Tony Lawson's MOD70 trimaran Concise 10 took 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 this morning 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.”

George David’s Rambler 88 is the next yacht due to finish in Plymouth and expected late this evening.

The Volvo 65s, which are competing in the race’s ‘Leg 0’ rounded the Fastnet Rock late this morning, are headed up by Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Racing.

Leg Zero, Rolex Fastnet Race: on board xx, . Photo by Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race. 08August, 2017

But ahead of them a fantastic performance is being put in by French sailors Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet on IMOCA 60 SMA. This older generation Vendée yacht is one of the boats without foils and, being more weatherly, has prospered on this mainly upwind race. But to be leading the VO65s is remarkable.

The question now is whether SMA’s slender lead of 25 miles over JP Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel-Virbac will be enough to keep them at bay. The foil-assisted St Michel-Virbac should, in theory, be faster on the downwind return leg of the race.

JP Dick passing the Fastnet Rock on St Michel-Virbac

Watch Dee Caffari on VO65 rounding the Fastnet Rock in this video: