Rolex Fastnet Race: multihulls set sail
The race started slowly with a light breeze but then picked up pace with every hour. The Spindrift, led by Yann Guichard, on which we can see Zenith’s name, did not succeed in breaking its previous record.
Sunday, August 16, 2015. The kick-off was given in a dark smoky cloud on the Cowes quays, a small harbor in the Isle of Wight. The Rolex Fastnet Race starts with a light breeze. The team race is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Meanwhile, the 535 members of the Royal Yacht Squadron earlier celebrated their Club’s 200th anniversary. In 1851, on the occasion of the Great Exhibition, the Club, famous for having created the “Coupe des 100 Souverains” which was renamed the America’s Cup later on.
The excitement is palpable and buzzing in the air. Many people have come to attend the start of the race and are busily murmuring a detailed analysis of the strategy of the 356 yachts into contention that bear the flag of 25 different nations.
The accomplished skippers who participated in the regatta during the Cowes Week must have undoubtedly glanced at the new Rolex clock that is visible from the quay. The Swiss manufacture installed it on the front wall, which can be seen from the quay, to commemorate the Royal Yacht Squadron’s bicentenary.
A simple monument dedicated to sailors
For the first time in the history of the watchmaking brand, this clock does not display time with hands. In fact, the structure of the traditional clock, which only features the hour hands, is associated with 4 rectangular-shaped apertures that each have a luminous digital display. The first aperture – positioned at the top – gives the time of upcoming high tides while the second one displays the time of upcoming low tides. The third rectangle displays the time of upcoming high tides after the low tides. Smart sailors are thus able to prepare themselves against the strongest effects of the next tide.
But since Rolex is a careful partner having a marvelous knowledge of the sea, the clock has also been equipped with a barometric pressure indicator. Any sailor will know how to read it as it displays pressure with precision at the very moment and indicates the trend with an arrow.
This information can be used to determine whether the weather, previously announced as stable, might improve or deteriorate.
Time for results
Since Rolex has become a partner to the Fastnet Race, it is the very first time that the race encountered such small winds coming from the Mediterranean Sea and even lakes. With winds that sometimes did not exceed two knots, the skippers had to use their every last skill to take advantage of the few flurries of wind or to try and find zones where the passing breeze could make them progress in the race. But despite this, while most of the fleet was still trying to turn around the Fastnet Rock, the leaders came to destination after 603 nautical miles. They were "Spindrift", which arrived first at 05:22 BST on Wednesday morning in Plymouth, followed by “Prince de Bretagne”, "Musadam-Oman Sail", "Concise 10" and the very powerful yachts such as "Comanche" or "Rambler". However, the game is still on as a winner remains yet unknown due to the corrected times that have to be taken into consideration. Of course, at that point, no one knows who the winner might be and who will be awarded the Rolex watch.
To make the story short, there is only one specially-engraved watch to be won.
Nevertheless, as the organizers highlighted, it is also possible for a member of the winning team to personally purchase the piece. Rolex would then engrave it with the same inscriptions found on the awarded watch at the announcement of the winner. However, the organizers also pointed out that some yacht owners who previously won a significant regatta sponsored by Rolex would sometimes offer a duly engraved watch to each member of the crew.
A new icon in sailing
All the same, Rolex’s current new watch – which will certainly appeal to sailors – is the new version of the nautical Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master. Equipped with an 18K Everose gold case, this piece features an unidirectional turning bezel made in matt black Cerachrom with polished numerals. For the first time in the brand’s history, the model comes with the innovative Oysterflex strap. Developed and patented by Rolex, the strap has been designed to guarantee sturdiness and reliability that would at least match that of metallic straps. To achieve this, the engineers of the brand’s R&D department have worked on thin metallic blades from an alloy of nickel and titanium, overmolded by a high-performance black elastomer.
In order to ensure that the Everose gold self-winding watch follows each of the wrist’s movements without ever restraining them, Rolex chose to place a patented “cushion” system on the back of the straps offered in six different sizes. Incidentally, the model is available in either a 37-mm case (cal.2236) or a 40-mm case (cal.3135). This timepiece guarantees efficiency in every situation thanks to its chronometer-certified caliber. Its 100-meter water resistant Oyster case also protects it from sea spray and provides exceptional readability with luminous indexes. With its especially successful design, it will be the accomplice of demanding skippers who only accept the best to face the open seas.