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A year from now the start gun will fire on what will be the most significant, historic edition of the world’s largest offshore yacht race. Setting sail from Cowes on Saturday 22nd July 2023 will be the 50th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race. For a second consecutive occasion, this will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin via a 695 nautical mile course via the Fastnet Rock. Because this is a special edition, complete with celebrations taking place on both sides of the Channel prior to the start and at the finish, it is expected to attract a record-sized fleet.

The first race, then simply known as the ‘Ocean Race’ and held on a course from Ryde to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, took place in 1925 with seven starters. A dinner immediately after the finish resulted in the Ocean Racing Club being established with Lt Cmdr EG Martin, owner of the first race’s winner, Jolie Brise, appointed Commodore.

Since then, top sailors from all over the world have competed in this most famous of the world's 'classic 600 mile offshore races'. The Fastnet Race was inspired by the Newport-Bermuda offshore race (first held in 1906) and US entries have remained strong. Notable US winners include yacht designer Rod Stephens Snr with Dorade (1931 and 1933); Dick Nye with Carina II (1955 and 1957); innovative designer Dick Carter with Rabbit (1965) and Red Rooster (1969); CNN founder Ted Turner's Tenacious which won the infamous 1979 race; and, most recently, David and Peter Askew on Wizard (2019).

The race has always attracted a powerful entry from the continent and especially France, with the great Eric Tabarly winning on board Pen Duick III in 1967. As France has come to dominate all walks of offshore racing, so four of the last 10 races have been won by their yachts.

The famous gaff-rigged pilot cutter Jolie Brise won the very first Fastnet Race in 1925 and hopes to take part in the 50th edition Photo: Rick Tomlinson The famous gaff-rigged pilot cutter Jolie Brise won the very first Fastnet Race in 1925 and hopes to take part in the 50th edition Photo: Rick Tomlinson 

Over the last two decades participation in the  Fastnet Race has skyrocketed making it the biggest offshore race in the world. While the pro fleets such as the Class40 and IMOCA remain open, the size of the IRC fleet racing for the event’s top prize – the Fastnet Challenge Cup remains limited. As a result, when entry for the 50th  Fastnet Race opens on 11 January 2023, past experience indicates that positions will be filled and a waiting list begun within a matter of seconds.

For most of its life the Fastnet Race has been held biennially, however from the first race until 1931 it was held annually and three editions were lost due to World War 2. The race gained a special standing on the international stage during the decades as the hardest and deciding race of the internationally renowned Admiral’s Cup; the unofficial world championship of yachting.

As ever the 50th Fastnet Race will gather a giant fleet spanning sailing clubs and schools, families and charter companies, for many of whom doing the race will be the pinnacle of their sailing careers; to the bulk of the fleet, the IRC cruiser-racers and racers; to the most successful privately-owned grand prix race boats from around the world, including the maxi monohulls jockeying for overall line-honour; to the impressive and highly competitive French fleets such as the 100ft Ultime trimarans, the IMOCA 60s of the Vendée Globe and Ocean Race and the Class40s.

A giant, record-breaking fleet will race to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin from Cowes in the 50th edition of the Fastnet Race next summer Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/RolexA giant, record-breaking fleet will race to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin from Cowes in the 50th edition of the Fastnet Race next summer Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

The 32m Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set a new race record for the 695nm course to Cherbourg of 1 day 9 hrs 15 mins 54 secs Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/RolexThe 32m Ultime Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set a new race record for the 695nm course to Cherbourg of 1 day 9 hrs 15 mins 54 secs Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex 

The IMOCA 60 Apivia at the emblematic Fastnet Rock in the 2021 Fastnet Race Photo: Kurt Arrigo/RolexThe IMOCA 60 Apivia at the emblematic Fastnet Rock in the 2021 Fastnet Race Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

The Fastnet Race fleet will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin for the historic edition of the world’s largest offshore yacht race Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORCThe Fastnet Race fleet will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin for the historic edition of the world’s largest offshore yacht race Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

Competitors should note that this year’s race will start earlier than normal, on 22nd July when the tides will be more favourable. This will allow ample time to complete the race and cover the 75-mile reach back to the Solent in time to take part in Cowes Week.

“Interest in the Fastnet Race is exceptional, even a year out from the start there looks set to be strong interest from Europe once again,” says Chris Stone, Racing Manager of the RORC, currently in Helsinki for the start of the RORC-organised Roschier Baltic Sea Race, where several of the yachts competing are already preparing for the 50th Fastnet Race. “We look forward to running our premier event again, free from any of the worries or constraints of the pandemic.” The last edition of the race pre-pandemic had a record 388 entries.

The Race Office will be open in Cowes, Hamble and Cherbourg from 17th July 2023 and the Race Village in Cherbourg will be open several days prior to the start, sending off the French pro classes to Cowes for the start of the race.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club is working on the finish with L’Association Arrivée Fastnet Cherbourg in partnership with the town of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Communauté d’Agglomération du Cotentin and the Département de la Manche et Région Normandie.

Celebrations for the RORC will continue in 2025 when the club will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

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A historic gaff cutter that won the Fastnet Race in 1927 and was saved from the scrapyard in 2017 is gradually being restored to its former glory — but needs support to keep the project going.

Tally Ho was built by Stow & Son in Shoreham-by-Sea in 1909 and launched in 1910. It went on to win the Fastnet Race for Lord Stalbridge, Hugh Grosvenor, in 1927.

The boat was designed by Albert Strange and some years ago it was saved by the Albert Strange Association in the Pacific North West of the United States but after a decade of trying and failing to find someone to take on the project, Tally Ho was destined to be destroyed.

Leo Sampson Goolden, a boatbuilder and sailor from Bristol, stepped in at the 11th hour and bought the boat for £1 in May 2017 — even relocating to rural Washington state to embark on the project.

“Although Tally Ho spent a lot of her life on the Hamble and on the Solent, she was originally built in Shoreham,” Leo said of his motivations.

