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A US entrant in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race capsizsed near Fastnet Rock off the Cork coast earliert this evening, The Irish Times reports.
Further to our previous report, The Irish Times notes that 22 people were on board the Rambler 100, which overturned in force-five winds at around 6.30pm this evening.
The Department of Transport confirmed that all crew have been accounted for, with 16 sitting in the hull of the boat and the remainer on life rafts.
RNLI Baltimore's lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard are currently attending. Coastguard helicopters have also been dispacted, with naval vessel LE Clara giving assistance. The rescue effort has been hampered by misty conditions in the area this evening.
Rambler 100 recently set a new world record for the almost 3,000-nautical mile transatlantic crossing from Newport, Rhode Island to Lizard Point in Cornwall with a time of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 2 seconds.
Elsewhere, there was disaster in IRC Z this afternoon for co-skippers Karl Kwok and Jim Swartz’s Farr 80 Beau Geste (HKG).
The yacht suffered a ‘structural problem’ while mid-away across the Celtic Sea en route to the Rock. She has since turned her bow back towards Land’s End.
Yesterday there was another high profile retirement when Johnny Vincent’s TP52 Pace (GBR) returned to her berth in the Hamble with mast problems.
In the Class 40s John Harris’ GryphonSolo2 (USA) has also pulled out, retiring to Dartmouth with sail damage.

A US entrant in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race capsizsed near Fastnet Rock off the Cork coast earlier this evening, The Irish Times reports.

Further to our previous report, The Irish Times notes that 22 people were on board the Rambler 100, which overturned in force-five winds at around 6.30pm this evening.

The Department of Transport confirmed that all crew have been accounted for, with 16 sitting in the hull of the boat and the remainer on life rafts. 

ramblertext

Rambler 100 rounds the Fastnet Rock. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

RNLI Baltimore's lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard are currently attending. Coastguard helicopters have also been dispatched, with naval vessel LE Clara giving assistance. The rescue effort has been hampered by misty conditions in the area this evening.

ramblercapsize

Baltimore lifeboat at the scene of the capsized Rambler 100. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

Rambler 100 recently set a new world record for the almost 3,000-nautical mile transatlantic crossing from Newport, Rhode Island to Lizard Point in Cornwall with a time of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 2 seconds.

In other Fastnet action, there was disaster in IRC Z this afternoon for co-skippers Karl Kwok and Jim Swartz’s Farr 80 Beau Geste (HKG).

The yacht suffered a ‘structural problem’ while mid-away across the Celtic Sea en route to the Rock. She has since turned her bow back towards Land’s End. 

Yesterday there was another high profile retirement when Johnny Vincent’s TP52 Pace (GBR) returned to her berth in the Hamble with mast problems. 

In the Class 40s John Harris’ GryphonSolo2 (USA) has also pulled out, retiring to Dartmouth with sail damage.

Published in Fastnet
The yacht Rambler 100, a competitor in this year's Fastnet race, has capsized between the Fastnet Rock and the Pantaenius Buoy this evening. The Irish Coastguard services are coordinating the rescue. The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat is on the scene. Two Sikorsky helicopters have been scrambled and an Irish Naval vessel is en route to the scene of the accident. All 21 crew have been rescued.

RORC's Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen said tonight a further statement will be released when more information becomes known.

 

Published in Fastnet
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The two largest trimarans in the record-sized Rolex Fastnet Race rounded the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland at around 0930 this morning. As expected Loick Peyron's Maxi Banque Populaire (FRA) was leading, but surprisingly just eight miles ahead of the Seb Josse-skippered Gitana 11 (FRA), despite the latter being just 77 feet compared to Maxi Banque Populaire's monstrous 140-foot long hulls.  Once around, the boats have approximately 250 miles (on the rhumb line) to sail to the finish in Plymouth.

Last night both boats, along with the two MOD70 trimarans Veolia Environnement (FRA) and Race for Water (SUI), overstood the Scilly Isles, in order to lay the Fastnet Rock in one tack and take advantage of a small left hand wind shift while crossing the Celtic Sea between the southwest end of England and the south coast of Ireland. The reason Gitana 11 (FRA) is so close is that after leaving the Scillies to starboard she tacked north for the Rock earlier than her larger rival, sailing a substantially shorter course as a result.

At the time the two on the water leaders rounded the Fastnet Rock this morning, the wind had dropped to 10 knots from the west-southwest and the sea state had abated.

Meanwhile in the heavyweight bout between the 100 foot super-maxi monohulls, the crew on Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard (GBR) are doing a fine job fending off the attack of George David's faster Rambler 100 (USA). The two boats passed between the Scilly Isles and Land's End at 0630 BST this morning, but there were a large group of powerful boats shadowing them close behind.

