Rolex Fastnet Race’s fastest entrants
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.
Skorpios, the first ClubSwan 125
The first ClubSwan 125, the black-and-yellow Skorpios, will be among the most high-profile yachts in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race as the 43m Juan Kouyoumdjian design makes its race debut soon after its launch.
The biennial race starts in Cowes on August 8 and will conclude for the first time in France, with the new finish in Cherbourg – instead of Plymouth – extending the course from 608nm to 695nm.
Skorpios can have at least 20 crew
Nautor’s Swan believes Skorpios, which features a canting keel and single curved foil, could be the fastest monohull ever built. Owned by Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev, it will be raced by a professional crew headed by Fernando Echávarri, tactician on the ClubSwan 50 Skorpios that won the ClubSwan 50 World Championship in 2019 and which is also owned by Rybolovlev.
Echávarri and Antón Paz Blanco won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Tornado class and were named the ISAF Sailor of the Year in 2005 after winning the Spanish, European and world titles that year. Skorpios is also entered in the Rolex Middle Sea Race starting on October 23 and its crew features multiple sailors with experience in round-the-world races.
Rambler 88 has won monohull line honours in the last two Rolex Fastnet Races
Competing in IRC 0, Skorpios will be under pressure to live up to expectations and will face competition from American George David’s successful Rambler 88, monohull line honours winner in the last two editions of the Rolex Fastnet and current holder of the monohull record to the Fastnet Rock.
Meanwhile, the race will also feature the French grand prix classes due to its proximity to the Brittany region where many are based. These include the 32m Ultime trimarans, which have a 23m beam and are renowned as the world’s fastest offshore racing yachts.
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set the Rolex Fastnet multihull record in 2019
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race winners Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, returns this year after setting the outright multihull record for the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2019 with a time of one day 4hrs 2mins 26 secs.
Francois Gabart’s MACIF – currently holder of the singlehanded non-stop around the world record – narrowly lost out in the multihull line honours battle two years ago, but the boat returns this year as Actual Ultim 3, skippered by Yves Le Blevec.
Actual Ultim 3 will be skippered by Yves Le Blevec
Meanwhile, there are 15 entries in the Two-Handed IMOCA 60 class, 60ft boats famous for competing in the Vendée Globe.
Among those entered are this year’s ‘two’ Vendee Globe winners: Charlie Dalin’s Apivia, which was first home to Les Sables d’Olonne, and Yannick Bestaven on Maître CoQ, which was declared the overall winner after receiving time compensation from earlier in the race.
The new finish in Cherbourg has extended the race from 608nm to 695nm
There are also two IMOCA 60s from US-based 11th Hour Racing including a newly launched model for Charlie Enright who skippered Wizard, the overall winner of the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, while Britain’s Alex Thomson is back with a newly refitted Hugo Boss.
RACE-START SEQUENCE BROADCAST LIVE ONLINE
The start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will be shown live on August 8 on the RORC’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. The first start is at 11:00 BST and the sequence lasts 2½ hours, covering seven classes. All the news and blogs, images and video from the boats will be on the official website.
Japanese Mini Transat sailor Masa Suzuki will skipper Class40 entry Milai with compatriot Koji Nakagawa and France’s Anne Beaugé in August’s Rolex Fastnet as the world’s biggest offshore race finishes in France for the first time.