The crew of the 45-foot yacht was 26 miles south east of Baltimore, west Cork when it lost its rigging while taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race

10 August

Another Rolex Fastnet Race entrant has been rescued off the coast of west Cork in Ireland.

Baltimore RNLI went to the aid of 13 crew on board a 45-foot yacht in the early hours of yesterday morning (9 August).

The skipper had contacted the Irish Coast Guard at around 2am after the vessel lost its rigging.

The yacht was 26 miles south east of Baltimore, west Cork.

On arrival at the scene just after 3.30am, the lifeboat crew found that the rod rigging on the vessel was still standing.

However, part of the outer rigging had failed and the mast was in danger of coming down.

The crew of the yacht informed the lifeboat crew that their fuel had been contaminated, and they were running on a small container of spare fuel which they estimated would only give them an hour’s motoring time.

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Conditions at the time were choppy with a north westerly force 4 wind and 1-1.5 metre swell.

The crew on the yacht agreed that a tow would be best, so while the lifeboat stood by, they secured the rig as best they could.

As soon as the lifeboat sent over the tow line, the engine of the yacht cut out.

The tow was established and the lifeboat started to bring the yacht back to Baltimore.

During the tow, due to the unstable nature of the mast, the lifeboat crew advised everyone to stay below deck in case the mast came down.

The lifeboat towed the casualty vessel to the fishing pier in Baltimore Harbour, arriving at 10am.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore RNLI’s coxswain, Kieran Cotter, said: “Thankfully the rigging held and the experienced crew aboard the yacht managed to do the best that they could do to avoid injury and to secure and preserve the yacht’s rig under difficult circumstances”.


9 August

The crew of a 40-foot yacht competing in the Fastnet Race are now safely in Courtmacsherry inner harbour in Ireland after the vessel dismasted in the early hours of this morning.

A white dismasted yacht at anchor during the Fastnet Race

The dismasted yacht. Credit: Courtmacsherry RNLI

The Courtmacsherry Harbour RNLI Lifeboat was called out just after 3.20am to assist the 10 people on board.

The yacht was approaching the famous Fastnet Rock when it dismasted, around 20 kilometres off Galley Head in west Cork.


The lifeboat crew found the yacht in the darkness, established a line and then proceeded to tow the vessel at a slow pace into harbour.

The boats arrived around 8am.

There are no reports of any injuries on board the disabled yacht.

Weather conditions at the time were reporting as force 3-4 north-west wind.

The identity of the yacht and the crew is not known at this time.

7 August

Royal Cork David Kenefick’s class 40 yacht lost its mast due to gear failure during the Fastnet Race, the helmsman told .

The crew have however managed to get the mast back onto the boat, but they had to retire the vessel in Weymouth.

It’s a disappointing turnout for Kenefick who in July ranked 31st in the Gold fleet at the 2017 Garda Moth Worlds in Lake Garda, Italy.

4 August

Alex Thomson will be racing in his local playground this weekend when he competes in his 10th Rolex Fastnet Race which kicks off on Sunday, 6 August.

He will be battling it out against the other boats as they leave Cowes to race the 605-nautical miles around the Fastnet Rock before finishing at Plymouth.

Thomson said: “I’m excited to be back racing this weekend in the Fastnet and it’s great to see a good turnout of IMOCA boats on the start line, with some new competitors on the circuit. It’s fantastic for the sport to see so many boats on the water.”

Racing onboard his record breaking HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60, Thomson will be joined onboard by Irish sailor Nicholas O’Leary. As a young talent in short-handed ocean racing, O’Leary has ambitions to race in the Vendee Globe himself in the future and is looking forward to gaining experience racing with Thomson onboard HUGO BOSS.

The race, which is held every two years, has seen record take up for the 2017 edition.

A yacht sails past the Fastnet Rock

Fastnet Rock. Credit: Rolex Fastnet Race

Thomson, who earlier this year came second in the gruelling 2016-17 Vendée Globe, will no doubt be looking to improve on the time set by Fastnet’s last winners in the IMOCA 60 class.

340 boats register for 2017 Fastnet Race in less than five minutes

2004 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou and America’s Cup helmsman Sebastien Col on PRB set a time of 3d 0h 9’ 53’’ when they crossed the finish line at 12:19:53 BST on 19 August 2015.

The pair managed to claw back the lead set by SMA, the former MACIF – winner of the 2012 Vendée Globe and the IMOCA 60 class in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race – after it rounded the Fastnet Rock first.

However, SMA was forced to retire when it missed the Bishop Rock mark of the course.

The 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, which is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in Cowes, starts on Saturday, 6 August.

For this edition, RORC has relaxed the limit of a maximum monohull length of 100ft (30.48m), following interest from a number of superyacht owners and skippers wishing to take part in the classic offshore race.

In the last Rolex Fastnet Race, there were two monohulls at this upper limit of 100-foot: Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard, who was competing in his 5th consecutive race, and from the United States Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s Maxi, Comanche.

Leopard competing in a race

Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard

The 100ft Comanche was the fastest monohull finisher in 2015, but narrowly missed the chance to break Ian Walker’s VO70’s 2011 monohull race record of 42 hours 39 minutes.

When the entry list opened on 9 January, spaces sold out faster than a Rolling Stones farewell concert. The 340 boat limit reached, incredibly, in just 4 minutes and 24 seconds.

And this figure excludes the non-IRC fleets which will include a giant international turn out of Class40s and significantly, will be the first occasion the eight VO65s, set to compete in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, will line up in anger.

When the Rolex Fastnet Race set sails from Cowes, close to 400 boats will make up the combined IRC and non-IRC fleets – the largest ever entry in the race’s 92 year history and a significant step-up from 356 in the last race.

Meanwhile,  some of the world’s most prominent grand maxis will be competing in the main IRC fleet.

The longest is the Judel Vrolijk 115 Super Maxi, Nikata, while Ludde Ingvall is bringing his radical DSS-equipped 100 footer CQS all the way from Australia.

One of the race favourites will certainly be George David’s Rambler 88, that just missed out on line honours in 2015.

The 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race sets sail from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to the north of Cowes at 1200 BST on 6 August.