Veronica Brown

Father and son team on the 33-foot Night & Day win Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup

Esimit Europa 2 took monohull line honors in the Rolex Fastnet Race
The 45th biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, which finished last week in the waters off of Plymouth, UK, showcased one of the most impressive starts in the event's 88-year history. Three-hundred thirty-six yachts from over 20 countries raced in the 611-nautical mile race from Cowes, Isle of Wight to Plymouth, UK via the Fastnet Rock, which is located on the southern tip of Ireland.

North Sails-powered boats won ten classes in the highly competitive race including first multihull to finish (Spindrift 2*); first monohull to finish (Esimit Europa 2) and overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup (Night & Day). Four of the top five boats in IRC Overall were North Sails powered including Night & Day; Foggy Dew (2nd); Rhapsodie V (3rd) and Chenapan (5th).

"The Rolex Fastnet Race is proof that North Sails has products across the board that can make distance racing safer, more fun and more competitive for boats of all sizes," said North Sails president Ken Read. "The results show that North-powered boats are winning due to good preparation, awesome crew work and having the right sail inventory. North Sails' commitment to our clients is not only to design and build them the right product but also to offer sail care and support on the water and off."

Night & Day, a 33-foot JPK 10.10, sailed by the father and son team of Pascal and Alexis Loison from France, made history by being the first ever double-handed team to win the prestigious award given by Rolex. “If you compete in offshore sailing, winning the Rolex Fastnet is really a pinnacle of success. It’s nice, it was not expected, I don’t know how to describe it,” said a shell-shocked Pascal. “We are a small boat, two handed and we have managed to win this race, beating all these large professional boats and crews,” added Alexis. “It’s my day, a good surprise and I will remember this victory all my life.”

Rolex Fastnet Winners Pascal and Alexis Loison
"The wind came from behind Fastnet Rock while the boats were returning to Plymouth which helped the smaller boats sail fast against their handicap," said Philippe Oulhen of North Sails in France. "For a few years now we have been helping more and more of these smaller boats cover a wider wind range with a better sail inventory. Most boats have always had good upwind and running sails but now they are investing in reaching sails as well," Oulhen continued. "We are seeing more Code 0's, A3s, jib tops and reaching staysails on smaller boats which used to only be present on larger boats. Having the right sail inventory is for sure paying dividends for all boats large and small."

Didier Gaudoux, owner of Lann Ael, a JPK 110 that finished 4th in IRC 3, was thrilled with his new North A3 that he ordered for the Rolex Fastnet Race. "Our new A3 was fantastic. It fit perfectly on the boat and gave us the ability to make a great return from the rock gaining 25 places at that time!" Gaudoux explained. "Thank you to the North Sails team for taking the time to customize this sail for Lann Ael, the design is a true success and all the crew onboard love it." North-powered boats took the top four places in the IRC 3 division.

Four of the top five boats racing in the IRC Canting Keel division, including class winner Cartouche, were powered by 100% North sails. Two Volvo 70s, Team SCA (formerly PUMA's Mar Mostro) and Abu Dhabi did the race finishing an impressive 4th and 5th respectively in this division. Both Team SCA and Abu Dhabi raced with North 3Di sail inventories that were used while racing around the world in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. "It's safe to say this is a true testament to the durability and shape holding attributes of North 3Di sails," said Bruno Dubois of North Sails in France.

Both Macif and PRB, who finished 1st and 5th respectively in the IMOCA 60 division, also raced with North 3Di sails that were used when they raced in the non-stop around-the-world Vendee Globe earlier this year. "Macif just added a new 3Di Code Zero for the Fastnet, complementing their Vendee Globe North Sails inventory, which were still in great shape after their 36,000-mile race around the world," Dubois said. Maitre Coq and Cheminees Poujoulat (who finished 2nd and 4th in IMOCA 60) raced with brand-new North 3Di sails. "It was a great race this year for North Sails customers," Dubois continued. "The history and popularity of the Rolex Fastnet Race is really great for the sport of sailing and when you can win the race in a 33-footer, it keeps it interesting and exciting for everyone involved."

North Sails would like to congratulate all the sailors who raced in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race with special congratulations to North-powered boats who performed exceptionally well.

For more information, visit: www.RegattaNews.com. (* - partial inventory)

Rolex Fastnet Results
(Top 5 in each class)

IRC Overall
1-Night & Day (NS)
2-Foggy Dew (NS)
3-Rhapsodie V (NS)
5-Chenapan (NS)

IRC Canting Keel
1-Cartouche (NS)
2-Lupa of London (NS)
4-Team SCA (NS)
5-Abu Dhabi (NS)

1-Pace (NS)
4-Petite Flamme (NS)
5-SGM (NS)

1-Magnum III (NS)
2-Inis Mor (NS)
4-Barraka GP (NS)

2-Gaia (NS)
4-Vitaris (NS)

1-Night & Day (NS)
2-Rhapsodie V (NS)
3-Chenapan (NS)
4-Lann Ael (NS)

1-Foggy Dew (NS)
2-Wasabi* (NS)
3-Swinhoe* (NS)
5-Le MC Do De Cherbourg (NS)

Double Handed
1- Night & Day (NS)
2-Le MC Do De Cherbourg (NS)

Figaro II
1-Artemis 77 (NS)
2-Aretmis 37 (NS)
4-Artemis 21 (NS)

1-Macif (NS)
2-Maitre Coq (NS)
4-Cheminees Poujoulat (NS)
5-PRB (NS)

Class 40
2-Tales II (NS)
5-Red (NS)

MOCRA Multihulls
1-Oman Air Musandam (NS)
3-Spindrift 2* (NS)
4-Edmond De Rothschild Gitana XV (NS)