Cowes Brief

Cowes Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

UKSA – official event charity for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for next two years

January 14, 2014

Following an extensive evaluation process, Cowes Week Limited (CWL) and Aberdeen Asset Management are pleased to announce that they have jointly chosen UKSA as the official event charity for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for the upcoming two years.

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Encouraging youth participation in sailing will play a vital part in the continued success and popularity of the sport and more specifically of events like Cowes Week. CWL and Aberdeen Asset Management therefore felt the time was right to appoint a national charity based in Cowes whose primary aim is to provide young people with opportunities in sailing.

Commenting on the decision, Michelle Warner, Sales and Marketing Director at Cowes Week Limited, said:
“Supporting youth sailing is important for the future development of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and therefore it’s fitting to focus the charitable objectives of our event on this inclusive approach. Any funds raised during the regatta will support specific youth development initiatives to benefit children on the Island as well as further afield. UKSA has great resources in place on the Island and a local presence in Cowes; we’re delighted to be working with them”.

Lynda Affleck, Head of Charitable Giving at Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “As part of our sponsorship investment in Cowes Week we’re fully committed to providing opportunities for the next generation. This is demonstrated by the support we already provide to crews of under 25 year-olds at the regatta through the highly successful youth initiative we introduced in 2012. This new relationship with UKSA further cements our commitment to promoting youth participation in sailing and we’re looking forward to working with them in their capacity as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week’s official charity.”

As part of UKSA’s involvement with the regatta, they will be providing opportunities for all-comers to get afloat and experience the excitement of sailing at this iconic event. In addition, they will be engaging with the public shore-side with a presence at one of the main exhibition sites and working closely with the local business community and event sponsors.

Richard Thornton, CEO of UKSA commented: “We are extremely proud and excited to be chosen as the new Cowes Week official charity. The core values of our organisation fit seamlessly with Cowes Week: challenge on the water while also having fun. Being the chosen charity is a big step forward for UKSA, and falls nicely in line with our strategy to massively increase the number of young people on our youth development programmes from 200 a year to 2,000 – the boost from being Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week’s chosen charity will be a huge help towards this. We have a range of exciting activities planned for the regatta, designed to promote inclusivity for all. We want to show that sailing is more than just a hobby; it is a catalyst that transforms people’s lives. One of our key aims as official charity will be to raise enough funds to offer every Year 6 primary school child on the Island the opportunity to get on the water with UKSA, and we are delighted that this takes us a step closer to making this dream a reality.”

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week takes place 2 – 9 August 2014 and promises a lively social scene and great racing. Entries are open and a discounted early bird entry fee applies until the end of May.

Full calendar of events for 2014 through to 2020 presented by ClubSwan

December 10, 2013

The amazing programme of events for Swan yacht owners for 2014 through to 2020 has been presented by ClubSwan, comprising a number of high profile regattas as well as unique ClubSwan gatherings. Next year, ClubSwan members will once again have the opportunity to join fellow Swan owners in fabulous destinations around the world for a unique combination of racing, cruising, as well as social events.

Rolex Swan Cup Crew Party 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan Alberto Cocchi

Rolex Swan Cup Crew Party 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan/Alberto Cocchi

2014 also marks the 30th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup, the jewel in the ClubSwan calendar which will include the Rolex Swan 45 World Championship and a full social programme.

The Swan Challenge Series also continues in 2014 and includes Caribbean, Mediterranean, Baltic and Transatlantic events where the top placed Swans are recognised for their performance in the world’s most demanding offshore races. The next of which is the Swan Caribbean Challenge, during the RORC Caribbean 600 in February.

Swan fleet at Rolex Swan Cup 2012

Swan fleet at Rolex Swan Cup 2012 - Image credit to Nautor's Swan/Alberto Cocchi

ClubSwan also awards prizes to the best placed Swans at a number of high profile regattas; from the Round the Island Race in Cowes, to Les Voiles de St Tropez.

Cowes Harbour Commission announces completion of salvage operation of motor yacht KAHU

November 15, 2013

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced that the intricate operation to salvage the burnt and sunken 70-foot, 114-ton motor yacht Kahu from the riverbed in East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight, has been completed successfully, following an amazing team effort.

