Tony Lawson's MOD70 trimaran Concise 10 takes line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race despite a long upwind slog all the way to the Fastnet Rock
Line honours in one of the lightest wind Rolex Fastnet Races in recent years were claimed at dawn yesterday morning (8 August) by Ned Collier-Wakefield and the crew of MOD70 Concise 10.
The big trimaran shaped a lonely course at the head of fleet, unchallenged by any yachts of her speed. The light winds and upwind course right to the Fastnet Rock meant the record of 32h set by 130ft trimaran Banque Populaire V was always going to be unattainable. Concise 10 crossed the finish line in an elapsed time of 42h 55m.
The crew sailed a storming long upwind leg beating all the way up to Land’s End and across the Celtic Sea, defying preconceptions that multihulls are not upwind boats.
Owner Tony Lawson commented: “Everyone thinks multihulls can’t go to weather, but we led three state of the art monohulls around the Rock by about 100 miles and we led them into Plymouth by 200 miles. So if you want to go fast you have to get yourself a multihull!”
Ned Collier Wakefield explained that, upwind to the Rock, the boat was typically making 21 knots at 50°.
“The MOD70 is an amazing machine. Every time we go out we still come back smiling.”
Among the crew were Paul Larsen, the world’s fastest sailor (who sailed Vestas Sailrocket 2 at 65.45 knots average over 500m in 2012) and Finn Gold medallist and Land Rover BAR crew Giles Scott, sailing his first offshore race.
“It was really good,” said Scott. “Upwind, it felt like a long way out to the Fastnet, although I know a lot of the fleet have still got to go through all of that. On the turn round, when we started ripping downwind, Land’s End didn’t feel that far away at all. The fastest speed I saw was 36 knots.”
American George David’s Rambler 88 took the monohull line honours.
The silver maxi crossed the finish line off Plymouth breakwater at 22:14:21 BST yesterday (8 August) in a time of 2 days 9 hours 34 minutes and 21 seconds.
This was more than six hours faster than they had managed in 2015, but was well outside of the monohull race record of 1 day 18 hours and 39 minutes, set in 2011 by the Ian Walker-skippered VO70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
“This was our fourth (Fastnet) race,” said George David upon his arrival in Plymouth Yacht Haven.
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“We have had two that were fairly windy and one with no wind, two years ago, and this one with decent wind but a tough windward-leeward course. 360 miles upwind is a challenge and it is cold, but it is okay. We sailed well and we did a good race. We’ll see what happens,” commented David, who almost lost his life in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race when the keel of his Rambler 100 maxi broke.
David and four of his crew were washed overboard and away from their boat. Wearing their full red sailing suits and bright yellow inflatable life-vests, the five linked arms and formed a circle until the crew of Team Phaedo, who had joined in the search, found them via their global positioning system devices.
The remaining 16 crew of the Rambler 100 managed to climb onto the upturned hull, waiting for several hours until they were rescued by the Baltimore RNLI.
Among the Volvo 65s, which are competing in the race’s Leg Zero, it was a thrilling finish, with China’s Dongfeng Race Team taking line honours just 56 seconds ahead of MAPFRE in the early hours of this morning (9 August).
Victory for Charles Caudrelier’s team keeps it tight at the top of Leg Zero qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race – and heralds an epic battle to come when the race around the world begins from Alicante on 22 October.
MAPFRE and Dongfeng had the best start back in Cowes on Sunday, stayed close all the way around the race course and finally finished just metres from each other after fighting all the way to finish line off the Plymouth breakwater.
Dongfeng crossed the line at 04:18:10 local time, with MAPFRE following shortly afterwards at 04:19:06.
Volvo Ocean 65s in the Rolex Fastnet Race:
1. Dongfeng Race Team: 2 days 15 hours 38 minutes 10 seconds
2. MAPFRE: 2 days 15 hours 39 minutes 06 seconds
3. Team Brunel: 2 days 15 hours 45 minutes 47 seconds
4. team AkzoNobel: 2 days 15 hours 52 minutes 40 seconds
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing: 2 days 16 hours 09 minutes 11 seconds
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: 2 days 16 hours 13 minutes 53 seconds
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic: 2 days 16 hours 17 minutes 32 seconds
There are two more races to go in the Leg Zero series of qualifiers. On Thursday, the fleet will race from Plymouth to Saint-Malo in France.
After a non-scoring Pro-Am Race on Saturday, the teams will complete the series with a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, starting on Sunday.
While an overall Leg Zero winner will be declared, based on equal scoring for each of the four stages, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself.
Report by Elaine Bunting of Yachting World and Katy Stickland of YBW.com