PASSING LANE IN THE 2019 FASTNET RACE

The MC 34 AZAWAKH sailing with her Titanium main and No. 3 jib.

The 620-mile Fastnet Race is one of yachting’s most challenging competitions. With most of the course in the open ocean, sailors are guaranteed to a great ride both upwind and down. UK Sailmakers Belgium’s Michael Lefebvre writes about hitting the passing lane in the second half of the race.

Lefebvre sailed with his customer Vincent Willemart on his MC34 AZAWAKH in this year’s Fastnet. The boat had an all-UK sail inventory. After parking in light air for hours after the start, the wind kicked up for the leg across the Irish sea to Fastnet Rock. At one point, AZAWAKH found the conditions to her liking sailing upwind with her Uni-Titanium No. 3 jib and a reef in her mainsail -- a UK Sailmakers’ X-Drive Endure with double sided Liteskin.

One of the sails that got a real workout was his bright orange A5 spinnaker. Being smaller with narrower shoulders, this A5 was ideal for the 150-mile leg from Fastnet Rock to the Scilly Islands. According to Michael this sail was very stable; in 22-32 knots of wind at 110-120° apparent angle AZAWAKH roared past the competition picking-up an astonishing 17 positions in her class. Enjoy is video of AZAWAKH sailing under the killer A5.

Although Willemart didn’t reach the podium this year, her crew, boat, and sails performed exceptionally well bringing this happy owner to commit to sailing in the Transquadra Race next year – a 2700-mile transatlantic race for amateur short-handed sailors from Madeira to Martinique.