French crews win seven of the ten classes in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, with the overall winner's trophy going to Didier Gaudoux and his crew family and friends
French sailor Didier Gaudoux has been confirmed as the overall winner of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, sailing a near perfect race in his JND39 Lann Ael 2. His crew’s performance embodies the skill and determination of the many Corinthian crew in this race – he races with his eldest daughter, Coralie, son Thomas, and friends, including Figaro specialist Fred Duthil.
Guadoux’s victory was part of a dominant performance by French sailors this year. Seven of the ten classes were won by French crews – eight, if you include the win among the Volvo 65s by Chinese entry Dongfeng Racing, which is skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier.
Lan Ael 2 was designed working alongside naval architect Bernard Nivelt and launched 18 months ago but Gaudoux confesses it has taken time and modifications to realise its full potential.
“It was really difficult. We had to make a lot of changes,” he admits. “We had to have a lot of perseverance.
Gaudoux is a lifelong sailor who did his first RORC races in 1978 at the age of 20. He says that this boat was designed from the outset for offshore racing and particularly with the Fastnet Race in mind.
“You have to be a bit lucky with the weather to win but I am very proud to have designed a boat with Bernard Nivelt to win the Fastnet. This has been my target for the past 20 years, but I never expected to win overall.
“Yes it is job done. But the spirit is important. I don’t want to win with ten professionals aboard. What is important for me is to keep the same guys for years and to build confidence between us. We had a lot of solidarity and a lot of pleasure.”
Among the other winners were double-handers Pascal and Alexis Loison racing their JPK 10.10 Night and Day. The father and son team are already a legend in this race. In 2013, they became the first ever crew to win their class and the Fastnet Race overall.
IRC Z: 1. Privateer – Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley (USA); 2. Lady Mariposa – Ker 46, Daniel Hardy (GBR); 3. Bretagne Telecom – Mach 45, Nicolas Groleau (FRA)
IRC 1: 1. Lann Ael 2 – JND 39, Didier Gaudoux (FRA); 2. Pata Negra – Lombard 46, Hermann de Graaf (NED); 3. Ino XXX – HH42, James Neville (GBR)
IRC 2: 1. Pintia – J/133, Gilles Fournier / Corinne Migraine (FRA); 2. Lisa – First 44.7, Michael Boyd (IRE); 3. Elke – First 40, Frans and Carla Rodenburg (NED)
IRC 3: 1. Dream Pearls – JPK 10.80, Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret (FRA); 2. Timeline – JPK 10.80, Marc Alperovitch (FRA); 3. Bellino – Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie (GBR)
IRC 4: 1. Night and Day – JPK 10.10, Pascal & Alexis Loison (FRA); 2. Foggy Dew – JPK 10.10 (FRA), Noel Racine; 3. Cocody – JPK 10.10, Richard Fromentin (FRA)
IRC Two-Handed: 1. Night and Day – JPK 10.10, Pascal Loison (FRA); 2. Ajeto! – J/122e, Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre (NED); 3. Bellino – Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie and Deb Fish (GBR)
VO65: 1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) – Charles Caudrelier; 2. MAPFRE (ESP) – Xabi Fernandez; 3. Team Brunel (NED) – Bouwe Bekking
IMOCA 60: 1. SMA – Paul Meilhat/Gwenole Gahinet (FRA); 2. StMichel-Virbac – Jean-Pierre Dick/ /Yann Eliès (FRA); 3. Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco – Boris Herrmann/Pierre Casiraghi (MON)
Class40: 1. V and B – Maxime Sorel (FRA); 2. Imerys – Phil Sharp (GBR); 3. Campagne de France – Halvard Mabire (FRA) and Miranda Merron (GBR)
MOCRA Multihulls: 1. Concise 10 – MOD 70 trimaran, Tony Lawson (GBR); 2. R-six – HH66 catamaran, Robert Szustkowski (POL); 3. Hissy Fit – Dazcat 1495, Simon Baker (GBR)
Report by Elaine Bunting, Editor of Yachting World