Acknowledging that Tally Ho — which currently resides in Port Townshend, northwest of Seattle — is a well-known and important historic vessel, Leo admitted it was overwhelming to see the amount of work to do.

But as previously reported on, ever since he has been charting the story of the boat and its restoration on the Sampson Boat Co channel on YouTube, helping to fund parts and the work needed.

And public support via donations, purchasing parts from the rebuild ‘wish list’ or becoming a patron of the project could help see it to fruition and get closer to achieving Leo’s dream of sailing the vessel back to the UK — and competing in the Fastnet Race once more.

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Following the success of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and its French partners are delighted to announce the date for the next edition of its flagship event in 2023. The 50th edition of the world’s largest offshore race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Saturday 22nd July, 2023, prior to the annual Cowes Week festivities.

Jean-Louis Valentin, President of the Arrival Fastnet Cherbourg Association comments: “We are delighted to once again welcome the arrival of the mythical Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in 2023. The Association and Public Partners; the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Agglomeration Community du Cotentin, the Department of Manche and the Normandy Region continue to work hand-in-hand to welcome this great international maritime race to our region. The new date of 22nd July 2023 will attract more people and we will again offer a warm welcome to sailors before the start of the race and a big party at the finish. Our teams are already working with the RORC to make the arrival of this 50th edition a great festival and friendly event for everyone.”

“We will all be looking forward to taking part in what will be a very special anniversary year for the Rolex Fastnet Race. Following the resounding success of this year’s edition, we will again be finishing in Cherbourg and expect to attract a record entry. We feel certain that our partners in France (City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Agglomeration Community du Cotentin, the Department of Manche and the Normandy Region) will ensure competitors and visitors receive the same warm welcome and will be able to celebrate the golden jubilee race in inimitable French style,” comments RORC Commodore, James Neville.

Tom Kneen and crew on his JPK 11.80 Sunrise - jubilant after winning the Fastnet Challenge Cup in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Paul WyethTom Kneen and crew on his JPK 11.80 Sunrise - jubilant after winning the Fastnet Challenge Cup in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Paul Wyeth

“The 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will run before Cowes Week in 2023 in order to cope with the berthing needs of the large fleet prior to the start on 22nd July, and pre-event registration will again be offered to competitors in Cherbourg. We are excited to be working with our hosts once more for the finish of this great race and expect it to be even better than the 2021 event,” says Race Director, Chris Stone.

The mighty Maxi Skorpios established a monohull record for the new course of 2 days 8 hrs 33 mins and 55 secsThe mighty Maxi Skorpios established a monohull record for the new course of 2 days 8 hrs 33 mins and 55 secs

The biennial 690 nautical mile race is a rite of passage for all those taking part and is one of the very few global events where Corinthian sailors can compete on the same race course as their sporting heroes. The ultimate goal is to take home the overall trophy; the historic Fastnet Challenge Cup - first presented back in 1925, but for most sailors, to complete the race and the tough personal challenge; to test their mettle against others in their class, or to compete against hundreds of passionate sailors from around the globe, is the main attraction of this renowned classic offshore race.

The arrival of the immense fleet will once again be eagerly anticipated, with spectators enjoying the atmosphere of the international yachting festival as boats complete the 690 nautical mile course from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, via the Fastnet Rock. Starting with the first arrivals from the 23rd of July, the daily influx of international competitors on a diverse range of boats culminates in a memorable prizegiving to mark the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg on Friday 28th July 2023.

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Would Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise have still won the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 if it had been sailed on the old course, with Plymouth rather than Cherbourg as the finish? Imponderable it may be, but it's a question of renewed interest as the row rumbles on about the in-race shortening of the recent Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021.

This course shortening was done in view of a developing northeasterly storm which soon made the harbour-mouth finish dangerously impossible for smaller boats still at sea. But as everyone is now well aware, it meant that Sunrise – already finished and in port along with two-thirds of the fleet – had to make do with second overall, after looking for a while as though she was about to achieve the magnificent double of Fastnet and Middle Sea overall victories in one season, achieved with such style that it would all have been done and dusted within the space of three months.

But the unhappy outcome instead caused an almighty row, and some of us sought shelter in trying to analyse it from a different point of view. The affable but very keen and obviously extremely effective Tom Kneen is a loyal member of the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, and he happily admitted that in the RORC members' poll about the change to the Fastnet course, he had voted in favour of the traditional finish in Plymouth rather than race the extra 90 miles to a new big-scale welcome in Cherbourg.

The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.

Ironically, it may well be that the extra 90 miles "imposition" gave Sunrise her clearcut win. She had been reasonably well-placed but not winning at earlier stages, thus it was the lengthened final stage after the Bishop Rock and up the middle of the English Channel in a private breeze – a feat repeated with almost equal success by Ronan O Siochru's Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire – which saw Sunrise get so clearly into the Glitter Zone.

But having been given a portal to overall success by the long-planned extension of the Fastnet Race, Sunrise then found the door to a Middle Sea repeat slammed shut in her face by the sudden imposition of a course shortening. Some may raise their eyes to heaven and say: "The Lord Giveth, the Lord Taketh Away". But the more grounded have raised – not for the first time – the question of whether well-meaning amateurs should have ultimate control of the running of any major event in which the combined long-term expense of involvement by a huge fleet – whether amateur or professional – is a figure running into tens and probably hundreds of millions of euro.

The crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North SailsThe crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North Sails

Instinctively, many of us will incline to the support of the enthusiastic amateurs. But the harsher judges will quote Damon Runyon who, on enquiring about the activities of one of his Manhattan acquaintances, was told that: "He is doing the best he can", to which Runyon responded that he found this to be a very over-crowded profession.


