The 2007 Rolex Fastnet Race that also doubled up as the official prologue to the non-stop, two-handed Barcelona World Race, proved to be a tough proposition for the duos onboard their IMOCA 60-foot monohulls. It was the French pairing of Vincent Riou (winner of the solo 2004 Vendée Globe) and Seb Josse (skipper of ABN AMRO2) who dominated the 608-mile race to bring PRB across the line first in a time of 2 days, 2 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds, compounding their position as race favourites for the two-handed, non-stop Barcelona World Race that starts on 11th November. A total of 15 IMOCA 60s started the race – eight of them are entered to compete in the Barcelona World Race – but in these tough conditions not all finished, including the Spanish entries of Estrella Damm and Educacion sin Fronteras plus Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement.
Strong south-westerly winds, often gale force, made it a challenging race but also made it a fast race. PRB has established a new record for the IMOCA 60 class beating the time set by Catherine Chabaud on Whirlpool in 1999 by 3 hours, 1 minute and 16 seconds (to be ratified). Also, Alex Thompson and Andrew Cape onboard Hugo Boss who crossed the finish line off Plymouth at 14:48:01 GMT swiftly followed four minutes later by Jérémie Beyou and Signey Gavignet Delta Dore at 14:52:07 have broken Chabaud’s record.
The 100-ft maxi ICAP Leopard claimed the Rolex Fastnet Race line honours and smashed the existing monohull record but the leading IMOCA 60s have also broken the previous monohull record set by RF Yachting in 1999. RF Yachting was 20-foot longer than the IMOCA 60s but changing technology coupled with the windy conditions combined to make this edition of the Fastnet a record setting race. For Swiss and French skippers, Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret, they bought Temenos 2 across the line at 15:35:11 GMT, 3 hours and 18 minutes after PRB. Spaniards Javier Sanso and Pachi Rivero onboard Mutua Madrileña, completed the line-up crossing the line at 17:04:51 GMT in a time of 2 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes.
This 608-mile race was a short but intense period of time for these skippers who dealt with challenging and changeable conditions. With minimal sleep they finished cold, wet and tired having pushed as hard as they could to stay at the front, whilst trying not to break any race-ending equipment. If anything this prologue has been a ‘snapshot’ of the Barcelona World Race that will see nine teams racing 25,000 miles non-stop over three months across the planet’s most hostile oceans.
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