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“The Wimbledon of offshore racing”

The main goal for the Tulikettu team this season is the Rolex Fastnet Race; the biggest and most prestigious race in the RORC calendar starting from Cowes, England on the 22nd July. Complete with a new foil, our fox and her crew are preparing for the Wimbledon of offshore racing.

Tulikettu, the Finnish offshore sailing team skippered by Arto Linnervuo, will return to action in Cowes, England in the Rolex Fastnet Race on 22nd July. The boat’s hydrofoil, which broke in February during the RORC Caribbean600, has now been replaced and Linnervuo’s crew are looking forward to their main race of the season.

“Our new foil, only recently installed on the boat, is designed to be more durable. I am grateful to the designers and the foil’s manufacturer to have investigated the root cause of the foil and promptly drew up a new design of the foil and got it made and delivered ahead of the race this weekend. The Fastnet course tends to offer more open winds with sufficient power than other courses which is better suited for our foiling yacht. However, due to the race being brought forward by more than two weeks, the likelihood of lighter air race might increase a bit in the Celtic Sea and in the English Channel,” says Linnervuo.

The learning process for the boat is still in very early stages. Tulikettu has only competed in two races, one of which, the RORC Caribbean600 in February 2023, was abandoned due to a broken foil in the first afternoon. In her inaugural race, the RORC Transatlantic Race, crossing the Atlantic in January 2023, Tulikettu finished fourth in the IRC Zero class and seventh in the overall IRC class standings.

Racing across the Atlantic, the team sailed downwind almost all the way, and subsequently in the Caribbean, a potentially useful race offering a variety of wind angles, was a disappointing one for us. With no foil, the team has been restricted to collecting critical data during the spring and early summer that they need to discover the boat’s potential. We would of course like to have been much further along the road at this stage in the season but we’re still really excited to finally sail our yacht with the new foil in this historic Fastnet race. It will set the scene for the 2023-24 RORC season.” Linnervuo continues.

The almost 100-year-old biennial Rolex Fastnet Race celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is described by Linnervuo as “the Wimbledon of offshore racing” and is expected to attract the toughest fleet and with as many as 468 entries. The first race in 1925 attracted just 7 boats. The legendary race will start in Cowes, England, and will finish in Cherbourg, France, after rounding the Fastnet Rock lighthouse on the southern tip of Ireland.

Tulikettu has had one pre-Fasnet run; Round the Island Race in England on 1st July however the team competed without a foil, but with an IRC rating assuming we had one. She performed well even without a foil. We’re aiming to try out the new foil this week to go for maximum performance should the winds permit foiling. Our Olympic sailors in the team won’t be joining us for this race but otherwise the crew is made up of Finnish sailors who have competed in previous races,” Linnervuo says.

The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the four most iconic 600-mile races in offshore sailing, which Linnervuo hails as one of the ‘Grand Slams’, along with the Rolex Middle Sea Race, RORC Caribbean600 Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Tulikettu aims to become the first all-Finnish crew to win these races and the overall RORC series, which includes the first three, in the next few years.