the final day. The young champion held his nerve and closed the regatta out in style with victories in both of the final two races. Mattias was competing in his first championship event.
The O'pen Bic is a relatively new class of sailing boat, which has been cutting out a place for itself in both sailing clubs and sailing events all over the world. The class is going from strength to strength here in New Zealand and gained official class status in NZ earlier this year. The 2017/18 season calendar already boasts 14 nationwide events.
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See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
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