The voluntary race administrators in the Royal Malta Yacht Club came in for huge flak and this week issued what is in effect a mea culpa and a promise to do better in future. But it's going to rumble on like the Palme volcano for some time yet, and just yesterday Peter Ryan, the Chairman of ISORA, suggested they should now declare two sets of results as though they'd been running two races of different lengths in parallel all along, which if nothing else would lead to dancing in the streets in the Silversmiths' Quarter in Valetta.

And there have been suggestions that the RORC "should consider its position in relation to the Middle Sea Race", which is polite-speak for saying that the RORC should at least think about withdrawing its active support from what is essentially the Royal Malta YC's premier event. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and people making this extreme proposal are failing to take note that there's a turf war (ridiculous to have a turf war at sea, but there you are) going on between the ORC and the IRC measurement systems.

One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.

The IRC is very much identified with the RORC, while the ORC has its own setup. And even as quiet territorial expansions are taking place on various fronts with new events emanating from both camps - the interesting Finnish-connected RORC race in the Baltic is one example – a proposed marriage between the World Championships of both systems appears to have resulted in the IRC being left stranded at the altar without a word of explanation.

In this febrile atmosphere, were the RORC to dump on the Royal Malta, it's always possible that the ORC's organisation might step into the breach, for the Middle Sea Race now has a momentum and vitality of its own, and it will happen each year regardless of politicking ashore.

A public spat online was inevitable, and in time we'll be persuaded that it has cleared the air, for that's the way these things happen even if various waters are temporarily muddied. But in global sailing, however big the row, it will only have been in the ha'penny place by comparison with the controversies which are now in the DNA of the America's Cup, which has been a joy and delight for m'learned friends ever since the original hand-written Deed of Gift – inkily scratched on parchment in 1857 – went on to become a Protocol in 1882 which was then revised in 1887.


In Ireland, we may well be suffering from Protocol Fatigue these days, but regardless of our feelings, the long-awaited Protocol for the next staging of the America's Cup – AC37 – will be revealed on Wednesday, November 17th by defenders Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd.

Doubtless, there'll be many bumps in the road between now and then, just as there have been bumps to the point of chasms in getting to where they are now. It's an uneven progress, with the professional/amateur divide still involved to such an extent that when the New York Yacht Club recently announced that they were "passing" on direct club participation this time around, in a subsequent statement the New Zealanders described the NYYC Commodore as a "Corinthian".

The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.

This is normally a term of approval, but there was a distinct feeling that approval was not the intention in this case. In addition to the increasingly complex legalities, it made things personal, and that is not a good place to be in a situation like this.

But then this "situation" has become a world of its own. So much so, in fact, that the America's Cup legalities have provided the makings of its own department in the University of Auckland, and it has already graduated its own PhD in the shape of Dr Hamish Ross, who published his latest findings this week. You've probably read it already, but even so, it's a good browse for a November Saturday morning:


In eleven days' time, the Protocol for the 37th America's Cup is due to be revealed, eight months after Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Limited filed a notice challenge under the Deed of Gift.

What can we expect and what is likely to be left unanswered?

Sources close to the Defender indicate that the all-important venue selection is yet to be made and may not be announced until as late as March 2022. This will not be welcome news to the Challenger of Record, who will be getting impatient. It has a right to fall back onto the Deed default match terms if relations become strained, which will likely result in a commercial black hole.

Given the selected venue may impact the yacht to be raced, publication of the Class Rule may be similarly delayed, although it was at least agreed last March, that it would be in the AC75 class used in Auckland. There are always refinements to be made. If there is a meaningful push towards costs savings, as has been announced, look for more supplied or common design elements in the same way as the foil systems were supplied for AC36 in Auckland.

Unfortunately, the Deed requirement that the competing yachts must be "constructed in the country" of the respective competing yacht clubs puts the brakes on what could be achieved. In the past, this requirement has sometimes been interpreted rather liberally focusing on the hull, but many would agree that the Deed probably only requires an assembly of components, which can be sourced from anywhere, to create a yacht.
The "construction in-country" term of the Deed has never been fully tested in a court or jury, although the issue was on the table at the end of the 2010 match. Expect sailing restrictions and launch dates to remain to limit the advantages of well-funded competitors.

Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.

Commercial rights will likely largely remain as they have been since Valencia 2007. Will there be a profit-sharing mechanism between competitors as in 2007 and 2013, if there is a financial surplus? It would seem a major venue financial windfall would be unlikely in the current economic climate.

Timing of the match, and the preceding challenger series may be difficult to fix without a venue having been decided. Don't expect to see firm dates yet. The Deed has hemisphere restrictions limiting the times when a match can be held in each hemisphere. There are seasonal weather and oceanographic factors to be considered at any venue.

Additionally, there is the timing of other events to consider. Few would want to take on a head-on commercial and media clash with the Olympics or the Football World Cup, which traditionally sucks out a lot of sports fan eyeballs and commercial sponsorship from the sports sponsorship market.

A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.

What other events will be held before the start of the challenger series? Expect a warmup regatta or two. There may be a concessionary warm-up regatta in Auckland on the table to try to calm local waters. But these regattas all cost money, a loss of valuable time and never raise enough money for them to be self-funding when an effort is said to be made to reduce costs.

More chance they will be held in the selected venue than holding a global circuit like Sail GP. A defender will always want an opportunity to check-in against the challengers before the match to try and limit any surprises. Expect Sail GP to actively look into holding an event or two in Auckland during the America's Cup match, if Auckland is not the selected venue!

What will prospective challengers be looking for? When will they see the Class Rule? How long will they have to design, build and test a yacht? How much of a design head start have the Defender and the Challenger of Record given themselves? What will it cost them to compete? Can they hire the design, boatbuilding and sailing talent needed?

This will put the nationality rule into sharp focus– can they get approvals from the Defender as an "emerging nation"? Where will it be held? Don't expect billionaires to line up for an unattractive venue with security risks. What advertising space on the yacht do they have to sell to their sponsors and what space will be taken by the event and in what product categories? Will Prada or Louis Vuitton return as a sponsor? Above all, is there a chance to win or is it simply too stacked up against us?

