Fastnet divisional win for Aussie Larsen
Australian Paul Larsen skippered the 84 foot catamaran Allegra to a handicap win in the Fastnet Race after an elapsed time of three days and 18 minutes.
Larsen, who still holds the title of fastest sailor on the water with his Sail Rocket 2 exploits, had to nurse the big Nigel Irens designed cruiser-racer through heavy weather along the 695 mile race course.
Coping with the first night as the fleet bashed in 30 knot south-westerlies as the fleet edged along the Cornish coast was tough he said: “It was pretty fruity last night, but we are all good,” Larsen reported. “Obviously, we have a bit more of an asset to manage in those rough conditions, but we chose the right side of the course, so I think we are in a good position for what’s to come. We had everything stacked in the main saloon, all the sails and all the crew which made it easier, pitching over the waves. We only had about 28 knots last night, but the heavy rain made it very hard for the drivers.”
Later, Allegra with Swiss owner Adrian Keller at the helm, passed west of the Land’s End Traffic Separation Scheme just astern of the IMOCA 60 monohulls Charal and Arkea Paprec. “Our routing is a bit weird – it has us cracking off at 65-70° TWA to Kinsale and then beating up to the Fastnet Rock, so we are going to stay more towards the rhumb line and go fast at the mark and just see how we go,” said Larsen.
The affable Paul Larsen spends most of this time overseas among the international race scene and is no stranger to the Fastnet, having led the entire monohull fleet in the 2019 race during the first night when double-handed with Vendée Globe heroine Pip Hare.
The historic change for the 2021 event routed the fleet over the English Channel for a finish in Cherbourg, which involved negotiating tidal gates off the Channel Islands and finally the Cotentin Peninsula before Cherbourg, so these areas greatly affected placings. However, MOCRA line honour winners, American Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 trimaran Argo, arrived well ahead of Allegra in two days, three hours and the rest of MOCRA fleet due to reaching speeds of 35-40 knots at times.
For all results of the race: www.rolexfastnetrace.com
Main photo: Allegra, the 84ft Nigel Irens catamaran skippered by Aussie Paul Larsen. Photo: RORC/Paul Wyeth