335 boats of all types will challenge the Fastnet. Who will win this year?

photoThe numbers are already record-breaking: there will be 335 boats on the starting line of the next Fastnet, which will start from Cowes on August 16 (on the Cowes-Fastnet Rock-Plymouth route). And already bets are being placed on the most likely winners in compensated time. In IRC, the fleet is more than heterogeneous, ranging from Comanche, Jim Clark’s 100-foot VPLP-Verdier to Lucinda Allaway’s Contessa 32, from super-high-tech carbon beasts like the new 72-foot Mini Maxi Momo

jrenedo_2015_03_14_25250_800to a great classic like Matt Brooks’ Dorade, winner of the 1931 and 1933 Fastent with designer-skipper Olin Stephens aboard.

2117911f-209d-41f4-8ef5-cd79b3b0b10eThis year’s winner will, of course, depend a lot on the marine weather conditions there. If there is a sustained wind at the start and a weak wind at the finish, the big boats will play for the victory; if, on the other hand, the opposite should occur, with the wind picking up on the finish, it will be a fight among the small boats, as happened in 2005 with the victory of one of the smallest and slowest boats entered, the Nicholson 33, Iromiguy by Jean-Yves Chateau.4970884440_c88778efd3_b
This year there will be no Ran II by Niklas Zennström, winner of the 2009 and 2011 editions, and so there will be a great battle between two similar projects by Judel Vrolijk, the brand-new Momo by German Dieter Schön and the “more seasoned” Bella Mente by American Hap Fauth (winner of the last RORC Caribbean 600. The boat has been modified and now has a longer fin.
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Instead, let’s look at among the canting keel hulls, which are the top candidates for the final victory: George David’s Rambler 88
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Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino, as well as a Cookson 50 and some Imoca Open 60s optimized for IRC.
Right behind the Maxis will be the Reichel-Pugh 63, Bryon Ehrhar’s Lucky, recent winner of the Transatlantic Race and the Sidney to Hobart in 2o11.
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Among the 50-footers, on the other hand, there will be real fun to be had; the fight will be tough between Tilmar Hansen’s Elliott 52 Outsider, boat-outsider-1

Peter Harrison’s TP52 Sorcha
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Piet Vroon’s Ker 51 Tonnerre 4.
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and the new Carkeek 47, Black Pearl, by Stefan Jentzsch.
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In recent years the French have dominated under 40 feet. In 2013, 13 of the 16 boats flew the flag of our transalpine cousins, an edition that saw victory in this class to a crew sailing in doubles, father and son: Pascal and Alexis Loison.

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