Expect entry fees to remain the same or increase. US$3,350,000 plus a bond of US$1m was the cheapest entry last time. Expect the challenges to again contribute towards the costs of the challenger selection series unless a sponsor agrees to fund it as did Prada last time.

Finally, who gets to amend the Protocol and the Class Rules? Can anyone competitor block a change? Will there be a tyranny of the majority or simply a Defender and Challenger of Record dictatorship?
Drafting a Protocol involves a delicate balance of many issues both sporting and commercial. Get it wrong and it could be 2007-2010 all over again. Nail it, and it will be back to the big America's Cup heydays of Fremantle 1986-87 or Valencia 2007.


For the top end of the international sailing world, the next ten days will be extremely interesting, as we can only guess at the global wheeling and dealing and drafting going on behind the scenes. And when the AC37 Protocol is published, we can be quite sure there'll be controversy, which is meat and drink to the communications industry in all its forms.

In fact, controversy is the gift that just keeps on giving. For even after you've agreed a settlement on whatever is causing the current high profile controversy, you can then go on to have a controversy about how the word "controversy" should be properly pronounced… 

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Following a penalty handed down by the Fastnet Race jury, Pamela Lee of RL Sailing tells her side of the story

Not until the late morning after our finish, after celebrating and being interviewed for our win, did we get the news through text message that apparently we had a time penalty from a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) infringement. I was extremely shocked and in denial, because I specifically remember watching our track closely while going around the TSS to make sure we did so correctly, I was even sure that I saw other boats take an inside track from ours. I remembered it so vividly...

Straight away I went to the race office to investigate and inquire where the grounds for the penalty came from. I was shown our recorded Yellow Brick track that indicated us going inside the TSS corner. Still shocked by the claims and what I was seeing, I explained that I was certain we went outside the TSS and that I had the track on the boat computer to prove it. I was recommended to lodge a hearing request with the Protest committee, which I immediately did.

Pamela Lee & Kenneth Rumball are celebrated after crossing the iine. Many hours were to pass before they were made aware there might be a problem.Pamela Lee and Kenneth Rumball are celebrated after crossing the iine. Many hours were to pass before they were made aware there might be a problem.

At that stage, I had a very short window of time to gather all the information I could to argue our case before the International Jury. The boat was also being prepared to depart immediately to head South for the start of La Solitaire Du Figaro, so there was real-time pressure to get what I needed from the computer.

I retrieved the recorded GPS track from the Adrena Navigating Software on the boat computer, which clearly indicates our GPS recording our track well outside the TSS. I also checked all the coordinates of the TSS against the racing instructions to make sure I had the correct area in, which I did.

All their own on-board data indicated they’d been clear outside the TSSAll their own on-board data indicated they’d been clear outside the TSS - Here the Adrena software track (green line) shows RL sailing outside the TSS. Screenshot RL Sailing

A screenshot of The Yellow Brick RORC GPS tracker showing RL sailing inside the red traffic separation schemeA screenshot of RORC's Fastnet Race GPS tracker showing the no-go traffic separation scheme in red tint and the track of RL Sailing. Source: YB Tracker

Something to note, and that came into play for this entire episode although at the time we did not know it, is that during the race, when we reached the Fastnet Rock (after the alleged TSS infringement) our onboard GPS lost signal and we were forced to round the Rock completely blind in what was a pitch-black night. This in itself was a stressful and nerve-wracking experience as we had to furl the Code 0, avoid the lights of other boats and the rock itself without really knowing where we were. Once we rounded the Rock I was able to re-boot the computer and eventually our GPS signal came back. Strangely, our computer recorded an incorrect track of us going inside the rock, which didn't happen. The Yellow Brick track recorded us going around the rock.

GPS Track Black out at the Fastnet. Screenshot RL SailingA GPS Track black out at the Fastnet Rock. Screenshot RL Sailing

Subsequently, after that and through the rest of the race our GPS signal went a number of times and computer re-boots became the norm. From this post-analysis, a possible conclusion could be that our GPS was giving us the wrong information in the period before arriving at the Fastnet - potentially telling me I was somewhere I was not, or mixing up the information all together. This is disturbing on many levels as early in the race I had taken our navigation very close inshore to get out of the current, unaware of any potential GPS issues.

Redress request

I went into the hearing with the international Jury to request redress of the 10% penalty for infringement of the TSS on the ground that our GPS track showed us very clearly going outside the TSS. One of my witnesses was Yale Poupon, the skipper on the second Figaro, who came to second our story, saying they witnessed our GPS malfunction at the rock and even called us on the radio to check-in and that if such an infringement occurred it was to no gain and should not cause such a penalty.

I sat in front of an international jury of five men and talked through a presentation of our GPS track illustrating the fact that as far as we, and our boat knew we were well outside the TSS. However, it was one GPS word against the other, and as to be expected the Yellow Brick RORC GPS won. On denying the redress, the head Juror hastened to offer that they agreed the 10% time penalty was somewhat archaic and overly harsh. I think that's a slight understatement when over 5 days 10% equates to about 12 hours, so even with over a 5-hour lead we still could not hold on to our position, even though with a conflicting GPS track the infringement was questionable.

Anyway, it is what it is and this, unfortunately, is one of the factors of yacht racing we need to live with and take on board (pardon the pun). I'm choosing to fill you in on this story, not to grumble in grievance, but to highlight an aspect of offshore racing that is really important for navigators, skippers and all racers to learn from. It is not as simple as getting around the course first, there is so much more at play in every race, as well as before and afterwards.

Not a sob story

I am also very conscious for this story not to be turned into a dramatised 'sob story' as I know, through the supporting messages and following we received that many Irish sailors followed our race and may have been motivated and inspired from our success - I hope in particular the younger generation, particularly the female sailors who aspire to skippering and navigating has been so.

