29 July 2019
Entry spots for the Rolex Fastnet Race sold out in just four minutes. While the bulk of the fleet remains the IRC entries, 2019 will see an unprecedented entry of ‘non-IRC’ boats, the majority from France.
it is very likely that the Line Honours record will fall in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Leading the charge will be one the world’s fastest trimarans, the Ultimes.
In the last windy Rolex Fastnet Race in 2011, the 131-foot Banque Populaire V blasted around the 608-nautical-mile course in 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes.
The Ultime trimarans may be shorter but, mostly thanks to their new foiling technology, are substantially faster. And this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will feature at least three of them.
Francois Gabart has entered MACIF, while Thomas Coville will get a chance to test his new Sodebo 3. Meanwhile the rebuilt Edmond de Rothschild returns following its bow breakage in last autumn’s Route du Rhum.
Among the monohull contenders this year is the Hong Kong newcomer, Seng Huang Lee’s 100ft Scallywag, skippered by Australian David Witt with a crew featuring many of the sailors from their Volvo Ocean Race campaign.
“We are the lightest 100 footer with the most sail area,” says Witt. “The boat has a keel that cants to +/- 45deg, twin daggerboards and starts the season with a new boom.”
Seng Huang Lee will be on board for the Rolex Fastnet Race. “His main goal with this boat is to win as many Rolex events as he can this year with the main emphasis being the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart,” explains Witt.
Another is George David’s familiar Juan K-designed Rambler 88, a boat that has been tweaked to within an inch of its life by its fastidious crew including many former Alinghi/Team New Zealand America’s Cup heroes.