For their first outing in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann clinched 3rd in the IMOCA 60’ category on Malizia II, just ahead of another Riviera team led by Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac). The 60-footer (18.28m) arrived on Wednesday 9th August at 05.05, having covered 608nm (1,120km) from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock in just 2 days 17 hours 55 minutes and 11 seconds.
It is also the first time a boat flying the Yacht Club de Monaco colours has achieved such a result. It was an excellent performance given that three of the nine IMOCA 60s competing were on the podium of the last Vendée Globe. For most of the IMOCA 60s, this race served as a full-on rehearsal for the Transat Jacques Vabre which starts from Le Havre in France on 5th November 2017.
A memorable debut
In the early hours of the race, the Monegasque duo opted to go up the west side of the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) between the Scilly Isles and south-west England’s Land’s End, north to the Celtic Sea. It was a bold but wise tactical choice that saw them catch up with the group led by Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet (SMA) caught out by a lull in the wind. The decision was made to take advantage of a breeze filling in from the west caused by pressure between England and the Fastnet lighthouse, that most famous of offshore race marks, off Ireland’s south coast.
“We are delighted. The race was so intense, particularly on the final descent to Plymouth, with a very unstable wind and strong squalls. Our tactical choices paid off. The boat is fantastic, she’s so fast reaching and downwind. We never dreamed of such a result, especially as we only had two days training together beforehand. But we sailed intuitively and never stopped attacking – we didn’t sleep for the last 24 hours. It was an amazing experience.” said Pierre Casiraghi
Neck and neck with the top three on a long downwind leg to Plymouth, Malizia II played their cards right as they approached the English coast. They took full advantage of a 15-knot north-westerly breeze to slip to leeward of Generali and Initiatives Cœur and grab a well-deserved 3rd place.
Note that the Ned Collier Wakefield-skippered MOD 70 Concise won the event, with a race time of 1 day 18 hours 55 minutes and 0 seconds. However, it did not come close to beating the multi-hull record for the Fastnet, set in 2011 by Loïck Peyron’s maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire of 1 day 8 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
Back to the Mediterranean
There is still no let-up for Team Malizia as Boris Herrmann, again on the IMOCA 60’, heads for Sicily to take the start of the 13th Palermo-Montecarlo on Monday 21st August.
Organised by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia, in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, this 500nm race counts as the fourth and final stage of the International Maxi Association’s Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge. The other stages are the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2016, the 151 Miglia Regatta 2017 and the Giraglia Rolex Cup 2017.
Source: Yacht Club de Monaco