For us, we have worked hard to take some key learning points from how the result has unfolded. These include the importance of awareness of the potential weaknesses and faults in your onboard technology, it is easy for us to become reliant on our instruments, but we should always question them and always check them. It has illuminated even more the use of backup GPS programs and to use them even when everything else seems fine and fully functional. It also highlighted to us the disadvantage of having to rent a boat intermittently, which means you do not have ultimate power over-controlling and regulating the functioning of the equipment on board, it also meant we had less time to prepare the boat prior to the race and really test all the equipment. Time in offshore racing is important, not only on the water but all the time beforehand and having the time and the budget to work with your own equipment is just as important as being able to use it to win a race on the day. Going forward, these aspects will take a stronger precedent in my campaign priority's and I hope one day to have enough budget to run my own boat for an entire season and more - and you can be sure any navigation going forward will have threefold GPS signal access and back up!

At the end of the day we are lucky it wasn't more serious, a questionable infringement that lost us the best race of my life so far......still much better than hitting a rock, or another boat. It is character and experience building and I truly believe that to improve at offshore sailing you need to build, build and build on experience.

Awesome race

As far as we are concerned, we raced an awesome race that put us across the finish line over 5 hours ahead of the next competitor in a one-design class. We sailed the boat fast, we pushed hard and we made smart navigation decisions that paid off. Not for a moment in that race did I stop thinking about 'the next move'. We battled to the end and even then took places on the finish from a double-handed boat sailed by sailors we revere such as Alexis Loison on Leon and Shirley Robertson Swell! Above all, we had fun and capitalized on our hard work and training from the season. Even with all that happened and after six days of no sleep - I was still ready to go out and do it all again the next day! I hope that everyone watching took this away from the Fastnet 2021 and we will see even more Irish sailors on the start line and the leader board next time.

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This year the Rolex Fastnet Race featured on the Classe Figaro calendar. Unfortunately, the proximity of it to the mid-August start of La Solitaire du Figaro, the class’ premier event and the effective World Championship of solo offshore racing, meant that just five Figaros took part. Victory went to a rookie pairing.

Built by Beneteau and designed by VPLP, the 32ft Figaro 3 is an early generation foiler monohull that replaced the Figaro 2 in 2019. But to give some idea of its exceptional performance, the boat has an IRC TCC of around 1.115 - around the same as a Corby 38 or Ker 39.

Sadly the big 35 knots upwind, wind against tide conditions at the start put two Figaro 3s out of action. British favourites, the mixed duo of Cat Hunt and former Artemis Offshore Academy student Hugh Brayshaw aboard Ross Farrow’s Stormwave 2.0 retired after their D2 broke. Meanwhile, sail damage on Eric & Denis Delamare’s Hope forced them to limp into Cherbourg.

And then there were three...

In the conditions, Ireland’s Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee on RL Sailing did a better job playing the shifts and tides. As they rock-hopped around the Lizard they had pulled into the lead ahead of Figaro class rookies Yael Poupon and Victor Le Pape aboard AD Fichou - Innovéo / Bihannic. These two Figaro 3s match raced their way across the Celtic Sea with the Irish leading around their rock with a 20-minute advantage.

After being on the wind all the way down the Channel and on one tack for most of the crossing, the return journey back from the Fastnet Rock to Bishop Rock on a reach in a bit more wind finally enabled the powerful Figaro 3s to make use their boats’ foils. They kept west and rounded the west side of the Traffic Separation Scheme west of the Scilly Isles before getting parked in a ridge in the early hours of Thursday morning.

After three or so hours the two managed to find the breeze but, getting out first, RL Sailing benefitted from being able to sail a largely direct course as AD Fichou - Innovéo / Bihannic lost ground putting in gybes. The two boats ultimately played the approach to the Alderney Race differently with the Irish ducking south of Guernsey and then allowing themselves to get drawn north on the powerful Alderney Race as their rivals managed to soldier through gybing downwind to the north. RL Sailing ultimately arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning more than five hours ahead of her rivals. Sadly the race’s jury later found that RL Sailing had unintentionally entered a TSS (prohibited zones under race rules) and awarded them a 10% penalty dropping them to last place.

This handed victory to AD Fichou - Innovéo / Bihannic sailed by former French Laser champion Yael Poupon (no relation to 3x Solitaire de Figaro and Route du Rhum winner Philippe) and Victor Le Pape (son of the long term head of France’s most famous training centre for offshore racing, Pôle Finistère course au large in Port la Fôret). Aged 22 and 23 respectively they represent a new generation of Figaro sailors coming through in France. For Le Pape in particular watersports are part of his family DNA. His elder brother Martin is also a Figaro sailor and his sister is IMOCA skipper Charlie Dalin’s girlfriend. He spent 10 years windsurfing before he started sailing in anger on board J/80s and Open 5.70s then getting drawn, like a big magnet, towards the Classe Figaro, joining forces with Poupon.

Waving the Class winner flag - AD Fichou - Innovéo Bihannic celebrates winning Figaro 3 Photo: Paul WyethWaving the Class winner flag - AD Fichou - Innovéo Bihannic celebrates winning Figaro 3 Photo: Paul Wyeth

In 2021 Poupon and Le Pape are known as ‘bizuths’ in France, ie Figaro sailors in their first season, and this year have competed in the Figaro class’ Tour de Bretagne and singlehanded in the Solo Concarneau (in which Poupon raced another Figaro). Neither is racing in La Solitaire this year.

For both this was their first Rolex Fastnet Race. Of Sunday’s lively start Le Pape admitted it was alarming. He joked:

“Everyone I spoke to said ‘you are crazy to do it in a Figaro3’. After that first night, I think they were right. Next time I might take a drier boat!”

However, both were impressed by the huge fleet and its diversity from 100ft Ultime trimarans and the mighty ClubSwan 125 Skorpios down, via the IMOCA fleet including many of France’s best known sailors.

