Around the world sailors Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi from the Princely House of Monaco will start the 47th Rolex Fastnet Race together on August 6th. The long-haul classic leads a record fleet of around 350 boats over 605 nautical miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in southern England around the Fastnet rock south of Ireland and back to the port of destination Plymouth. Herrmann and Casiraghi start as a two-hand crew with their Open 60 "Malizia" in the Imoca class.
Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi would like to show the competition the rear of their "Malizia"
"Fastnet always has something mystical about it because the regatt is so unpredictable," says Boris Herrmann about the race, which is held every two years and, with increasing numbers of participants, is heading for its 50th anniversary in 2023. For the born Oldenburg it is the season highlight of 2017. The regatt became sadly famous in 1979 when a hurricane-like storm tore 15 sailors to their deaths, sank five yachts and forced 24 teams to abandon their boats. "Since then, the safety requirements have been sensibly tightened," says Herrmann, "we do not take any uncalculated risks."
The long-distance classic is the most famous regatt of its kind. The preview shows why this is the case and what can be expected of participants and fans.
When the first edition in 1925 only included seven yachts, of which the winner "Jolie Brise" needed more than six days, more than 4,000 active participants could set a new record for participants. About 20 German teams are also expected, including the Hamburg "Varuna" from Jens Kellinghusen, the Elliott 52ss "Outsider", the "HaspHamburg" from Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt, the Lutr52 "Aquis Granus", the "Walross 4" from the Academic Sailing Association in Berlin, Soenke Bruhns M34 "Hotspot", Holger Linienbach's X-41 "Imagine", Constantin "Claviez 'Swan 441" Charisma "and the Class40" Nivea "with Anna-MariRenken. The largest like the 35 meter long Judel / Vrolijk- Design "Nikata" (Great Britain) and the fastest yachts compete for the honor of finishing first as "First Ship Home", while keeping an eye on the six-year-old course record (1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes) The Herrmann / Casiraghi duo is expected to cross the finish line on Tuesday (August 8th), but the fight for overall victory will not be decided until later, after the calculated time (IRC handicap rating) even the smallest boats can win.
The Imoca class, which starts second after the multihulls on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. German time, is very busy. All Open 60 yachts are sailed in pairs. One of the top favorites is the Briton Alex Thomson with the Irishman Nicholas O’Leary on the "Hugo Boss". A good half of the boats, including the "Malizia" under the stand of the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), represent the new generation, which is equipped with foils. They lift the 18.28 meter long hulls a little bit out of the water in medium to strong spatial (from the side to diagonally from behind) winds and enable maximum speeds that are otherwise reserved for 30-meter supermaxi.
Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi at the presentation of their Open 60 "Malizia", the former "Edmond de Rothschild"
"Of course we dream of such ideal conditions", says the 36-year-old Herrmann, "but we can't choose which one. At the moment it looks more like a light wind scenario." In the Fastnet Race past, pronounced slacks have even forced some teams to anchor in order not to be driven backwards by the tidal currents. "The tides, but also the course of the coast, make the Fastnet extremely tactically demanding," says the passionate ocean sailor Pierre Casiraghi.
The 29-year-old son of Princess Carolin of Monaco and Vice President of the YCM will be steering the catamaran of the same name "Malizia" on the GC 32 Racing Tour this week in Palmde Mallorc. Boris Herrmann is also part of the crew. The Monegasque businessman and the four-time circumnavigator have a long-standing sailing friendship. The aim of the joint Imoca project is to participate in the Vendée Globe 2020. Herrmann wants to be the first German to do this.
The Rolex Fastnet Race is accompanied by multimedia at a professional level. The start will be broadcast via live stream on the internet on the organizer's website at rolexfastnetrace.com. There is also a tracker there that records the positions of the individual yachts over the entire course of the race.