Rolex Fastnet Race: Maxi Edmond de Rothschild first into Cherbourg
Two years after setting the Rolex Fastnet Race record in Plymouth, the 32m trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set a record for the new route to Cherbourg.
Charles Caudrelier (far left) and Franck Cammas (second left) with the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild crew: Photos: RORC / Paul Wyeth
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild received a hero’s welcome in France as the first boat to finish the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race, with the 32m Ultime trimaran setting a record of 1 day 9hrs 15mins 54secs for the new 695nm course to Cherbourg.
Co-skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier along with David Boileau, Erwan Israel, Morgan Lagraviere and Yann Riou were greeted by cheering fans in Port Chantereyne as the race finished in France for the first time since it was inaugurated in 1925.
Caudrelier said: “The boat is amazing – we have improved since last year, so we are very happy. The team has done a fantastic job over the last year to develop the boat and we can’t stop that because new boats are coming. We are very happy about this race, the result and the way it has happened.”
Franck Cammas leads the celebrations
Cammas enjoyed the ‘home’ support as the all-French crew arrived: “It is good because there is a very good ambience – maybe a little more than when we finish in England! We will be very happy to come back in two years.”
After an exciting start, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild exited the Solent and then led the fleet south towards the Channel Islands. Here, significantly, they tacked further south than their main Ultime rivals.
“For us it was important to get south to get the shift,” Caudrelier said. “It was obvious and we wanted to stay on the left of the fleet. Then we were worried about getting too close to the south of England approaching the Sevenstones [lightship], so we were happy with what we did. We didn’t make too many mistakes.”
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier face the media
Cammas added: “Charles and Erwan [Israel] did a good job with the routing and we had one good shift by going further south that enabled us to put more than 20 miles on Sodebo and Actual. What was strange was that the French boats went on the south of the Channel and the English boats stayed north – perhaps they are using different routing software!”
With so much of their race upwind, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild didn’t often hit super-high speeds, but briefly reached 40-41 knots after passing Bishop Rock on their return journey.
Cammas was participating in the Rolex Fastnet Race for the fourth time and admitted he’s a big fan. “It is a very famous race because it has many boats,” he said. “It is like the Rolex Sydney Hobart – it is not just the professionals, there are many amateur boats, too. It is very good to have these all on the same line. It is also very nice to have big multihulls, big monohulls, all the new IMOCAs, and so on, all on the same start line.”
The ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, Rambler 88 and several 105ft Ultime trimarans are among the high-profile ‘fliers’ in the record 450-plus entries for this year’s Rolex Fastnet, as the historic race founded in 1925 finishes in France for the first time.