News Rolex Fastnet Race. Rambler 88 knocks 88 minutes off the Rock record

Rolex Fastnet Race. Rambler 88 knocks 88 minutes off the Rock record

4 August 2019

Rambler 88 broke the monohull record to the Fastnet Rock by 88 minutes when the canting-keeled sloop from New York passed the rock at 16:45:47 this afternoon, August 4th. George David and his crew have set a new time of 1 day 2 hours 47 minutes, breaking their own record which they set back in 2011 with the bigger Rambler 100 (1 day 4 hours 15 minutes). However, that was the same occasion when the keel fell off the 100-footer, not long after rounding, requiring the crew to be rescued.

David’s crew, which includes multiple America’s Cup winner Brad Butterworth, won’t give much thought to the record until they’re safely back in Plymouth. If they can maintain current form, the outright monohull race record is also on the cards for Rambler 88. Speaking on the satellite phone shortly before they rounded the Fastnet Rock, navigator Jules Salter said they had plenty to keep them occupied, with 25 knots gusting to 30, and big seas to negotiate.

“We’ve just done a peel from the J2 to the J4. We’ve got a wind angle of 115 to 120 which is making it fast - about 23 knots of boat speed - but pretty noisy on board and wet across the deck. The mood is pretty good, everyone’s pretty cool, doing their best, getting stuck in, and getting ready for a busy time coming up as we pass the TSS and the Fastnet.”

After four previous attempts on the line honours victory in the Fastnet Race, could this be David’s year? If the fast-reaching conditions prevail for the rest of the passage back from the Rock to Plymouth, then Rambler should stand a good chance of keeping Scallywag and the rest of the IRC monohull fleet behind them. The other boat in the mix is the ex-Volvo Open 70, Wizard, just seven miles back from Rambler. 

IRC Zero

On IRC handicap, Wizard holds the lead, with Maxi 72 Sorcha (formerly the two-time Fastnet winner Rán 2) and Jethou (extended over the winter from a 72-footer to 77ft) in second and third place respectively, and Rambler in fourth.

The high-speed conditions are right in Wizard’s sweet spot. Formerly Franck Cammas’ 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race winner Groupama 4, and now owned by Baltimore brothers David and Peter Askew, she was the recent winner of the Transatlantic Race 2019, and the crew includes a few Volvo Ocean Race veterans - Rob Greenhalgh from the UK, two-time skipper Charlie Enright of the USA and Australian navigator Will Oxley.

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  • Established in 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) became famous for the biennial Fastnet Race and the international team event, the Admiral's Cup. It organises an annual series of domestic offshore races from its base in Cowes as well as inshore regattas including the RORC Easter Challenge and the IRC European Championship in the Solent
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  • 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race
  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • Record fleet of over 400 yachts will take part
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  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
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