“It was a spectacular start but it was very hard,” said Poupon. “The waves were very strong. We put a reef in the mainsail and a reef in the jib - I have never sailed this boat in this configuration before.” He also admitted that compared to sailing in the Figaro fleet where speed differentials between the boats is usually no more than a small fraction of a knot, in the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet bigger boats were passing them sailing several knots faster. “There’s no other event where you can sail with so many boats and so many different boats - it is a new experience. And in 35 knots! Our goal was not to break anything as we knew that a few hours after it would be more calm and we wanted to have all our sails in one piece.”

Rounding the Fastnet Rock was dramatic – at 0200 and in thick fog. As le Pape explained:

“We didn’t see the rock, just the light. There was perhaps 0.1 miles of visibility and we couldn’t see anything. Yael said to me ‘okay the Fastnet is here’. And I was going ‘where? Are you sure??’ I can’t see anything! It was amazing - a crazy experience.”

For them, they were only trapped in the Scilly Isles for around three hours before setting off downwind for the south side of the Casquets TSS. However, they did well in the Alderney Race. “We arrived at Cape de la Hague at a good time because the current had turned and we just had a little bit of current with us.”

So will they return to do the Rolex Fastnet Race?

“Yes,” says le Pape. “But I don’t know in the Figaro. Maybe in a Class40. I want to come in a bigger boat!”

Disappointment for Greystones RL Sailing

The penalty for the Irish was naturally a disappointing conclusion for their doublehanded Figaro season. The experienced offshore sailing duo, who by coincidence both herald from Greystones in County Wicklow, were brought together with the common aim of competing in the elusive mixed doublehanded offshore event proposed for Paris 2024. This season they had already spent the first four months at the Figaro training centre in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and were therefore familiar with the set-up, settings and modes of their quirky foil-born yacht. They then competed in the class’ Sardinha Cup and doublehanded Tour de Bretagne à la Voile.

Wicklow’s Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee on RL SailingIreland’s Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee on RL Sailing

Of their Rolex Fastnet Race Rumball reflected: “We were a lot closer than we realised. Coming out of the Solent was tough, there was a lot of wind. We reefed the main and the jib and were the first Figaro out of the Solent.

"Our closest competition was Victor le Pape – he was right on us the whole time and we were doing a lot of the same stuff at the same time which was kind of nice. It was good to have a real battle. We were playing the currents a lot and there were one or two points when we were going out to specifically play the current and that then paid.”

Lee continued: “We came off Portland well, and then at Start Point we went in and tacked our way up to the tidal gate. We were pretty well set up for the leg up to the Fastnet. We went south of the TSS and did well to get the breeze and current. It was a beat round the Scillies and then we quickly cracked off, went to a Code Zero and then our small spinnaker. It was quite a closely hauled reach on the way back from the Fastnet – we were on a J2, we couldn’t put up the Code Zero which would have been great.

“Then we had the shutdown at the Scillies. We went south of the west of the TSS, it looked like others got stuck behind us but we managed to slip through just. We all parked up though – we were thinking about kedging, counting the lines to see if we had enough! - but we had a feeling the breeze would come in south, so focused on getting south, and it did and so, of the people parked up, we were the first to get the wind. We were parked for six hours, the same time as it took to get from the TSS to Guernsey!

“Then we were set up by Guernsey and were three-sail reaching again and caught a lot of boats on that leg under small spinnaker and Code Zero. That was ripe for the Figaro, the ideal point of sail; we were probably averaging 13/14 knots - we just hammered it.”

Lee felt their boldest move was at the Alderney Race.

“At Guernsey, the tide was going to be against - we’d done loads of routings and knew it was a big risk because the wind was a bit fickle and wasn’t filling in, but we were the only boat to go south and came up around Guernsey and hopped into the tide there and that shot us north around the headland. We got the tide the whole way up and only hit negative tide just near the finish. It was a risk - but it paid. We were doing 12 knots over the ground – faster than the wind speed for a while!”

Both Rumball and Lee are keen to continue doublehanding but, with no firm Olympic goal, this is now harder to do commercially:

"It makes it harder to get funding – with Olympics as the goal then it made it tangible – they understand, they get it. But if you say you want to go off and sail doublehanded, they ask ‘why?..’ it makes it more challenging to formulate a campaign. But I think, regardless, how doublehanded sailing has taken off, I’d find it hard to go back to fully crewed.”

Fastnet Race results for the Figaro class are here

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Yes indeed. With only a fortnight to go to the Golden Jubilee of ISORA's emergence from the old Northwest Offshore Association, Chairman Peter Ryan of Dun Laoghaire and Honorary Secretary Stephen Tudor of Pwllheli and their members can walk tall in the knowledge that all three boats with direct ISORA connections that were doing the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 have been very much in the big-time success frame.

Let's go straight to the IRC Overall listing, in which 264 boats started - everything from slim little Contessa 32s up to the mighty 140ft Skorpios. We've only gone three places down the listing when we come to the Lombard 46 Pata Negra. Until now, she has only been a rare visitor to the Irish Sea, if at all. But she'd have been here last August when Darren Wright of Howth had her lined up for the postponed Round Ireland Race, as he knew the boat with his successes with her in the RORC Caribbean 600. But then the Round Ireland 2020 had to be cancelled completely.

Now, she's owned by Andrew Hall of Pwllheli, who must have sailed every course in the ISORA programme many times in boats like Jackknife and Jackhammer. Whether or not Pata Negra becomes an ISORA regular is neither here nor there. After all, she is a star, at her best in the majors. But the Middle Sea Race must be beckoning, and next year's Round Ireland is surely made for her, a formidable contender with second in IRC 1 to add to her third overall around the Fastnet.

