Apivia with doublehanders Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat competing in this 49th Rolex Fastnet Race arrived in Cherbourg early Wednesday morning scoring a resounding win in the 13-strong IMOCA fleet.
Dalin, an anglophile having studied at Southampton University, enjoyed the Rolex Fastnet Race start, seeing old friends as his IMOCA milled around the Solent before the start.
Once the gun had gone on Sunday, the foil-born Apivia leapt into action, and compared to her other 60ft IMOCA rivals looked like an 80 footer.
Part of this was down to development work since the solo round the world race: “We have new foils and some new sails. You have to keep these boats evolving to stay at the top of your game,” Dalin explained.
While the Ultimes led the charge south across the Channel, Apivia led the IMOCAs but went even further towards France before tacking.
Amazingly, at the TSS Apivia converged with the ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, a boat more than twice her length. The two boats then match raced across the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, Apivia doing an impressive job to keep up.
“That was good,” said Dalin. “It was a shame because if the wind had been maybe 15° left and 2-3 knots more we would have overtaken them for sure. At 60° TWA we were faster.” Such are the performance gains of the new generation foilers.
However this was not to last. After rounding the Fastnet Rock 49 minutes astern of Skorpios and cracking sheets, the big boat sped away.
The remainder of the race for Apivia was a complex case of playing tides and staying in the best breeze.
A busy morning is expected in Cherbourg with the bulk of the IMOCAs, the multihull leader under the MOCRA rule, Adrian Keller’s Irens 84 performance cruising catamaran Allegra, and some of the IRC Zero frontrunners all due.