Salvage operation of Nordhavn 76 Yacht Kahu - Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Salvage operation of Nordhavn 76 Yacht Kahu - Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

The technical and logistical challenges of safely salvaging the Kahu yacht were considerable, necessitating a 24/7 operation from the time of the fire being first reported. With highly sensitive environmental areas of mudflats and saltmarch upstream from the scene on the River Medina, and 8,000 litres of diesel onboard the Kahu, the concern was to prevent significant pollution to the area and this has been achieved.

Andrew Healy, Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:
“This was a model multi-agency response to a complex pollution incident. There was very minimal impact on the local environment as a result of this incident.”

Chair of the Solent Environment Group, Mike O’Neill said: “Thanks to the efforts of Cowes Harbour Commission team and the other responders the impact on the environment was kept to an absolute minimum. The Solent Environ ment Group was able to provide advice on how sensitive the River Medina is to help plan the salvage of the vessel.”

Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: “It’s reassuring to know that within the Cowes and Solent region the expertise exists to handle an incident of this magnitude. The professionalism shown by the salvage team was exemplary together with the efforts from my own team here at the Harbour Commission. All the players went the extra mile to achieve an excellent result.”

A large floating crane barge has completed the slow and controlled lift of the Kahu yacht onto a bunded flat top barge at East Cowes Marina. Contractors are today finalising the securing of the yacht on the flat top barge by constructing and welding a cradle and supports. The bund will be removed prior to transportation to Camber Dock, Portsmouth. Due to the current and predicted weather conditions it is proposed to depart Cowes on Saturday morning, when the conditions are looking favourable.

Timeline for salvage operation of KAHU Yacht announced by Cowes Harbour Commission

November 12, 2013

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced the proposed salvage operation timeline for the recovery as well as disposal of the Nordhavn 76 yacht Kahu from the seabed at East Cowes Marina, Isle of Wight.

Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Image courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Activity at the scene continues around the clock with response teams from Adler and Allan, leaders in oil and environmental services, deploying additional oil booms, whilst teams from MMC Diving Services and RS Divers have started to rig air lift bags around the sunken Kahu’s hull. The salvage barge is also now on station on the western side of the Kahu and within an oil containment boom.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master said: “I’m pleased to report that salvage of the Kahu and pollution control are proceeding well, according to our detailed plans and revised timeline. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the CHC staff and contractors who are working tirelessly to complete this operation in a safe and timely manner.

“This has necessitated teams working around the clock and CHC has received much valuable support from locals. We are making every effort to minimise disruption to river and harbour users and local residents, and I would like to apologise for any temporary disturbances that there may be over the next few days.”

Following a salvage co-ordination meeting in Cowes yesterday, it has been confirmed that the air bag lift to raise the Kahu yacht to just below the water surface is due to take place between approximately 2200 on Monday, 11 November and 0700 on Tuesday, 12 November.

A floating crane barge is expected to arrive in Cowes at 0645 on Tuesday morning and once on station will raise the luxury yacht Kahu’s hull top clear of the water level at around 0800. This will enable the pumping ahore of the vessel’s fuel and water tanks into a waste road tanker. The hull will then be drained of sea water before being craned onto the bunded flat top barge. Once this stage has been reached, the crane barge will depart Cowes whilst the flat top barge and motor yacht will remain overnight in the controlled, oil boom protected salvage zone.

Wednesday should see the divers undertake a clearance of the seabed where the Kahu yacht’s hull had rested, and a decontamination programme by Adler and Allan of the salvage containment area and barge. The flat top barge, with Kahu onboard, will then be towed to Camber Docks in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port Harbour Master.

Please note that precise timings are subject to changes in conditions or for operational reasons.

CHC has issued a second Emergency Temporary General Direction 10.2, and Local Notice to Mariners No. 31(T) of 2013, concerning the salvage and counter pollution operations, fairway restrictions and complete closure of the fairway on 12 November. Both documents are available to view on the Harbour Commission’s website.

A further update and report on the environmental clean-up operation will follow later this week.

Cowes Harbour Commision Update on Nordhavn 76 motor yacht KAHU

November 11, 2013

Nordhavn 76 motor yacht “Kahu” was lost in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight earlier last week. Lead by Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC), the salvage group has begun to recover the 76-foot Kahu yacht.

