Vendée Globe entrant Pip Hare and world sailing speed record holder Paul Larsen have teamed up to campaign Pip’s IMOCA 60 Superbigou in the Rolex Fastnet race. Starting from Cowes on Saturday 3rd August 2019, they join a fleet of 27 IMOCA 60s, 23 of which have been entered for the Vendée Globe race in 2020. With that much talent and commitment on the line, competitors and bystanders are in for an exciting ride.
With 20 years of ocean racing experience and several transatlantic races to her name, some of them single-handed, Pip Hare is no beginner, but this is her first Vendée campaign and she is clear that the road to success is never to stop learning. Pip says: “Paul’s experience is diverse and includes several world records, two circumnavigations and a recreation of Shackleton’s incredible journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia. I am both humbled and happy that someone with Paul’s experience would want to race with me, a relative novice in the IMOCA class.
“We are going to have some great competition and it will be a fast and furious race. Double-handing with the king of speed is going to be epic. Prepare for the Superbigou to fly.”
Paul first met Pip at the Poole Boat Show in June. He says: “When I ventured on my own journeys I’d been helped by people I never knew when I started. I never took it lightly that they believed my passion and thought I was worth the effort.
“I shook her hand and signed on for the Fastnet. I’m not at all bothered that this won’t be the fastest boat out there. I think of how special it might be to see her tired arms held aloft as she crosses that glorious finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne. But it will be all the more special for having shared a small part of the journey. I want those sort of memories in my life. My decision was easy really. Now Mr Fastnet… what have you got in store?”
Racing from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, the 608-mile Rolex Fastnet is a sprint rather than a marathon for these ocean-girdling yachts. However, as one of the world’s premier sailing events, it’s a must in the sailing calendar. And for those of us onshore, the opportunity to watch the world’s top sailing talent battle for supremacy on our doorstep is utterly unmissable.
Over 20% of the skippers in the IMOCA 60 fleet for the Rolex Fastnet are female, approximately double the average figure for the Fastnet fleets. Pip explains: “It’s amazing to see women being represented so well at the top levels of sailing. With these boats, no-one has the muscle power to handle the sails alone, so it’s more about good technique and quick problem solving. It’s a level playing field, and that’s what makes it so exciting. What makes you competitive is your mindset and your tactics.”