Victors emerge from 336 starters in Fastnet Race

 

Plymouth

In miserable rain there were celebrations developing in Plymouth as places were settled in the 45th Rolex Fastnet Race, the biennial battle on the briny around a desolate rock off the south-west corner of Ireland.

On Tuesday, the rich got richer and the slow got slower as the record 336 starters in the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race were either home and dry as frontrunners, or the rest cursed their luck at what the wind gods decided to hand out.

First home was the 131-foot trimaran Spindrift in an elapsed 38 hours 53min 58sec with co-skippers Dona Bertarelli, sister of America's cup winner Ernesto, and Yann Guichard only half happy. The record is six hours faster and the boat, when in Banque Populaire colours, set the fastest time for sailing round the world.

Now in the Banque Pop livery and in second-place by 22min 41sec was the former world record holder when it was Groupama but, perhaps more impressive than both was the 70-foot trimaran Oman Air-Musandam which was crossed the breakwater finish line of the nominal 611-mile race just one hour behind Banque Pop.

"We did well out of the Solent, putting in 29 tacks, but it was at Land's End that we took the decision to go north round the shipping lane exclusion zone while most of the others went west," said Oman Air tactician Neal McDonald.

The wind then conveniently switched clockwise in direction, which made the tactical call the winning option for a crew skippered by Sidney Gavignet and including British coach Dee Caffari and one of her charges, Raiya al Habsi. Caffari is schooling the Omani women ahead of next year's Sailing Arabia - The Tour.

Behind them three fierce battles were continuing through Tuesday night. The 100-foot Esimit Europa, skippered by German Olympian Jochen Schuemann, three golds and a silver, was ahead of Britain's Mike Slade's rival 100-footer Leopard by over five hours over the line.

And in the 72-foot mini-maxis Hap Fauth's Bella Mente, winner last week in AAM Cowes Week of the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup, held off rival Niklas Zennstrôm's Rán, already with two Fastnet wins to its name, to the finish but the British-based team beat the American-led challenge, with Kiwi Mike Sanderson as crewboss, on handicap.

In the Volvo class, Team SCA, Sweden's all-woman entry in next year's round the world race, and Abu Dhabi's Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, are both last generation Open 70s, both teams waiting to take delivery of their new Volvo 65s.

While there are three male coaches in the SCA crew, the Abu Dhabi crew, including some under-30s fighting for two 2014-15 places and a couple of gnarly old campaigners, came from behind to cross the line first. But it was not enough.

SCA has solo round the world sailor Sam Davies as navigator. As a former captain of (rowing) boats at St. John's College, Cambridge she has Cambridge rowing, sailing and rugby blue and sailing Olympian Annie Lush alongside her. The full team has yet to be announced but Davies and Lush are already selected and on handicap they beat Azzam's corrected time.

This year's Vendée Globe winner François Gabart won the Open 60 class partnered by twice Vendée winner Michel Desjoyeaux in Maçif by less than a minute from Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt in Mâitre Coq. Britain's Alex Thomson, partnered by the man who will join him in next year's double handed round the world Barcelona Race, Guillermo Altadill, was third.

But there is only one trophy that truly matters, the Fastnet Challenge Cup for the handicap winner and that may not be decided until much later. "With the weather forecast as it is, and the small boats need strong winds for their finish, the overall winner may not be decided until just before the prize giving on Friday," said Eddie Warden Owen, chief executive of the organising Royal Ocean Racing Club.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on