Salvage group working on recovery of Kahu Yacht - Credit to Marine Services Manager Barney Sollars. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Salvage group working on recovery of Kahu Yacht - Credit to Marine Services Manager Barney Sollars. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

Ensuring safety and pollution control are the primary objectives, a coordination meeting was held in Cowes on 8th November to establish clear roles and responsibility for the operation. Preparation work to lift luxury yacht Kahu commenced on 9th November and after detailed consideration a ‘slow and careful policy’ has been adopted.

Divers will be used to attach lifting bags to the “Kahu” yacht which can then be inflated to raise the vessel to the surface. It will then be lifted by crane on to a flat-topped barge, which is also designed to contain any fluids or contaminants, before being towed to the Royal Clarence Yard in Portsmouth, subject to agreement by Portsmouth Harbour Authority.

It is expected that the lift will commence at 06.45hrs on Tuesday 12 November.

Cowes Harbour Commission focusing on recovery of KAHU Yacht

November 08, 2013

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is co-ordinating the recovery of Kahu yacht from the river bed in East Cowes, and the ensuing environmental clean-up operation. Nordhavn 76 motor yacht Kahu has been destroyed by a devastating fire, which resulted in the vessel foundering on Tuesday night, 5 November, 2013.

The burning Kahu Yacht at East Cowes. Credit George Chastney. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

The burning Kahu Yacht at East Cowes. Credit George Chastney. Photo courtesy of Cowes Harbour Commission

The Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service (HFRS) led the emergency response to the fire on Kahu, and CHC was active in providing support and assistance. Cowes Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh attended all HFRS control meetings, and CHC’s Seaclear vessel was offered and proved to be extremely helpful as a water borne platform for the firefighters.

The operation is now focussed on the salvage and disposal of luxury yacht Kahu, which is being co-ordinated under Cowes Harbour Master’s supervision. Capt. Stuart McIntosh is liaising closely with the appropriate authorities, and said: “We are currently in discussion with the yacht owner’s insurance surveyor and developing the salvage plan, and will soon be confirming that divers and salvage companies can proceed with the salvage in accordance with the agreed salvage plan. We expect the vessel to be recovered within the next 48 hours.”

The submerged vessel is to be raised off the seabed, utilising air lift bags to bring it up to just below the water surface. A crane will then lift the hull top clear of the water level, in order to allow water in the hull to be pumped or drained out. Once this has been achieved the vessel will be placed on a bunded flat top barge for transportation to a disposal site.

“As part of the salvage operation,” continued Capt. McIntosh, “CHC will be prioritising a detailed anti-pollution plan, to ensure pollution does not occur, or is minimal, during the salvage and subsequent transportation stages. To this end, we are consulting our experts in this field, Adler and Allan, the MCA’s Counter Pollution Officer, and other appropriate authorities, such as the Solent Environment Group who are holding daily meetings whilst this incident is ongoing.”

On site at East Cowes Marina, oil booms have been deployed which can cope with the flood and ebb tides, and a 360 degree boom has been placed around the sunken vessel. These oil booms are designed to catch any oil escaping from the sunken Kahu, which is then skimmed off the water and put into tanks to be taken ashore. It is estimated that approximately one third of the yacht’s diesel fuel has been recovered so far and removed ashore into a road waste oil tanker with the remainder still in the fuel tanks of Kahu yacht.

Adler and Allan will continue this oil containment and removal until the risk of pollution has been eliminated, with the boat lift and transportation completed.

Meanwhile, CHC is carrying out inspections on the River Medina and around Cowes Harbour to check for instances of pollution. CHC is not aware of any significant environmental impact to date. Members of the public are invited to report any evidence of pollution to the Cowes Harbour Office by email via chc@cowes.co.uk or by phone on 01983 293952.

CHC has issued an Emergency Temporary General Direction which restricts the transit of vessels over 48m in length without the written permission of the Harbour Master. A Local Notice to Mariners has also been issued, and both documents are available on the Harbour Commission’s website.

CHC will issue further updates as required, during the course of the clean-up operation.

Classic sailing yacht K1 BRITANNIA ready for completion

November 04, 2013

Last month, the majestic 52-metre classic sailing yacht K1 Britannia was successfully lifted from her cradle at Venture Quays in England‘s Cowes, and subsequently transferred to Hythe to be completed. Luxury yacht K1 Britannia is a replica of Britannia yacht, originally designed by George Lennox Watson and built by Henderson’s on the Clyde in 1893 for Queen Victoria’s son Prince Albert Edward of Wales.

