The Fastnet race started today with a 10 knot north-easterly breeze and the IMOCA Open 60 fleet the first class to cross the start line just off the Royal Yacht Squadron
The Fastnet race started today with a 10 knot north-easterly breeze and the IMOCA Open 60 fleet the first class to cross the start line just off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes – all with spinnakers flying at the start for the first time in years. Charles Hedrich was unable to start due to keel problems, which left five IMOCA 60s in a fleet of 248 yachts.
More than 2,000 people are competing in this year’s Fastnet, onboard 248 yachts, giving the amateur sailors a great opportunity to compete with the professional yachtsmen and truly test their offshore sailing skills.
ECOVER crossed the start line first, with Vincent Riou, Dominique Wavre and Sebastien Josse all hugging the Isle of Wight coastline behind ECOVER. Nick Molony crossed at the back of the 60s, having experienced temporary spinnaker hoisting problems. By the time of the first poll at 1100 GMT, ECOVER were in 4th having crossed the entire fleet whilst using a different sail combination to the rest of the 60s. By 1300 GMT ECOVER was passing St Albans Ledge.
Golding rang in to speak to the shore team in a positive mood: “We shot away from Nick (Molony) about an hour ago – they are probably at least a mile and a half behind us. Dominique (Wavre) is about half a mile in front of us. We’re probably one of the most offshore boats out of the entire fleet. The conditions are very similar to the start and we’ve pretty much had our whole sail wardrobe out and tested! We’re having a great time!”
Whilst in 4th the reason for the buoyancy is likely to be because ECOVER appears to be approaching the waypoint on a more direct line than the other 60s.
As with during the Calais Round Britain race a fortnight ago, the Imoca Open 60s are not giving each other an inch. At the time of the final position poll, there were four miles between them.
As the boats pass the Isle of Portland (just south of Taunton), the final positions for Sunday 10 August at 1500 GMT were as follows: Boat, Skipper, Distance to finish (race 608 miles in total), Distance to leader:
VMI, Sebastien Josse, 558 miles, 0 miles.
PRB, Vincent Riou, 559 miles, 1 mile to leader.
Chaman 3, Dominic Wavre, 561 miles, 3 to leader.
ECOVER, Mike Golding, 561 miles, 3 to leader
Skandia Set Sail, Nick Molony, 562 miles, 4 to leader.