Photo by Paul Wyeth


Skorpios at the start of the race in Cowes

Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021.

After being confirmed as the runaway winner of the IRC 2 division, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course could catch the British boat for overall honours in this, the 49th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s offshore classic. Kneen is the first British winner of the race since Charles Dunstone and his maxi Nokia Enigma in 2003.

Sunrise struggled in the early stages of the race, always out of phase with the tide between Cowes and Land’s End. However, a brave decision to sail around the eastern side of the traffic separation scheme at Land’s End was the crew’s first big break and from then on, one good decision compounded on the next putting them in a unique position to stay just in front of an area of high pressure.

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Overall, 2nd in the race was INO xxx owned by the RORC Commodore James Neville. This boat also took first place in IRC 1.

Line Honours for the Multihull went to Maxi Edmond De Rothschild on Monday. Other Multihulls finished, amongst them ‘Argo’ with Island-based sailor Brian Thompson on board finishing at 15:22 BST on Tuesday. Argo was the on-the-water leader in the MOCRA class and American Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 trimaran and had sailed a relatively lonely race after Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati retired after her winch exploded.

Brian Thompson said:

“The start in 27 knots was spectacular, but everyone pulled off a good port tack start and was safe, which was good. It was pretty bumpy out there and great racing. We were alongside Maserati for a really long time, all through the day. It was sad to see them having to retire.”

Brian said that Argo’s rounding of the Fastnet Rock was the best of his many, many roundings, both in this race, other races and his record attempts.

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“It was such clear skies and a pleasant 10 knot breeze. The sun was shining, it was warm: It was Mediterranean sailing on the south coast of Ireland.”

Argo was the first boat in the fleet to take the longer route around the North of the Casquets TSS en-route to the Cherbourg finish line.

On Tuesday (10th August), the first monohull finished. The largest boat in fleet, Skorpios finished the race at 20:13 BST.

In class IRC 0 Tala finished on 11th August at 16:42 BST. Onboard Tala were 2crew members based in Cowes – Robbie Southwell and Brett Aarons.

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The winner of IRC 3 was French boat Leon. This boat also won the 2-handed race, in which Cowes-based Shirley Robertson and Henry Bomby onboard Swell were placed 2nd. They had a night arrival in Cherbourg on the 13th August at 3:47 BST – just a few minutes after Simples (IRC 1) which they seemed to have battled with throughout the race.

Allegra won the MOCRA class and Apivia took the IMOCA 60 title.

Full results can be seen on the Rolex Fastnet Race website.

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