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MAPFRE starts the 605-nm Rolex Fastnet Race

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Amazing start of the Rolex Fastnet Race in Cowes (UK)

MAPFRE starts the 605-nm Rolex Fastnet Race
MAPFRE starts the 605-nm Rolex Fastnet Race


The start gun for the historic Rolex Fastnet Race, now in its 47th year, was right on time. The start line, in front of one of the most referential yacht clubs in the world, the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Isle of Wight. As tradition dictates, the start was staggered according to classes, and at 12.40 BST it was the turn of MAPFRE and the other participating VO65s.

With 18-21 knots of south-easterly wind MAPFRE got off to a good start, and the team remained conservative yet firm in their position, despite the “dirty air” from the largest boats in the fleet.

At approximately 14.00h BST, MAPFRE passed the Needles, the legendary limestone rocks, located to the far west of the Isle of Wight, and one of the most important landmarks on the route.

At this point, Xabi Fernández's crew were the third of the VO65s, behind the Chinese team and Vestas 11th Racing, in first and second respectively.

It is estimated that MAPFRE will reach the finish line in Plymouth, in two and half days time; namely, early morning on Wednesday 9th August.

MAPFRE starts the 605-nm Rolex Fastnet Race
MAPFRE starts the 605-nm Rolex Fastnet Race



Xabi Fernández, Skipper


“This is the first time I have competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race. It is a historic race, much like the Rolex Sydney Hobart in Australia. It is one of the most important races in the world, and the most popular in Europe and the United Kingdom, with more than 300 boats at the start line. For many people it is the highlight of the year. For us,  it is particularly significant in our preparation, and and to gauge where we are in comparison to the other teams.

Today is the first day that those of us participating in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, are racing together.


Joan Vila, navigator

“We expect to be sailing upwind until the Fastnet, and once we round it, we will sail downwind with good wind conditions. Once we leave the Solent, we will have around 20 knots of wind, and from then on it will drop until tomorrow morning, with the probability of areas of very light wind. As we get closer to Plymouth, the wind will pick up again.

You can say that this is our first offshore race. We have to spend two nights at sea, where the watch system is really important. It is completely different from the round the island race.”


Támara Echegoyen, trimmer

“This is my first Rolex Fastnet Race, and my first offshore race in competition, so it is very important. I am excited and keen to sail, because competition can only really be created in a race, and this is the best training we can have in the run-up to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race. This is an authentic offshore experience: several days of sailing, and facing the other teams of the Volvo Ocean Race. My goal is to keep learning and get the very most out of this opportunity.”


© María Muiña/MAPFRE





1. Xabi Fernández (ESP)

2. Joan Vila (ESP)

3. Pablo Arrarte (ESP)

4. Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)

5. Antonio 'Ñeti' Cuervas-Mons (ESP)

6. Támara Echegoyen (ESP)

7. Sophie Ciszek (USA/AUS)

8. Willy Altadill (ESP) Under 30 crew member

9. Blair Tuke (NZL) Under 30 crew member

10. Ugo Fonollá (ESP), on board reporter


Number of previous Rolex Fastnet Races under his/her belt...

Xabi Fernández (ESP) 0

Joan Vila (ESP). 5

Pablo Arrarte (ESP). 1

Rob Greenhalgh (GBR). 5

Ñeti Cuervas-Mons (ESP). 1

Támara Echegoyen (ESP). 0

Sophie Ciszek (USA/AUS). 2

Willy Altadill (ESP). 2

Blair Tuke (NZL). 0

Ugo Fonollá (ESP), on board reporter. 0


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