Rolex Fastnet Race concluded: the Class40 IBSA closes in 9th position28 July 2023
A legendary regatta which brings the Class40 IBSA by right into the history of sailing: 695 nautical miles from the Isle of Wight in England to Cherbourg in France, sailing in the Celtic Sea, the English Channel and along the coasts of Ireland, before iconic places and breath-taking panoramas. All this and much more is the Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the most legendary and prestigious events on the sailing calendar, which for the Class40 IBSA ended just before 2 in the night between 25 and 26 July, after 3 days and 10 hours of navigation.
Thus ends one of the most important sporting events of the second season of Sailing into the Future. Together, the international project which sees IBSA committed to supporting skipper Alberto Bona and his team in a busy calendar of regattas, which will conclude in October with the Transat Jacques Vabre, the most important objective of this sporting season.
THE LEGENDARY ROLEX FASTNET RACE
Inaugurated in 1925 and organised every two years by the famous English Yacht Club “Royal Ocean Racing Club” (RORC), in collaboration with the Royal Yacht Squadron of Cowes, in 2023 the Rolex Fastnet Race celebrates its 50th edition. Named after the Fastnet Rock, off the south coast of Ireland, the regatta presents a formidable challenge spanning 695 nautical miles. Departing from Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK), the route follows the south coast of England west along the English Channel, crosses the Celtic Sea to the iconic Fastnet Rock, off the south-west coast of Ireland, then goes back, rounding Bishop Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, and setting course for the finish at Cherbourg (France).
To face this regatta, Alberto Bona brought together an exceptional crew: on board the Class40 IBSA, Ocean Race winner and Olympian Francesca Clapcich, navigator and friend Andrea Caracci and team leader Luca Bertacchi. The crew set sail from Cowes on Saturday, July 22, at 1:30 pm and completed the iconic race crossing the finish line in 5th position (actual time) within the Class40 ranking, which becomes a 9th final position, due to the penalty received for the early departure of the IBSA team (notified by the jury on the day of departure). Out of 430 entries, 288 boats made it to the finish line, with the Class40 IBSA being the 42nd to reach the arrival.
Now, the satisfaction of having completed a difficult regatta, the embrace with the other teams of the Class40 and the moment of analysis. “It was a very tough trial” commented Alberto Bona, “but we knew that the Class40 IBSA was capable of dealing with it: we suffered no damage, we had no doubts of being safe. The early start was the result of a mistake that we paid dearly in the ranking, but that doesn’t take away from the great experience we’ve gathered in this race. It hasn’t been an easy regatta, but it’s the Fastnet, and you have to deserve it”.
To welcome the team on the floating dock was also George Pisani, Vice President of IBSA Group and Project leader of Sailing into the Future. Together: “We are happy with the performance of our team. Alberto, Andrea, Francesca and Luca proved to be strong and cohesive, in a legendarily difficult regatta which in this edition proved to be such right from the start, so much so that it resulted in a penalty for many Class40s, including IBSA. We all followed the extreme adventure of these three days with passion. Now Alberto will have to rest and prepare for the next big challenge, at the end of October: the Transat Jacques Vabre”.
TOWARDS THE NEXT GOAL: THE TRANSAT JACQUES VABRE
Once the Fastnet has been filed away, the whole IBSA team is already looking forward to the next appointment: the decisive regatta, the Transat Jacques Vabre of the end of October. In the coming months, the Class40 IBSA will undergo an accurate overhauling in the shipyard, through meticulous optimisations and checks, before facing the ocean again. Starting from Le Havre (France) on October 29, the Transat will take once again the project Sailing into the Future. Together in the Caribbean, up to Martinique, in the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, in a 4,250-mile crossing with a crew of two. The challenge is entirely open, but Bona & team know what’s there up for grabs: the final first place in the Class40 circuit, whose ranking Alberto and the Class40 IBSA are currently leading.