Lifting of the 52m classic sailing yacht K1 Britannia at Venture Quays in the UK

Lifting of the 52m classic sailing yacht K1 Britannia at Venture Quays in the UK

K1 Britannia yacht’s 64 ton hull was slowly raised into the air and then she swung over to the pontoon at the side of the crane. After carefully turning her hull she was lowered gently into the water right next to the pontoon and tied up safely.

Towing of K1 Britannia Yacht to Hythe, UK

Towing of K1 Britannia Yacht from Cowes to Hythe in the UK

As superyacht K1 Britannia has had some of her keel removed it was then necessary to bulk her up with ballast so that she would sit correctly in the water and 20 tons of ballast had to be put into her hold – mostly in the form of large bags of water – so that she would be able to make the journey over to Hythe.

Swan 80 sailing yacht Plis Play wins Swan Challenge Trophy at Rolex Fastnet Race 2013

August 21, 2013

The last week’s Rolex Fastnet Race was attended by a total number of 14 Swan yachts. The Swan 80 sailing yacht Plis Play has become the first Swan to cross the finish line in Plymouth, UK, winning the prestigious Swan North European Challenge Trophy.

Swan 80 superyacht Plis Play rounds the Fastnet Rock - Photo credit to Rolex Daniel Forster

Swan 80 superyacht Plis Play rounds the Fastnet Rock - Photo credit to Rolex/Daniel Forster

The biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club is the world’s largest offshore yacht race; with 347 boats from 20 nations participating this year, setting a new record for entry numbers. Racing began on Sunday, 11th August from Cowes, Isle of Wight.

After three days of racing, the Spanish Swan 80 superyacht Plis Play was the first Swan to complete the 611 nautical mile offshore race to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off Southwest Ireland; completing the challenging course in an elapsed time of three days 21 minutes. Plis Play took 2nd place overall in IRC Z Class and won the Swan North European Challenge Trophy.

The Swan Challenge Trophy is part of the Swan Challenge Series 2013, which consists of three further events and trophies; the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Transatlantic Challenges.

Oscar Ibanez, skipper onboard Plis Play yacht thoroughly enjoyed the race
: “The boat performed very well, the speed and performance of the Swan were fabulous and we didn’t have any problems. Everything worked perfectly which is so important in this type of race; this guaranteed reliability only comes from a Swan. Highlights include the start on the Solent and the upwind to the Needles, and the close reaching from Fastnet to Scilly islands.  The boat was very fast in these conditions with 20 to 22 knots of wind. Rounding the Fastnet Rock was very exciting also.

We came over to race in the Rolex Fastnet Race as it is one of the most important offshore yacht races in the world, all sailors dream of taking part, Plis Play is starting to take part in some of the most remarkable races. We celebrated with a perfect onboard dinner with the all crew onboard with fantastic food and good Spanish wine and ham. This is the Swan philosophy, a great performance boat that can achieve good results in the races but you can also relax onboard with all the home comforts and facilities.”

After handicap and a corrected time of three days 23 hours and 35 minutes, the best placed Swan at the event was Swan 411 R Best Buddies (GER); they were presented with the Whirlwind Trophy at the final prize giving on Saturday, 17th August.

Susann Eggers of Best Buddies is delighted with their results: “Best Buddies performed tremendously well, running at an average of nearly 7.8 knots the whole time. She was enjoying the race after her first Rolex Fastnet Race experience in 1979. The highlight of the race was definitely the 6 hours downwind run from the rock to the Scillies, with 20 knots of wind in the middle of the night in that heavy fog that we had.  To celebrate our really unexpected success we ordered lots of Pimms and celebrated with the trophy on the lawn with the whole crew, and then we all went to have a gorgeous dinner together. The next plans are sailing the boat to Monaco, then to Mallorca this year and entering some races in the med, for instance the Rolex Swan Cup, the Middle Sea Race and perhaps Les Voiles de Saint Tropez.”

Best Buddies are not the only boat with cause for celebration, as 84 year old Ken Newman completed his 28th Rolex Fastnet Race this year onboard Swan 46 Marinero, chartered by Ken for the 5th time for this race. Ken Newman selected the Nautor’s built Swan yacht due to his personal admiration of Nautor’s Swan quality, believing that Swan are good strong boats which you can take out to sea in in all conditions.

