Please select your home edition
March to end August 2024 affiliate link

James Haryada of Gentoo reflects on the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

by Gentoo Sailing Team 5 Aug 2023 16:20 BST
Gentoo Sailing Team at RORC Rolex Fastnet Race 2023 © Gentoo Sailing Team

A race that really has it all, the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race was full of highs and lows as James and Stéphane navigated the iconic route amongst legendary boats and sailors...

The Rolex Fastnet Race was the first IMOCA Globe Series event this year for Gentoo Sailing Team. A brutal race and true test of skippers and boats as the race started in a blustery 30-40 knots of wind and challenging sea state.

Gentoo Sailing Team crossed the finish line in Cherbourg at 23:35:33 on Tuesday 25th, after racing for 3d 10h 28m, putting them in 24th place.

"I'm generally really pleased with how we sailed the boat and how Stéphane and I worked together as a team. Despite feeling as though the result did not reflect how we sailed, the race offered a perfect test for the boat in the lead-up to the Défi-Azimut, Transat Jacques Vabre and Retour A La Base later this season. It's the beauty of sport and competing in such an incredible class against the best in the world!" - James Haryada

The Fastnet Race is a 700nm race from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg, France. This iconic race took the 450 teams West along the South Coast of the UK, before a sprint across the Celtic Sea, rounding the ominous Fastnet Lighthouse off the South Coast of Ireland before heading back to the English Channel and into Cherbourg. The Fastnet Race is known for its extremely tactical and challenging navigational hurdles and complicated tides, where one small mistake can cost several places. With the Vendée Globe in our sights (and of course many others), it was a bumper fleet of 29 IMOCAs this year with world class skippers setting new records.

This year was the race's 50th Anniversary. In the first night, the conditions took its toll on the fleet, forcing more than 100 retirements in the first 24 hours with several boats having dismasted or even sank. Despite the unforgiving conditions, Gentoo was pushed hard and stood up to the challenge, providing James a perfect opportunity to trial the new systems and set-ups worked on over the recent Spring refit.

The team is now back in full preparation mode ahead of our next IMOCA event, the Défi-Azimut starting on September 20th. The Défi-Azimut is one of the teams favourite annual events, consisting of three different events; Speed Runs on Day 1, a 48hr double-handed offshore race starting on Day 2, and finally a fully-crewed coastal race on the final day. Last year, this was James' first solo race on Gentoo where he firmly established himself as a rising talent in the class, securing a 19th place.

Related Articles

Gentoo Sailing Team to conduct ocean research
University of Portsmouth teams up with Hampshire sailor to help protect the world's oceans The University of Portsmouth is partnering with Gosport-based ocean sailing team, Gentoo Sailing Team, to help protect our planet's marine ecosystems. Posted on 16 Feb
James Harayda on preparing for the Défi Azimut
Catching up with James before he heads to Lorient, France We caught up with James before he heads to Lorient, France next week for the Défi Azimut Race with co-skipper, Stéphane Le Diraison, and got down to the nitty gritty detail on how Gentoo Sailing Team prepares for a race. Posted on 8 Sep 2023
Gentoo goes international for the Rolex Fastnet
James Harayda has already impressed and carved a name for himself within the IMOCA fleet James Harayda, skipper of Gentoo is currently making the final preparations alongside friend and French co-skipper Stéphane Le Diraison before they embark on this thrilling race onboard 'Gentoo', one of the 30 IMOCA boats amongst the 467 strong fleet. Posted on 19 Jul 2023
Gentoo Youth Program sailors making waves in Italy
James and Cameron shine in Genoa Cameron Hook and James Bassom, two of our 2023/24 Gentoo Youth Programme sailors headed out to Genoa last week for their first Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour; a multi-stage travelling race off the Italian coast. Posted on 13 Jul 2023
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage steps aboard Gentoo
Backing local ocean racing team to take on the world Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, dipped her toes into the world of ocean racing when she met the Gentoo Sailing Team based at Haslar Marina, for a tour around their IMOCA 60 'Gentoo'. Posted on 24 Jun 2023
Gentoo partners with Blue Marine Foundation
Blue Marine's logo is proudly displayed on the Gentoo IMOCA race yacht Blue Marine focuses on addressing overfishing, creating marine reserves, and restoring vital habitats. Its mission is to see 30 percent of the world's ocean under effective protection by 2030. Posted on 2 Jun 2023
Stéphane Le Diraison joins James Harayda
As co-skipper for 2023 IMOCA season Gentoo Sailing Team is delighted to announce that Stéphane Le Diraison will be joining James Harayda as co-skipper ahead of the 2023 double-handed IMOCA races. Posted on 28 Mar 2023
Fantastic 14th place for Gentoo Sailing Team
Youngest skipper in the 38-strong IMOCA class completes his first major international solo regatta British skipper James Harayda has taken a major step in his journey to the Vendee Globe, completing the historic Route Du Rhum in a fantastic 14th place within a field of some of the best sailors in the world. Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Gentoo Sailing Team in the 2022 Défi Azimut
A competitive first solo outing for James Harayda Gentoo Sailing Team Skipper James Harayda had a solid first solo race in Lorient at the 48HR Défi Azimut. James finished a creditable 19th in a highly competitive fleet containing many of the best solo sailors in the world. Posted on 22 Sep 2022
Gentoo Sailing Team Vendée Globe Campaign Launch
As first weekend of their Youth Development Program held Gentoo Sailing Team will be competing in the 2024 Vendée Globe with James Harayda as the skipper. The team began in 2020 when Dee Caffari, offshore sailing legend, and James Harayda, a British up and coming talent, teamed up. Posted on 16 Mar 2022