Baltimore sailor Nick Brown capped off a successful summer of racing his J/44 Iona in a number of English Channel events with a victory in the 605-mile Fastnet Race.
Iona arrived at the finish line at Plymouth, England, on Thursday after 4 days, 7 hours, 32 minutes, 55 seconds and in first place in the 50-boat IMS (International Measurement System) class, beating New Yorker Bevin Koeppel in his Pedrick 82 Congere by just under four minutes.
In third place, behind Congere, was another U.S. team, headed by Jack King of Fairfax, Va., and Annapolis sailmaker Jim Scott, on King's Frers 62 Merrythought.
With Brown aboard Iona were a number of sailors from the Baltimore-Annapolis area, including Paul Mikulski, Paul Murphy, Dobbs Davis, George Lipps and John Clarke.
According to Mikulski, conditions for this year's Fastnet were light to moderate; he cited a 210-mile 24-hour period, as well as a 50-mile 24-hour period during the race. Mikulski added that Iona also could have won the 71-boat CHS class because her elapsed time was within two minutes of that class' winner, the French Yellow & Blue, which would have owed Iona 3 hours, 45 minutes on handicap allowance.
The Fastnet Race is a biennial event that gained worldwide notoriety in 1979, when a sudden and particularly vicious storm took the lives of 15 sailors competing in the race -- an event that changed attitudes and safety standards for offshore yacht racing around the world.
This year's race, the 34th in its history, started Aug. 10, at the island of Cowes off the southern coast of England and took the fleet on a course past Lands End and across the Irish Sea to Fastnet Rock and back again to the finish at Plymouth.
IMS (50 starters) 1) Iona, U.S., Nick Brown, Baltimore, 103:32:55 e.t./82:58:51 c.t.; Congere, U.S., Bevin Koeppel, New York, 83:02:36 e.t./83:02:36 c.t.; 3) Merrythought, U.S., Jack King/Jim Scott, Fairfax, VA/Annapolis, 99:33:25 e.t./86:52:49 c.t.
CHS 3 (71 starters): 1) Yellow & Blue, France, J. Furic, 102:27:56 e.t./125:36:26 c.t.; Dump Truck, U.K., B. Savage/J. Hotson, 99:48:22 e.t./126:09:18 c.t.; 3) Crusader, U.K., R. Matthews, 103:41:58 e.t./126:18:21 c.t.