The three Volvo Open 70s passed between Land's End and the Scilly Isles at around 0830 BST this morning and Mike Sanderson's Team Sanya (CHN) had pulled off a similar move to Gitana 11 in tacking north earlier than her two rivals and this was enough to give her an 8-mile lead on her rivals, the Ian Walker-skippered (UAE) and Franck Cammas' Groupama 4 (FRA). However closest to the two super- Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing maxis as they head out across the Celtic Sea was the Farr 80 Beau Geste (HKG), skippered by American Jim Swartz, just two miles ahead of Team Sanya at the latest update this morning.

Meanwhile, looking good on handicap in IRC Z was Niklas Zennstrom's J-V 72 Ràn (GBR), winner of the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. Ràn was taking a similar westerly track to Abu Dhabi and Groupama 4, just four miles ahead of her. This morning the bulk of IR Z are rounding the Lizard, off the south of Cornwall, while IRC 1 is still mid-way between the Lizard and Start Point with the Swan 62, Uxorious IV (GBR), leading on the water.

The IRC 2 fleet is close behind IRC 1 with the trio of RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's First 40 La Réponse, the J/122 Joopster and the A-40 Vitaris Reponse leading the charge on the water.
Like IRC 2, the majority of the IRC 3 fleet were tacking a long tack out into the Channel, with Geronimo 2 was leading on the water. The leaders in IRC4 were also mid-way between Start Point and the Lizard with the S&S 41 Winsome ahead on the water.

Overnight there have been a few more retirements. Aboard the Sigma 38 Zanzara in IRC 4, a crewman was lifted off with a broken leg at 0745 this morning. Meanwhile Richard Palmer's J/109 Jangada Too is retiring into Plymouth with electrical problems.

The weather situation remains complex with a compact depression to the west of Ireland, a substantially larger depression over Iceland, and an area of high pressure over the Bay of Biscay. For those venturing across the Celtic Sea, the movement of these fronts early Tuesday morning is key as they will cause a wind shift from the southwest to the northwest.

The Rolex Fastnet Race finish is in Plymouth Harbour. The main trophy for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than 30 other trophies that will be awarded at the prize giving on Friday, 19 August at the historic Royal Citadel. The Citadel, home to the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, overlooks Plymouth Sound and Sutton Harbour, where the majority of the fleet will berth.

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On board Team Phaedo after a fantastic start to the race, navigator, Ireland's Ian Moore, is happy with their current position.

He made contact last night at 9pm.

"....The sunset is beginning and we are very happy with our position.. we had a great start, picked good shifts, tidal flows and gained well on our exit out of the solent.. The open 60's are with us now and we can see Rambler coming up from behind at pace.

We are very much ahead of where we expected to be at this point.. Over night the breeze will lighten but we hope it will hold and are looking forward to a really good race..."
We will catch them again at the fastnet rock.

Here's a great Phaedo start video from Richard Langdon, the well known British sailing stills photographer who's handling moving pictures pretty well too these days!

 

Published in Fastnet

One of the most impressive sailing sights from the weekend was on the Solent yesterday when three Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 entries Groupama Sailing Team, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and current leader Team Sanya started the Rolex Fastnet Race, the first full blooded test of the boats in the build up to October's start. Ireland has a sponsorship tie in with the Sanya entry and it also has an Irish media man onboard.

 

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
Sign up for this mornung's e-bulletin (see past editions here) for all the weekend's Irish sailing news, pics and results straight to your inbox.

This morning's edition includes photos and pics from Sunday's Figaro departure from Dun Laoghaire and the Rick Tomlinson's pics of the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes. Derry-Londonderry is on her way to Rio in the Clipper race. Regrettably there was no Gold, Silver or Bronze from Weymouth but we're in a strong position. See our video with Annalise here. Plus: The Topper Worlds at the National YC, John Lavery's win at the Flying fifteen South coast champs in Dunmore East, the J24 Nationals from Lough Erne, A local pair whitewashed the RS Feva Nationals in Cork Harbour, some great shots from Bob Bateman. The Oppy Nationals start in Howth and Afloat's Sailor of the Month for July Martin Byrne retained the Dragon Nationals in Kinsale. There's also the full weekend results from Dublin Bay SC.

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Published in Racing
The record-sized Rolex Fastnet Race fleet set sail from Cowes in classic conditions - a beat westward up the Solent in a building west-southwesterly and sunshine, but with an ominous looking cloud line over the mainland. SCROLL DOWN FOR RICK TOMLINSON'S PICS)

In the end there were 314 starters, the largest fleet ever to start the Rolex Fastnet Race following the previous record of 303 in 1979.

