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  • Writer's pictureMattijs Willenborg

4 Yachts in the Top 6: A Spectacular Achievement

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

The Rolex Fastnet Race has long been revered as one of the most challenging offshore races in the world. Spanning a distance of 605 nautical miles, the race demands navigational precision, tactical brilliance, and unwavering determination from participants. The event attracts a diverse fleet, ranging from professional racing teams to passionate amateurs, creating an exhilarating atmosphere on the water.

The JPK 11.80: A Force to Be Reckoned With

The JPK 11.80, designed by the renowned Jacques Valer, has established itself as a formidable contender in offshore racing. Featuring cutting-edge technology and an optimal balance of speed and stability, the JPK 11.80 has gained a reputation for delivering exceptional performance in various conditions.

In IRC 1, the JPK 1180s started out as favourites, notably Sunrise, the last winner of the event in its class and in overall. Tom Kneen and his stable crew had done it again in the Middle Sea Race by also winning the Overall. As well as the 2022 Sydney to Hobart Race in which they had to settle for the divisional victory following the breakage of their boom.

The Rolex Fastnet Race: A Test of Skill and Endurance

This 2023 edition of the Fastnet will go down in history because the terrible weather conditions, especially at the start, left no respite for the competitors on a demanding, technical and tactical course circling Cornwall and then going back to the tip of Ireland to circumvent the Fastnet lighthouse before descending South and crossing the channel to Cherbourg, now the port of arrival. With 500 boats at the start and an ultra-high level in all classes, achieving a podium or better, winning a victory, always requires a great sporting level and a good resistance to evil, but this year finishing the Fastnet was already an achievement.

At the start, the 35 knots with the wind against the current caused the fleet to “explode” in the first hours and in the early morning there were already more than 80 abandonments, 15 dismasting and the sinking of Sunfast Vari. With 3 to 4m short walls with wind against current, it was difficult not to fly at the helm. Fastwave skipper unfortunately got badly injured forcing them to retire while they were leading IRC 1. Jean-Philippe, the co-skipper mentioned seeing JPK 11.80 Sunrise, the sister ship, go passed get launched with each wave before falling 3 to 4 meters lower. As the fleet navigated the challenging waters and unpredictable weather conditions, the JPK 11.80 yachts exhibited remarkable consistency, determination and strength. Their relentless pursuit of excellence allowed them to overcome sleepless nights and moments of uncertainty, pushing each other to reach new heights.

Celebrating the Triumph & Resilience

As the Rolex Fastnet Race reached its conclusion in Cherbourg, the jubilation among the JPK 11.80 teams was palpable. Four of their yachts secured places in the top six of IRC1, a remarkable achievement considering the scale and competitiveness of the race. The crews' joyous celebrations and shared pride epitomised the spirit of sportsmanship with IRC1 winners Pintia and camaraderie that sailboat racing embodies.

With 100 boats competing in IRC1, this fiercely competitive offshore race witnessed an awe-inspiring performance from the JPK 11.80 fleet, with four of their yachts securing top positions in the division.

Final Thoughts

The JPK 11.80's performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race has unequivocally confirmed its pedigree as a world-class offshore racing yacht. The 2nd Australian JPK 11.80 currently in Nowra, Australia, the JPK 11.80 is ready to take on new challenges and conquer the Australian and Asian yacht circuits. Its exceptional design, combined with the skillful craftsmanship , creates a winning formula that will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on the sailing community throughout the region.

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