Stealth, Nicorette and Morning Glory have finished the Rolex Fastnet, but not necessarily in that order... as we wait for the corrected times to be confirmed, ybw reports the latest from Plymouth
At 03.58.58, true to its name, the 92-foot Stealth crept slowly out of the gloom and a muffled cannon signaled she had taken line honours in the 2001 Rolex Fastnet Race. The carbon fibre black super maxi with its slate grey sails had made painfully slow progress in the last few hours as the wind in the English Channel died.
Her elapsed time for the 608 miles was 2 days 10 hrs 58 minutes 58 seconds, more than five hours outside the record after it took six hours to complete the last 10 to 12 miles according to watch leader Paul Standbridge.
Racing skipper Ken Read, Dennis Conner’s nominated helmsman for next year’s America’s Cup challenge in Stars & Stripes, said: “If we had kept any semblance of a breeze we would have broken the record. This is my third Fastnet and I’ll tell you what, at times it was really fun. There was hardly any time to sleep, there was always another tactical decision. I think the trend is leaning back to distance races. The windward/leeward scene is all burned out.”
Standbridge agreed that the crew of 18 were all still hopeful of beating the record up until the Scilly Isles on the way back from the Rock. But they had never once hoisted a spinnaker on the Frers-designed boat. The same had happened to him in 1985 on Privateer. Most of the time they had raced with a reef in the main and a small, number 4 jib. “But, by the Lizard, we were parked and dodging the tide,” he said. “And, in the poor visibility, we saw no-one after Poole Bay. It was like the old days, just racing alone.”
Ludde Ingvall’s 79-foot Nicorette, with guest helmsman Shirley Robertson, the Europe dinghy gold medallist in the Sydney Olympics last year, crossed the line at 07.32.03. She finished 3 hours, 33 minutes and 5 seconds after Stealth.
Just 2 minutes and 47 seconds later, Hasso Plattner’s 80-foot Morning Glory, with Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker leading a squad from the America’s Cup defence. The RORC race committee are working on the corrected finishing times, but at first calculations it appears that Morning Glory should beat Stealth by about four minutes and Nicorette should beat the pair by several hours. This has not been confirmed yet, and merely goes on the ratings published prior to the race.
The Volvo 60s, with about 10 miles to run, are still closely packed. The wind is light and the next boat is not expected to finish much before 1000.
At the Fastnet Rock, 240 miles from the finish, more than a quarter of the 233 starters have now begun the last leg home. The majority of the remaining competitors are expected to go round the lighthouse today.