Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán has won the HYS FAST40+ Nationals for the HYS Cup with a commanding performance over three days of racing on a sun-drenched Solent.
The expertly sailed Swedish entry took the HYS Cup with 7 wins in 8 races, their apparent stroll to victory belied by the constant pressure applied by a highly-competitive fleet that snapped at their heels throughout the three-day event.
A beaming Zennstrom said: “Everyone is very happy and also the reality is that we have a very good series. I think we were very consistent and everything worked out well, we made very few mistakes, and when everything works well it is easier for our tactician to do a good job.
“The fleet is closer this year than ever before, so everyone is stepping up their game, and this is what you see in this class it’s at a really, really high level now. All the teams are learning from each other – it is getting tighter and tighter. I think it’s only going to get tougher.”
He added that the highlight of the Nationals for them was their comeback from being OCS on race 4 to grab a last-gasp win: “When almost every race is counting you have to really focus, though I think we also got lucky with a shift on the race course, but that was the nicest race for us for sure.”
Behind Rán the other podium places were hotly contested, with Niall & Olivia Dowling’s Arabella – the only other team to take a race win – earning their place on the second step thanks to a 3-4 final day scoreline, and Tony Dickin’s Jubilee snatching the final spot by a single point from Steve Cowie’s Zephyr.
The impressive Jubilee started the final day in fifth place but delivered two solid seconds to climb the leaderboard.
“We managed to get two good starts, got to the top mark in first or second, and managed to consolidate and get two seconds,” said Dicken. “As we keep saying in this fleet it’s always closely fought and there’s no room for mistakes, as we found out on Saturday. Today we were able to do what we needed to do to nick it.”
After racing the crews gathered at Hamble Yacht Services’ Events’ Centre for the prize-giving. Speaking shortly before presenting the FAST 40+ National Championship Trophy and the HYS Cup to Rán, HYS Director Nick Griffiths said: “We are keen supporters of the FAST40+ Class and the conditions over the three days have been fabulous – we’ve been blessed, it’s what you wish for.
“HYS has been historically at the centre of yacht racing and we have always had a close association with the leading events with a large proportion of the race boats in this part of the world kept at HYS, so with the FAST40+ Class the premier class in this country it’s a natural fit for us.
“Some of us were instrumental in getting the class going in the early stages, and the mix of professional crew with amateurs is providing a really nice standard, especially with some very good young sailors who are coming through and getting the chance to race at a very high level, it is very good to see.”
The FAST40+ fleet returns to action for the penultimate event of the 2019 season with the One Ton Cup in Le Havre from September 19th to 22nd.