The first start at 1100 BST saw the giant multihulls heading off. Fastest out of the blocks were Gitana 11 (FRA), the 23.5m trimaran skippered by Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Sebastien Josse and Roland Jourdain's MOD70 Veolia Environnement (FRA). With round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari manning her aft grinders, Veolia's sistership, Steve Ravussin's Race For Water (SUI), was over the line early and had to restart.

Visible from most parts of the Solent with her 40 meter long hulls and 47 meter tall mast, the world's fastest offshore boat, the Loick Peyron-skippered Maxi Banque Populaire (FRA) trimaran, thundered across the line and had reached the Needles within an hour, sailing upwind at more than 20 knots. Five hours after starting, Banque Populaire was already approaching Start Point, close to 100 miles down the southwest coast from the start.

Next up were the IMOCA 60 monohulls, and by the Needles, Marc Guillemot -- Yann Elies doublehander Safran (FRA), were leading the newer generation boats.

The ebb tide was beginning to kick in by the time the Class 40s started and most chose to hug the island shore in the most favourable current. By the time they reached the Needles, Tanguy de la Motte's 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Initiatives-Alex Olivier (FRA), was a nose ahead of the two Kiwi 40s, Roaring Forty 2 (BEL) and Peraspera (ITA). Shortly after passing through Hurst Narrows there was disaster for the Italian entry, Eutourist Serv-System, when she dismasted.

The wind against tide conditions, that were particularly severe at Hurst Narrows at the western entrance to the Solent, would subsequently take their toll on the 43-foot trimaran, Strontium Dog (GBR), that also suffered a dismasting.

The most impressive display were the smaller IRC boats, funnelling their way through Hurst Narrows, and slowly being overhauled by the larger boats that started after. Doing well in IRC 1 was the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (NED), skippered by veteran sailor Piet Vroon, competing in his 23rd Rolex Fastnet Race.

Prior to leaving Cowes Yacht Haven this morning, Vroon wasn't keen to make many predictions about how this race would unfold. He offered, "A big boat race? It could be an advantage for the bigger boats as they will make Portland and they could get to the Rock before the big wind comes.
"But I don't know. We are bigger than a lot of the small ones! If it is going to be in excess of 30 knots to windward, then it will be hard for the small boats."

Vroon, who won the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2001 said he was expecting to finish sometime on Wednesday morning. "Once we took six days and once we took 68 hours, I believe. So anything in between is good!"

As expected in IRC Zero, the Jim Swartz/Karl Kwok co-skippered Farr 80 Beau Geste (HKG) appeared to be doing well, leading her class through Hurst Narrows ahead of the two silver streaks: Niklas Zennström's 72 foot Ràn (GBR) with Andres Soriano's 68-foot Alegre (GBR) hot on her heels.

Forging their way up the fleet was the intriguing match between the three Volvo Open 70s, due to set off on their round-the-world race this autumn. This is the first time these boats have lined up in anger, and while all three were close as they beat through Hurst Narrows, it was Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), skippered by double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, that was leading former round-the-world race winner Mike Sanderson on Team Sanya (CHN), with Franck Cammas' Groupama 4 (FRA) bringing up the rear.

There was a hurrah for British sailing fans as the two largest monohulls in the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet thundered up their way up the Solent, with Mike Slade's 100 foot ICAP Leopard (GBR) ahead of the more highly-rated Rambler 100 (USA) of George David. The reason for this was that ten minutes after the gun, Rambler had split her headsail in two and the crew had to scramble to set a replacement.

Before the giant fleet had left the Solent, there were a number of casualties. In addition to the two dismastings, the First 375 Little Spirit (GBR) suffered damage to her forestay during a collision with the Bavaria 44 Emerald Star (GBR) and was forced to retire, as was IRC 3 Howling Monkey (GBR) holed in a collision with the J/109 Jambo! (GBR). The canting-keeled Prodigy (GBR) also retired, with mainsail damage.

Conditions for the bulk of the fleet tonight should be relatively fast, particularly for the smaller boats, which will benefit from the wind veering north of west, as the boats further up the course are set to remain headed.

The main trophy for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than 30 other trophies that will be awarded at the prize giving on Friday, 19 August at the historic Royal Citadel. The Citadel, home to the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, overlooks Plymouth Sound and Sutton Harbour, where the majority of the fleet will berth.
Published in Fastnet
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The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.
An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.
The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.
The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.
Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.
www.fastnet.rorc.org
Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.

An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.

The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.

The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.

Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.

Regatta News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fastnet
With just over two days left until the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, a press conference was held yesterday in the Sir Max Aitken Museum in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It was a case of standing room only for the international press that will be covering the Rolex Fastnet Race, the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht race in the world.

