Published: Wednesday, 09 August 2017

American George David's Rambler 88 arrived in Plymouth on August 8 to claim monohull line honours at the Rolex Fastnet Race. The silver maxi crossed the finish line off Plymouth breakwater at 22:14:21 BST in a time of 2d9h34m21s. 

Rambler 88 Claims Monohull Line Honours At Rolex Fastnet Race 1

(Photos: Carlo Borlenghi and Kurt Arrigo / Rolex - Rambler 88 at the Rolex Fastnet Race)

This was more than six hours faster than they had managed in 2015 when they ghosted in just four minutes astern of Jim Clark's 100ft maxi, Comanche. But it was considerably outside of the monohull race record of 1d18h39m, set in 2011 by the Ian Walker-skippered VO70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Upon his arrival in Plymouth Yacht Haven, David said: "This was our fourth [Fastnet] race. We have had two that were fairly windy and one with no wind, two years ago, and this one with decent wind but a tough windward-leeward course. 360 miles upwind is a challenge and it is cold, but it is okay. We sailed well and we did a good race. We'll see what happens."

Rambler 88 Claims Monohull Line Honours At Rolex Fastnet Race 3

Rambler 88 appeared set to achieve both line honours and overall on handicap. However, she has since been displaced from the top spot overall under IRC by the 115ft giant, Nikata and Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer.

David commented: "You can always hope, but you can never tell, especially when you have boats out there for three or four more days and the weather may change and tomorrow it'll blow harder and they'll come up behind us.”

Rambler 88 Claims Monohull Line Honours At Rolex Fastnet Race 4

As usual Rambler 88 was bristling with America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners, including many former Team New Zealand and Alinghi crew. A new recruit this time was former Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Dean Barker, who sailed as watch leader. Although best known for his inshore racing, this is Barker's third Rolex Fastnet Race having previously competed on a Mumm 36 and aboard Hasso Plattner's maxi Morning Glory in 2001.

Rambler 88 Claims Monohull Line Honours At Rolex Fastnet Race 2

(Concise 10)

Early that day, Tony Lawson’s British MOD70 Concise 10 sealed multihull line honours in a time of 1d18h55m, the first yacht to complete the race. 

Skipper Ned Collier Wakefield commented: “It was one of the easier Rolex Fastnets I’ve done. The record wasn’t on with the forecast, it was upwind all the way to Land’s End. We had a nice rounding of the Fastnet Rock and gybed straight afterwards heading back along the Irish coast to find a bit more pressure and then had a great night bombing along at 35 knots in pretty flat water.”