Arriving in Plymouth at 05:55 BST and a little over ten hours outside of the current multihull line honours, the MOD70 Concise 10 became the first yacht to complete the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race. Having led the record-breaking fleet throughout the entire race, her quest to arrive first over the finish line was never in jeopardy.
“It was one of the easier Rolex Fastnets I’ve done,” revealed British skipper Ned Collier Wakefield on arrival in Plymouth. “The record wasn’t on with the forecast, it was upwind all the way to Land’s End. We had a nice rounding of the Fastnet Rock and gybed straight afterwards heading back along the Irish coast to find a bit more pressure and then had a great night bombing along at 35 knots in pretty flat water.”
Despite not setting a new multihull record, Collier Wakefield thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “The Rolex Fastnet Race is such an iconic race. It’s something we’ve grown up around and between us we’ve done multiple editions. The start in the Solent was the best I’ve ever seen. We’ll all come back for many more.”
The next arrival in Plymouth is not expected until the early hours of Wednesday morning with George David’s American yacht Rambler 88 set to be confirmed as the fastest monohull. David is chasing his first line honours crown having twice finished a close second in 2007 and 2015. Rambler 88 is currently 40-nm ahead of her nearest rival, Ludde Ingvall’s CQS and approximately 133-nm from the finish. Despite making good progress back across the Celtic Sea, Rambler 88 is expected to hit lighter conditions as she negotiates the approach to the Scilly Isles before the final leg to Plymouth.
Rambler 88 rounded the Rock at 03:51 on Tuesday morning with the 100-ft Australian Maxi CQSfollowing at 06:10 and Nikata, at 115-ft the largest ever monohull to compete in the race, some 30 minutes later. Shortly afterwards, SMA was the first of the nine IMOCA 60s and Dongfeng Racing Team the fastest of the seven Volvo 65s to round.
On the reaching to the Rock this morning, CQS’s Chris Dickson reported: “We had a great night onboard. We’ve got Nikata tucked away safely behind us, we have the Fastnet rock directly ahead, the sun is about to come up and we’re ready to put the spinnaker up and go for home.”
Some 362 yachts started the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, and the majority are currently making steady progress across the Celtic Sea towards the Fastnet Rock. At 13:00 today there had been 19 retirements.
Follow the Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at www.rolexfastnetrace.com