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Fastnet Race - Class40 victory for V and B of Maxime Sorel

Aside from the Volvo Ocean Race seven, another tight competition in the Rolex Fastnet Race has been between the twenty six Class40s racing.Antoine Carpentier, Samuel Manuard, Samuel Manuard and Jonas Gerckens currently 1st placed Class40 with V&B -

The Class40 leaders arrived in Plymouth this Wednesday afternoon, with victory finally going to V and B skippered by Frenchman Maxime Sorel. He arrived at 14:32 after 3 days 3 hours and 22 minutes.

The majority of the race, especially outbound to the Fastnet Rock was led by Jersey's Phil Sharp on board the v2 generation Mach 40, Imerys.

According to Sorel they had been swapping the lead with Imerys, skippered by Jersey's Phil Sharp down the Channel but, "after Wolf Rock it became difficult for us - we had no wind on two occasions and then we lost second place."

By giving the Bishop Rock TSS a wider berth than the front runners, V and B was able to pull into the lead, which she held to the finish.

Racing on board V and B was Sam Manuard, the boat's designer, also an accomplished sailor and possibly another reason for their victory. The latest v3 incarnation of Manuard's Mach 40 is a powerful reaching machine and they proved untouchable between Bishop Rock and the finish.

Phil Sharp's Class40 finishes in second place in the Rolex Fastnet Race - Click image for a larger image

When Imerys was becalmed off Land's End outbound she doubly lost out as the boats behind sailed round them. Reaching the Fastnet Rock came as a huge relief after three days on the wind:

"It felt like all the work we had done to get to the Fastnet had paid off with the trip home. It was just amazing to put up the spinnaker - I had almost forgotten what it looked like!"

Back from the Rock, they experienced supreme sailing with 25-27 knots of wind, enough to make the Class40 plane. "You could play the waves like a dinghy," described Sharp. "That was an amazing moment -piling down the waves under a full moon."

Also proving its worth was Campagne de France, designed and skippered by French offshore veteran Halvard Mabire and his accomplished British partner Miranda Merron.

Campagne de France led the Class40s into the Celtic Sea and later around the Fastnet Rock and back down to Bishop Rock. "We are a bit disappointed, but finishing third out of 26 is not bad," recounted Merron.

Overall in the race, American Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 Privateer is looking strong for the overall prize under IRC, but there are plenty of smaller boats still capable of winning. Privateer is also looking good to win IRC Z ahead of the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa.

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