Eddie Warden Owen, Chief Executive of the Royal Ocean Racing Club summed up the quality and quantity of this year's race: "The 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race is not just a record fleet, it is a fantastic fleet from professional high performance racing yachts to family owned production yachts raced by corinthian sailors. The biggest yacht is a 140' Trimaran, Maxi Banque Populaire and the smallest, Brightwork a 30' cruising yacht. It is an amazing array of yachts, quite outstanding."

RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine will be racing his First 40, La Réponse and the Commodore has had to qualify for this race just like all of the 300 hundred yachts racing under IRC.

"Besides a large fleet of professional teams racing, there are thousands of sailors competing for the Fastnet Challenge Cup. The Rolex Fastnet Race is a challenge for any of the competitors and this year, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has had a really windy season, so in qualifying for the Race, the competitors are very well prepared. This race was sold out in 11 days back in January. It looks like we are going to have a fantastic race and everybody is really looking forward to it," commented McIrvine.

George David, skipper of Rambler 100, has been enjoying an incredible season, winning the RORC Caribbean 600 overall and taking line honours in last month's Transatlantic Race. The 100' canting keel Maxi is the hot favourite to take line honours for the monohull division, but David is not taking anything for granted: "The weather forecast suggests that we should have wind for the race, there is disagreement about the direction with different forecast models, but it looks as though we should have wind of 12-20 knots, maybe more. We think we could have a shot at the record, but we will see how things go. My main concern when racing is that in order to come first, first you have to finish."

Ross and Campbell Field, the father and son team from New Zealand are both highly accomplished professional sailors, but are new to the Class 40 scene and this will be their
first race together on Hupane. There are over 20 Class 40s in the Rolex Fastnet Race, arguably the most competitive fleet assembled this year.

"I have done a lot of sailing with my Dad and we get on just fine. We are new to the class and we decided to enter this race with a very strong field to see where we are compared to the experienced and successful teams, but we are under no illusions, this is a very good fleet of Class 40s. On board, sometimes I call him Dad, other times Ross, it depends on what message we are trying to get across." said Campbell.

Henry Smith is a squad member of the British Keelboat Academy and will be skippering Yeoman of Wight, which has been loaned to the Academy for young aspiring sailors by former RORC Commodore, David Aisher: "It has always been a personal goal, it is an iconic race and one that I have always wanted to do and this will be my first time. The team on Yeoman are all young, the average age of the crew is 21 and it is very exciting for all of us to be competing, a bit of an Everest really."

In sharp contrast to the young crew on Yeoman of Wight, Ken Newman will be competing in his 27th Fastnet Race in Marinero. Ken reminisced about his first race: "I am in awe sitting here with these supreme sailors. I am glad to be here, but at the age of 82 and a quarter, I am glad to be anywhere! My first Fastnet was in 1957 when 40 boats left Cowes in a gale and by the time we got to Brixham, we had lost both halliards. I had to row ashore to get new blocks which I don't think I paid for. How times have changed since then."

The largest yacht competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race is without doubt the quickest. The 140' Trimaran, Maxi Banque Populaire is skippered by the legendary Loick Peyron and amongst the 14 crew on board is helmsman, Brian Thompson, holder of over 20 world records. "Banque Populaire is capable of reaching and maintaining a speed of nearly 40 knots for several hours. We recently completed a 360 mile race in 12 hours. My dream would be to finish the race with just one night at sea and get in late on Monday night, but the weather may not cooperate.  We would like to thank the RORC for allowing big multihulls into the race and add an extra dimension to it. This year, it is an unbelievable fleet, the best Rolex Fastnet Race ever, possibly the best ocean race ever."

The Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Sunday 14th August at 1100 BST. All of the competing yachts will be fitted with the latest tracking systems from Yellowbrick and many of the yachts are capable of sending back messages, pictures and even video of the drama as it unfolds.

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Sign up for Monday's Afloat e-bulletin (see past editions here) for all this weekend's Irish sailing news, pics and results straight to your inbox.

Monday's edition includes photos and pics from Sunday's Figaro departure from Dun Laoghaire and the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes. Will it be Gold, Silver or Bronze from Weymouth? How will Peter, David and Annalise end up at the Pre-Olympics? Plus: The Topper Worlds at the National YC, Flying fifteen South coast champs in Dunmore East, the J24 Nationals from Lough Erne, Teens battle for the RS Feva Nationals in Cork Harbour,  the Cove People's Regatta, The Oppy Nationals at Howth and the Dragon Nationals from Kinsale. There's also the full results from Dublin Bay SC and Howth.

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Published in Racing
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