Britain’s Jez Fanstone has capitalised on the wealth of local knowledge he has to win the first genuine contest between the four VO60s that will later compete in the Volvo Ocean Race

Skipper Jez Fanstone and navigator Ross Field have brought victory to the News Corp camp in her first competitive outing, the Rolex Fastnet Race. She crossed the line at 0828 this morning after a 12-hour duel with the German Volvo Ocean race entry illbruck.

Skipper John Kostecki’s illbruck may have caught all the eyes on the startline with his port tack manoeuvre but early in the race, Fanstone and Field opted to follow a northerly course and slipped through into the lead.

illbruck never dropped too far behind however and even regained the lead during the passage back across the Western Approaches. It was nip and tuck all the way along the southwest coast and into Lyme Bay before News Corp managed to build a 21-minute lead as the breeze became patchy approaching a fog-bound Plymouth.

“It’s always fantastic to win a yacht race,” said Fanstone. “We’re delighted with the way the crew worked together, they were awesome. Overall, there were some good moments and some bad moments and we learnt a hell of a lot. It has been very good practice for the short legs of the Volvo Ocean Race.

“The racing was very close, it was as though we were attached with a bungee. We were yo-yoing all the way but in the end, we got the jump that they didn’t get and that was the difference”.

While disappointed not to have won, Kostecki was generally pleased with illbruck’s performance. “It was pretty riveting stuff. We had a very good race but they (News Corp) sailed well too – they sailed a bit better. We were pleased with our boat. Let’s put it this way, we don’t want to trade boats with anybody. I think the Volvo is going to be a close race, this has been a huge lesson for all of us.”