Going on down the long list, we've only got to 14th overall when the Sunfast 37 Desert Star pops up. The sudden arrival in Cherbourg this morning (Friday) of a whole gaggle of IRC 4 boats opened up the overall list more than somewhat, and Desert Star's cool placing was augmented by being second in class after hours and days of very switched-on strategic and tactical sailing by Irish Offshore Sailing's principal Ronan O Siochru, and his talented right-hand man Conor Totterdell.

Over the years, Desert Star has become an ISORA regular, as the Association's bite-sized events are ideal for a sailing school working within tight time constraints. That said, those who signed up for 2021's Fastnet Programme with IOS ("No Experience Necessary, We'll Provide It and Turn You Into a Veteran") have now got themselves the bargain of a lifetime – a bargain which they can scarcely have imagined during the first incredibly challenging 24 hours of the race itself.

Happy campers. The Fastnet Race trainees aboard Irish Offshore Sailing's Desert Star (with skipper Ronan O Siochru on right, and Conor Totterdell third from right) got themselves the bargain of a lifetime in buying into the 2021 programme. Photo courtesy IOSHappy campers. The Fastnet Race trainees aboard Irish Offshore Sailing's Desert Star (with skipper Ronan O Siochru on right, and Conor Totterdell third from right) got themselves the bargain of a lifetime in buying into the 2021 programme. Photo courtesy IOS

And finally, the ISORA threesome is completed by the Figaro 3 RL Sailing. While Pamela Lee has only occasional ISORA experience to refer to, co-skipper Kenneth Rumball is an old ISORA hand. And although the turnout in the special Figaro 3 Two-Handed Class was a modest five boats, RL Sailing's victory in it was by an incredible margin. In fact, the high point in her race was in the final stages, when she found herself in a fortuitous three-way duel with the two IRC 2-Handed leaders, the Sun Fast 3300 Swell and the JPK 10.30 Leon, from which RL Sailing emerged six minutes ahead boat-for-boat at Cherbourg. UPDATE Penalty for RL sailing. (August 17) here 

Pamela Lee and Kenneth Rumball on RL SailingPamela Lee and Kenneth Rumball on RL Sailing

Only three boats perhaps, but they provide a remarkably comprehensive lineup of memorable achievements in just one sailing of this great race in its new format, in which Cork's representative, the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, put in a truly heroic performance in pulling herself out of a private quagmire which had put her back in 26h in IRC 3 at one low point, yet by the finish she'd got back up to 13th, a memorable recovery.

But if we were forced into a corner and asked to nominate the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021's outstanding achievement, it was probably the way in which Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat took the IMOCA 60 Apivia through the first 24 hours.

Getting an IMOCA 6 to go well directly to windward in a seaway is not a talent with which every skipper is blessed. Of course, to some extent, it depends on the boat in question, but in some cases it's what you'd imagine a giraffe would look like if it tried to go ice-skating.

But with Apivia, these guys were doing the business from the word go, and they put the cream on the cake by the master-stroke of holding on starboard tack after the Needles to go clear across the Channel and on behind and beyond the Channel islands until they finally went on to port off the north coast of Brittany, having carried the same ebb tide the whole way from the Solent to Cap Brehat. There, they were beautifully placed for a swift and clear open water passage across towards the Isles of Scilly, where they found themselves pacing with Skorpios despite the latter being more than twice their overall length, and better configured for going to windward.

It was a master-stroke. Some would way say it was a case of taking a beautiful flyer. But when it turns out as well as that, it's everyone else who is taking a flyer………..

Apivia at the Fastnet Rock, after a strategic master-stroke which made it look as though every other boat in the race had made a tactical error.Apivia at the Fastnet Rock

Tracker below

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Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. After being confirmed as the runaway winner of the IRC Two division yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course can catch the British boat for overall honours in this, the 49th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s offshore classic. Kneen is the first British winner of the race since Charles Dunstone and his maxi Nokia Enigma in 2003.

Reunited this morning with his two-year-old son Sam, Kneen couldn’t hide the emotion of winning a race that has come to mean so much to him: “I’ve had 24 hours to reflect on the race after we finished yesterday, and it really is all about the people, the amazing team that sailed with me, and my incredible partner Francesca who has done so much to make this happen.”

For someone who only took up offshore racing just seven years ago, Kneen has come a long way in a short time. When he started he admits “I didn't know what IRC was. I'd never really heard of the RORC, but what I had heard of was the Rolex Fastnet Race. I was brought up in the southwest, and as a boy I used to sail dinghies at the Royal Western Yacht Club.”

By his own admission, Kneen’s first Rolex Fastnet Race in 2015 was a comedy of errors aboard his secondhand Elan 350 cruiser/racer called Sunrise. But he has proven to be a fast learner who has quickly worked out what it takes to put together a race-winning campaign.

“It doesn't really matter what level in the fleet you're at. As long as you have a good crew, and the right support, then you can win your class. And if you can win the class you can win overall, although that depends on things like tidal gates, wind conditions, things that are much more in the hands of the gods, I think.”

In the Sunrise crew was Kneen, professional Dave Swete, plus Thomas Cheney, Angus Gray-stephens, George Kennedy, Suzy Peters and Tor Tomlinson. Photo: Paul WyethIn the Sunrise crew was Kneen, professional Dave Swete, plus Thomas Cheney, Angus Gray-stephens, George Kennedy, Suzy Peters and Tor Tomlinson. Photo: Paul Wyeth

The fickleness of fate was brought home to him on seeing sistership Dawn Treader knocked out of the race not long after the start. Battling through the severe conditions of the Solent, the J/133 Pintia collided with the JPK 11.80 Dawn Treader, resulting in the latter dismasting and both boats retiring.

Two identical boats - one that barely made it past the start line, the other going on to win the race. The poignancy was not lost on Kneen: “We had a sad moment for an hour or so after that happened. We’ve been racing Dawn Treader hard all season. They’ve had the boat for a lot less time than us, but really got it together. We were looking forward to match racing them all around the Fastnet course and we reckoned that if we could beat them we’d be in with a good chance of winning our division.”

