FAST40+ Class at the 2018 Poole Regatta. (Ian Roman)
FAST40+ 2019: Bound for Poole Bay
The FAST40+ Class is back in action this weekend with the second round of the 2019 FAST40+ Race Circuit. Eight races are scheduled over three days of highly competitive racing, with the fleet competing in Poole Bay. Stretching ten miles from Poole Harbour in the west to Hengistbury Head in the east, the natural bay is less tidal than the Solent with relatively flat water. Rán Racing's Tim Powell shares his views on how Rán and the FAST40+ Class are shaping up this season, and RMYC's Andrew Pearce sets out what's in store for the FAST40+ Class in Poole.
Tim Powell is the mainsheet trimmer on Niklas Zennstrom's FAST40+ Rán, and has been an integral part of the team since it's conception. Rán Racing is one of the most successful yacht racing teams in the modern era, having won both the TP52 and Maxi72 World Championships inshore, and offshore back-to-back winners of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Last year, Rán won the 2018 FAST40+ Class Race Circuit, and the One Ton Cup.
Q. Several FAST40+ teams have commented that they think the competition is tighter this year. What is your take on that after Round One?
Tim Powell - I think the level of racing is going to get closer all the time. All the teams including ourselves are learning to sail the boats better and as always starting and tactics are so critical. For round one we had quite an open race course with the second day having a lot of snakes and ladders. I think everyone took their turn at the front of the fleet which makes it exciting for all.
Q. FAST40+ is a development class, what mods have you done to the boat for the 2019 season, why did you do them?
Tim Powell - We didn't make any performance mods to Rán over the winter as complying to the new FAST40+ rules was our primary aim in how to mode the boat. There is always a lot of small items that you want to refine in the off-season but these are primarily to do with ease of sailing the boat rather than a paper gain on numbers.
Q. Rán has retained many of the youth sailors from last year. How will they get to the next level?
Tim Powell - Our aim on Rán from the beginning of the FAST40+ was always to try and help bring through young talented sailors where opportunities are hard to come by to sail on a high level race boat. In fact we did this with the TP52 with one spot being left available for a good young sailor. The FAST40+ fleet with the pro/am requirements makes this a lot easier and our aim is to bring new people into the team at regular times.
The important thing for all these sailors is to learn as much as possible not just in their primary roles but in understanding how the boat operates from rig set up to trimming to boat handling. To have a wide understanding is at this point important and we have set up the pros on the boat so that we all have areas of responsibility to help out the young guns. All in all we are super happy with the team with a good mix of youthful energy and personalities.
Dating back to 1905, The Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) is hosting the FAST40+ Class. With a superb panoramic vista over Poole Harbour, the clubhouse is a perfect setting for après sailing social events. Andrew Pearce started sailing at the Royal Motor Yacht Club from a very young age, and has competed in the FAST40+ Circuit with Magnum4. Andrew has been instrumental in organising the FAST40+ regatta at the RMYC.
“The club has an interesting history, originally it was a spin off from the RAC (Royal Automobile Club),” commented Andrew Pearce. “Racing in the FAST40+ Class was the pinnacle of my racing, charging around at over 20 knots was just so exciting! I have been keeping my eye on the weather for the forthcoming regatta, and keeping my fingers crossed for ideal conditions. A fully powered up fleet in flat water would be a real spectacle. All of the FAST40+ sailors will be made very welcome at the RMYC and also on Poole Quay. This regatta is very much about bringing a fantastic class to Poole, and like the FAST40+ Class, we are keen to get everybody together after racing.”