Jolie Brise Winner of the First Fastnet Race, 1925

Jolie Brise Winner of the First Fastnet Race, 1925

Limited edition print of 850

600 x 450 mm

The "Jolie Brise" was built in 1913 in Le Havre, as a French Pilot boat. In 1925 it won the first Fastnet Race, and again in 1929 and 1930. In 1932 her Skipper won thr Blue Water Medal for a daring rescue of the crew of the "Adriana" which caught fire during the Bermuda Race. The "Jolie Brise" was winner of the Tall Ships Race in 1980, 1986 and 2000.

The first British ocean race was inaugurated in 1925 and was called the Fastnet Race because the course ran from the Isle of Wight, down the English Channel and across part of the Atlantic to the lighthouse on the Fastnet Rock, off the southwestern Irish coast, before returning to Plymouth. The race, which has been called the Grand National of ocean racing, was started by a group of hardy sailors in 1925.

Only seven yachts started the 605 mile course on August 15th, 1925 and the "Jolie Brise" won in a time of 6 days, 2 hours and 45 minutes, having ghosted through calms and fog. Not so lucky were the trailing boats, which got caught in a gale near the end of the race. All eventually made it to safety, but their rough treatment was a foretaste of the perils that the Fastnet race would offer future contestants.

The painting shows the "Jolie Brise" rounding the Fastnet Rock at 7.50 p.m. on August 19th, 1925, leading "Gull" by 40 minutes, and "Fulmar" by 1 hour 25 minutes. As she rounded, the lighthouse keeper informed them of their leading position by semaphore.

"The dramatic image of the Jolie Brise rounding the Fastnet Light had been on my mind for some time," said the artist, Rodney Charman. "But what finally made up my mind to paint her was the events of the year 2000 when "Jolie Brise" won the Tall Ships 2000, billed as the Race of the Century - a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of the Atlantic Ocean.

"While doing the research for the painting I had the opportunity to go on board and get the feel of this historic ocean thoroughbred," Rodney said.

"I hope that in my painting I have managed to reflect the spirit that I felt in her."

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