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Dunmore East’s Fulmar Fever Has Her Moment of Glory as Plymouth Celebrates Volvo 65’s Successful Debut

10th August 2017
Power play. Dongfeng’s 54-seconds win in the Volvo 65 OD Class has been a forceful demonstration of the new concept’s potential Power play. Dongfeng’s 54-seconds win in the Volvo 65 OD Class has been a forceful demonstration of the new concept’s potential

An event as complex as the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 throws up so many facts and figures in a very short space of time that we have to make sense of it all on the hop as best we can writes W M Nixon. Thus it may well be that in the long run, people will remember that this year’s classic showed that when the Volvo World Race people said their new generation of boats were going to be completely and utterly one design, they really meant it – they finished as a group, and the winner Dongfeng was only 54 seconds ahead of second-placed Mapfre.

But with 312 boats racing in the IRC Division, trying to make sense of it takes quite a bit of doing, and every so often the Secret Angels of the Internet throw in a glitch which give us pause for thought, and then some.

fulmar fever2The yellow-hulled Fulmar Fever getting a good start in a WHSC event at Dunmore East
One such pause came at lunchtime yesterday. There we were, all wondering what were the chances of that decent man Ron O’Hanley from America holding on to his popular overall lead with his Cookson 50 Privateer, when up it popped on the Official Leaderboard: The winning boat was Robert Marchant’s Fulmar 32 Fulmar Fever from Waterford Harbour SC at Dunmore East.

fulmar fever3Her moment of glory. At lunchtime today, Fulmar Fever was on top

fulmar fever4And it seems it was no error. She may still have been at sea, slugging along towards the Fastnet, but the fates had decided it was Fulmar Fever’s day to be overall winner

Click over to the Tracker Chart, and it was further confirmed, even if somehow it had happened while the bright yellow Fulmar Fever was still slugging to windward in the middle of the Celtic Sea at a determined 5.4 knots.

By now, it has all been sorted out. But that little twist to events was a reminder of the sheer variety of the Fastnet fleet, and the gallant effort made by people like Robert Marchant and his Number One helm Dave Delahunt to get to Cowes, and then get themselves around the Fastnet course in a hefty boat of another era.

Meanwhile, in the zippier end of the fleet, for the Irish contingent it emerges the Donegal men have been doing well, and so has a top skipper from Belfast Lough. Best placed finisher at 30th overall is Sean McCarter of Lough Swilly in command of the Infiniti 46R Maverick, while his clubmate Richie Fearon in charge of Alan Hannon’s RP 45 Katsu is 32nd.

artemis ocean5Skippered by Mikey Ferguson from Bangor, Artemis Ocean Racing has managed to beat Rambler 88 by one place on corrected time

Mikey Ferguson from Bangor is skipper of the IRC-rated former IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing, and he has finished to place 34th, which puts him one place ahead on corrected time of the mighty Rambler 88, no less, so this is something to be savoured.

For many in the body of the fleet, there’s still a long way to go, but Afloat.ie suggests you keep a close eye on the Tracker here 

And if those Secret Angels of the Internet are throwing more magic glitches, you never know what you might find...

Published in Fastnet
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Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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