The Gazprom Swan 60 Class fleet were also competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time, with Swan 60 Petite Flamme taking first place in the Class. The Swan 60s will now head to Germany ready for the final event on their 2013 circuit, the Nord Stream Race.

Rolex Fastnet Race 2013: Prizegiving

August 19, 2013

There was no shortage of drama throughout a memorable and legendary 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. The race came to its end on Friday, August 16, 2013, with the final prizegiving fittingly taking place in glorious sunshine on Mount Batten, overlooking Plymouth.

The 2013 Rolex Fastnet fleet leaving the Solent - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

The 2013 Rolex Fastnet fleet leaving the Solent - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Diverse and global
336 yachts from 20 countries started the biennial race that runs from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock on the south-west tip of Ireland. The line up had everything: professional and Corinthian sailors; some of the world’s fastest, most technologically sophisticated yachts competing against 30-ft family crewed boats; participants from as far afield as Australia, Oman and the United States.

Superyacht Esimit Europa 2 leads the maxis away from the race start - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Superyacht Esimit Europa 2 leads the maxis away from the race start - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Overall Winner: The Formidable French
The most remarkable story of the week belonged to a father and son crew from Cherbourg, France, sailing the 33-ft JPK1010 Night And Day. No double-handed crew had ever won the Rolex Fastnet Race; hardly surprising given the gruelling demands posed by offshore sailing.

Pascal Loison and his son Alexis, a professional solo sailor, arrived in Cowes with the ambition of winning their double-handed class. They will sail back to France tomorrow with the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Cup and a Rolex timepiece for company as the overall winner of the biggest offshore yacht race in the world.

Sailing yacht Night and Day Overall Winner of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race

Sailing yacht Night and Day Overall Winner of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

“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.”

Conditions during the race, light for the first few days before an upturn in breeze after the second half of the fleet rounded the mythical Fastnet Rock  – the midway point  –  proved advantageous for the smaller boats. It was an especially good year for the French. Twelve of the first fifteen placed yachts, indeed the top five, hailed from across the English Channel.

Night And Day, named after the Cole Porter song, is the first French boat to win the Rolex Fastnet for eight years. Curiously, the 2005 winner – Jean-Yves Chateau’s Iromiguy – was also a 33-ft boat.

2013 Rolex Fastnet Overall Winners

2013 Rolex Fastnet Overall Winners - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Line Honours: Debut success for Esimit Europa 2
An impressive clutch of boats were competing for line honours, awarded to the fastest monohull yacht. Igor Simcic’s 100-ft Maxi yacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) started as marginal favourite having dominated Mediterranean offshore sailing over the past three years but arrived as a Rolex Fastnet debutant. In unfamiliar territory she would have to be even more wary of the first-class competition on offer. The fleet’s other 100-ft Maxi charter yacht ICAP Leopard, owned by Mike Slade, is a two-time Rolex Fastnet line honours winner and set a race record in 2007. The Ian Walker-skippered Volvo 70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing set a new race record in 2011 (42 hours, 39 minutes) and along with the predominantly female crew on Team SCA (SWE) were primed to impress.

While her rivals all suited heavier, punishing offshore conditions, Esimit Europa 2 is comfortable in lighter airs. Once she made her way through the Solent and passed the entire monohull fleet by the first evening, her leadership was never threatened. On the turn from the Rock, she built an ever-increasing lead. “It was a huge up and down race as we sailed the 300 or so miles up to the Rock upwind and then (after the Rock) in very light downwind conditions with a lot of gybes,” explained skipper Jochen Schümann. “That’s why we are not close to a race record but it was long and challenging. It was my third Rolex Fastnet Race and more Mediterranean in terms of conditions – although the weather could have been a lot warmer!”

Superyacht Esimit Europa 2, Monohull Line Honours Winner 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race

Superyacht Esimit Europa 2, Monohull Line Honours Winner 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Multihull: Fastest home
Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s 131-ft Maxi trimaran yacht Spindrift 2 was the largest boat in attendance. She was also to prove the fastest.