Sunrise struggled in the early stages of the race, always out of phase with the tide as they beat towards Land’s End. But a counterintuitive and brave decision to sail around the eastern side of the traffic separation scheme at Land’s End was the team’s first big break. From then on, one good decision compounded on the next.

This put them in a unique position to stay just in front of an area of high pressure that swallowed up the chasing pack just a few miles behind Sunrise. “I was looking at the tracker last night and it’s quite amazing to look back at that stage of the race. It was a critical moment where we really pushed hard and it was probably the difference between finishing at 10 o'clock in the morning on Thursday or finishing the same time the following day.”

By staying ahead of the high pressure system, Sunrise had done a horizon job on the rest of IRC Two. It was a breakaway move that ultimately proved sufficient to overhaul RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX and claim the Fastnet Challenge Cup for the overall winner under IRC corrected time.

Sunrise sets sail on the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Kurt Arrtigo/RORCSunrise sets sail on the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Kurt Arrtigo/RORC

Loyal Plymothian that he is, Kneen admits to being pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome he received coming into Cherbourg. “It's not lost on me the irony that the first year the race finish moves to a French town it’s won by a Plymouth boat, by someone who voted against moving the finish to Cherbourg.”

Kneen paid tribute to the RORC and everyone in Cowes and Cherbourg who had helped make the Rolex Fastnet Race happen in such challenging circumstances. “I think anyone who has managed to arrange an event in this pandemic deserves a medal. The level of complexity of making anything happen is just at a completely different level now in the pandemic. The fact that the RORC made a brave decision to move the finish, and then managed to deliver another astonishing race - it just demonstrates the amazing people at the RORC have got in it.

“I wasn’t particularly positive about the change of finish because I'm loyal to Plymouth, and we really didn’t know what to expect when we arrived in Cherbourg. But the welcome at the finish was amazing, the village is something else, the whole experience was incredible. If I have one regret it’s that in this special moment, Francesca wasn’t able to be with me on this race because she was back at home looking after our two year old. She is the one who has made it possible for me to do this race.

“When you make crazy plans to do things like this and it becomes a bit of an obsession, and you never really believe you're going to do it. I think all of us in offshore sailing ask ourselves why we commit to this ridiculous sport where you get mostly cold and wet, and 90 per cent of the time you wish you weren’t there.

“But then you get glimmers of complete elation, adrenaline and an experience that is just unmatchable. There's no greater sense of achievement. When you get everything in the right place, with the right people, in the right conditions. We had four, five or six hours of that, between the Scillies and the Lizard, when we had 25 knots of breeze and the boat - our so called ‘caravan’ - was flying along at 20 plus knots. In moments like that, all the rest of it you forget very quickly, when you’re beating in 30 knots of wind and vomiting over the back and wondering why you’re there. It’s the moments of elation that live with you, and it’s what keeps us coming back.”

Volvo Ocean Race veteran Dave Swete was the only pro sailor on the Sunrise crew. Apart from Swete and Kneen in their late 30s, the rest of the crew are all in their 20s, some of whom have come up through the RORC’s Griffin youth racing programme aimed at fostering young offshore talent. Suzy Peters and Tom Cheney were co-navigators on the race. They were joined by Quentin Bes-Green, Angus Gray-Stephens, George Kennedy and Victoria Tomlinson.

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Baltimore RNLI was launched last night (Thursday 12 August) to assist a yacht taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race that was suffering power problems 1 mile east of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse off the coast of West Cork.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their inshore lifeboat at 8.47 pm following a request to assist a 36ft yacht with six crew onboard whose battery power was too low to start their engine to run their charging system. Given the circumstances, the location of the yacht and the weather conditions at the time, Deputy Launching Authority of Baltimore RNLI, recently retired RNLI Coxswain Kieran Cotter spoke to the Irish Coast Guard as well as the crew onboard the yacht and the decision was made to launch Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.

Baltimore inshore lifeboat reached the casualty vessel at 9.20 pm and passed over a battery jump pack to the crew so that the yacht could start their engine and charge their own batteries. This was successful and once the crew onboard the yacht were happy that their systems were running properly they passed back the jump pack and continued on their way. The lifeboat returned to Baltimore lifeboat station, arriving at 10.00 pm.

There were three volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Helm Micheal Cottrell and crew members Kieran O’Driscoll and Ian Lynch. Assisting at the boathouse were Seamus O’Driscoll, Jerry Smith and Tom Kelly. Conditions at sea during the call were rough with a westerly force 5 wind and 3.5-4m sea swell.

Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘Conditions around the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse last night were bad and the early intervention from our lifeboat helped a worse situation from developing. 

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Day 6 1100: For the last 36 hours and more, Irish offshore racing enthusiasts have been on the edge of their seats, willing Irish Offshore Sailing’s veteran Sunfast 37 Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire’s Irish Offshore Sailing to hang onto her vulnerable place on the podium in IRC 4 as the Fastnet Race went into its final stages. But IOS Director Ronan O'Siochru and his right-hand man Conor Totterdell (NYC) have done much better than that. For, when Desert Star crossed the finish line at the entrance to Cherbourg’s mighty harbour at 10:39 this morning, she was not only still in second overall in a class of 70 starters - she was in fact only only ten minutes short of being first.

But as the leading four boats were to be placed as having finished within 22 minutes of each other on corrected time, the Irish crew did well to keep their cool - and their place - in their first finish in Cherbourg. Fastnet Race success is nothing new to Desert Star and Ronan O Siochru.

Six years ago, they took the Roger Justice Trophy of the best-placed school boat in the Fastnet Race of 2015. But placing second overall in the open division in the second-largest class in the entire 2021 Fastnet Race fleet is on an entirely new level of achievement.

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W M Nixon's overview of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 will appear on this evening.

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