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Rolex Fastnet Race ends in tight finish


The biennial Rolex Fastnet Race kicked off on Monday and it took the regatta’s fastest boats a generous 2 and a half days to complete the 603nm course from Cowes, heading West around the Fastnet Rock and back to the finish line in Plymouth.

The event, which officially ends tomorrow, saw light wind conditions prevail throughout the best part of the race. Conditions improved slightly on Tuesday night, allowing the 40m trimaran Spindrift 2 to pull away from her closest rival, the Multi 80 Prince de Bretagne, to finish with an elapsed time of 2 days 10 hours 57 minutes and 41 seconds. This performance was over a day slower than her own record, set in 2011. Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo³ eventually managed to cross the finish line a mere 20 minutes ahead of Prince de Bretagne.

In the monohull division, line honours went to the mighty Comanche. The 100ft speedster was challenged the entire race by rival Rambler 88, with the red demon being separated by no more than four and a half minutes from her rival. "It was honestly one of the most bizarre races I've ever been in in my life - starts and stops and people being left behind for dead and then all of a sudden they are sailing around you - it was phenomenal," recounts Comanche skipper Ken Read.

Two other big monohulls, the Farr 100 Leopard and Maxi 72 Momo displayed a valiant fight to catch up with Camonche and Rambler 88 ahead, yet, Leopard ended up finishing only 1 hour behind Rambler 88 on corrected time, with Momo leading IRC Z.

By Charl van Rooy

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