Completing the course in 38 hours, 53 minutes and 58 seconds, she sealed multihull line honours although six hours short of the record time set two years earlier by the same boat under the name Banque Populaire V. “We’re very pleased, very happy to be here because the outcome was not certain,” said Bertarelli on arrival in Plymouth. “We knew it would be difficult, especially with the light conditions, but we managed to manoeuvre well, keep good speed and have the right sails up to stay ahead.”

Trimarans at the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race

Trimarans at the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

By the final prizegiving at 17:00 BST, 322 of the 336 starters had completed the race. Eight boats had retired.

First ever doublehanded crew to win Rolex Fastnet Race

August 16, 2013

History has been made at this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Pascal and Alexis Loison’s JPK 1010 sailing yacht Night And Day from France was victorious at the 2013 edition and is the first doublehanded crew ever to do so. A remarkable, near unthinkable achievement, which marks a new milestone for the legendary 88-year old race.

Sailing yacht Night and Day Overall Winner of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Sailing yacht Night and Day Overall Winner of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Arriving in Plymouth at 07:19 BST Thursday morning after four long nights at sea, Night And Day enjoyed a blistering return leg from the Fastnet Rock. In the process the dynamic duo overhauled the corrected times posted by the crews arriving ahead of them and left no room to overtake for those still on the course. Victory represents a historic feat for the father and son from Cherbourg whose unforeseen triumph is a pure demonstration of teamwork, determination and preparation.

“Nobody said this was impossible to achieve,” reflected Pascal. “It’s extraordinary, like a dream. I am very happy to have won this race with my son. There are so many factors required to make it happen. We simply hoped to win the two-handed class. This is superb.”

“(The Rolex Fastnet) is one of the most prestigious races in the world, with some of the most refined boats there are,” said Alexis, a professional sailor and regular single-handed Figaro competitor. “We competed against over 300 boats, many professional with big crews. Our preparation was really good.”

Eddie Warden Owen, RORC CEO and the winners - NIGHT AND DAY - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Eddie Warden Owen, RORC CEO and the winners - NIGHT AND DAY - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Victory crowns an already successful season for the two who have only owned the boat since February. “This is our second Rolex Fastnet together,” explained Pascal. “We know the English Channel very well having done a lot of races here. The racecourse is very complicated and fascinating. There is always something to think about at each point, turn, bay.”

Night and Day’s closest rival on the water was fellow French JPK 1010 Foggy Dew which crossed the finish line in Plymouth seven minutes later. “We found ourselves in a battle with them for first place,” reflected Alexis. “They are guys we know well, our friends, who are very experienced and a worthy rival.”

Offshore yacht racing is gruelling; a mental and physical challenge even for the crews with the most resources. Double-handed sailing is even tougher. Alexis revealed a simple strategy for conquering the inevitable fatigue: “During moments the boat was going well, we would take it in turns to rest. There is no rigorous organization (or watch system).” Confidence in their approach is natural: “It comes from sailing together for a long time.”

Rolex Fastnet Race finish line from Plymouth breakwater lighthouse - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Rolex Fastnet Race finish line from Plymouth breakwater lighthouse - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The pair’s only regret is that they did not experience a dramatic view of the Fastnet Rock. “Every time we pass the Fastnet it’s foggy,” joked Alexis. “I’m not sure if it really exists!” “It was raining with 300m of visibility,” added Pascal. “We only saw the beam of the lighthouse. There were boats everywhere, stunning. It wasn’t a great advert for Ireland but a wonderful, quite surreal memory.”

Night And Day’s victory heralds a dominant performance by the over 50-strong French boats in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race.  The top five boats and twelve of the current top 15 finishers on corrected time are from across the Channel.

This is a victory that fully captures the spirit and ethos of the Rolex Fastnet Race. “The most important thing is that the race can be won by anyone,” said the Royal Ocean Racing Club CEO Eddie Warden Owen. “Everyone thinks the professional, big boats are going to have an advantage but the 2013 race has just proved what the appeal of the Rolex Fastnet is all about. They are all here because they know they have a chance of winning.”

By 17:40 BST, 244 of the 336-strong international fleet had crossed the finish line in Plymouth. All remaining yachts have rounded the Fastnet Rock, including the last placed Duet and the 100 year-old former winner, Jolie Brise. There have been ten retirements.

The final prizegiving will be held on Mount Batten, close to the Rolex Fastnet Race Village at 17:00 BST on Friday, 16 August 2013.