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As the Rolex Fastnet Race approaches its 50th edition and the 100th anniversary of the Royal Ocean Racing Club soon after so we can expect to see more classic yachts taking part with ancient associations to what has grown into the world’s largest offshore yacht race.

In this year’s race, oldest among the giant 400+ boat fleet is Amokura, the 50ft yawl built by Moodys in 1939, originally for Lord Mountbatten’s Aide de Camp, Ernest Harston. Amokura competed in the 1959 Fastnet Race and again 60 years on in 2019, but finished neither.

Present owner Paul Moxon originally bought Amokura to take his family cruising, but has since acquired the bug for racing his classic boat. “A large part of this is about breathing new life into an old boat,” he explains. “Rather than it sitting there looking pretty, it’s designed to sail long distance and there is a real attraction to throwing it back into that world.” However he adds it is challenging, especially if he wants to upgrade her, fitting, for example, modern sails and rigging. “It is a vicious circle, because there is no give in those like there is in traditional rigging and sails. You put more stress on the hull, so you have to reinforce that, which is what we have been doing for the last 18 months.” Amokura is currently having this work carried out at classic boat specialists Butler & Co in Falmouth.

Uniquely among this group, Moxon races two handed with Steve Jones, and while Amokura is not a lightweight flier like the SunFasts or Class40s, her vintage provides other benefits for shorthanding. “Due to the loads you have to be careful how you plan manoeuvres and execute them,” Moxon, warns, “but she is a stable platform and things happen more slowly. Walking up to the bow, you hold on and clip on, etc, but you don’t feel like you are going to get thrown over the side. You haven’t got the jerkiness of movement and you have a nice flat deck to walk on.” As a result reefing and hoisting or dropping sails is performed at the mast rather than in the cockpit. Her fractional yawl rig keeps the centre of effort low and the sails small and provides many gears, such as only flying the mizzen and staysail in big conditions. Her long keel means she holds her course well even when her pilot isn’t on, but Moxon says Amokura is not ideal upwind - she very much prefers reaching.

Keeping it in the family: 63ft S&S designed yawl-rigged offshore racer Rafanut - Fredrik Wallenberg is campaigning the boat built for his Grandfather in 1955 Keeping it in the family: 63ft S&S designed yawl-rigged offshore racer Rafanut - Fredrik Wallenberg is campaigning the boat built for his Grandfather in 1955 Photo: Lasse Eklöf

Some of the most significant maxis from the third quarter of the 20th century are entered. The 63ft S&S designed yawl-rigged offshore racer Rafanut was originally built in 1955 for Jacob Wallenberg of the famous Swedish banking and business dynasty. She is now campaigned by his grandson Fredrik. Sailing was Jacob’s passion and over 30 years his boats, culminating in the S&S 63, dominated the sport in Sweden. He was a repeat winner of the Baltic’s top offshore race, the Gotland Runt and was also a long term chairman of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS). In Fredrik Wallenberg’s hands Rafanut has most recently won the classic division of the Gotland Runt.

While the majority of Rafanut’s racing historically remained local in the Baltic, this was absolutely not the case for the 1961 van de Stadt-designed 73ft ketch Stormvogel, which, while she was being campaigned by her original owner Cornelius Bruynzeel, accumulated silverware in yacht races across the globe. This included line honours in the 1961 Fastnet Race when Holland scored the double; Zwerver II claiming the race overall en route to becoming top boat in that year’s Admiral’s Cup.

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of her 1961 line honours Fastnet Race victory and winning races around the globe - the Italian owned 1961 van de Stadt-designed 73ft ketch Stormvogel © Stormvogel Below Photo: Beken of CowesCelebrating the 60th anniversary of her 1961 line honours Fastnet Race victory and winning races around the globe - the Italian owned 1961 van de Stadt-designed 73ft ketch

 Stormvogel Photo: Beken of Cowes Stormvogel Photo: Beken of Cowes

Stormvogel has belonged to the same Italian owner since 1983, during which time she has sailed to the far corners of the globe, including 19 years spent in South East Asia cruising and racing. She has also posted good results in the Mediterranean Panerai Classic circuit during 2007 and 2008 and competed in the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first race when Bruynzeel won line honours. Her last event was Antigua Classic Week in 2015.

Stormvogel has recently completed an extensive refit in Bodrum Turkey at Metur Yacht with Ian Hulleman, the yacht’s Kiwi skipper for the past 12 years overseeing all work. Stormvogel’s manager and Rolex Fastnet Race skipper Graeme Henry, who has been involved with the yacht since 1987, describes the refit as “bringing Stormvogel back to a new level of performance while maintaining the original 1961 concept and 1960s’ style.” Stormvogel was relaunched in Bodrum just as the pandemic struck, but is now ready for an active sailing schedule.

As to the Fastnet, Henry states: “The owner has done many races including the Rolex China Sea and Rolex Middle Sea races, but hasn’t done the Fastnet before.” This year’s race will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Stormvogel’s 1961 Fastnet line honours victory when Francis Chichester was her navigator. On board for this year’s race, Henry hopes will be several people with connections to Stormvogel’s formative years to keep her historic spirit alive. The Rolex Fastnet 2021 represents the first of a new classic offshore race campaign for Stormvogel.

Other ‘modern classic’ yachts from the 1960s and 70s include yacht broker Chris Cecil-Wright’s Nicholson 55s Eager, skippered by Richard Powell. Eager was the first Nicholson 55 launched when she was famously the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club’s Lutine until she was sold in 1999. She has since undergone a massive rebuild and modernisation including the fitting of a much enlarged sail plan based around a carbon spar, a new rudder, deck, deck layout and superstructure, and complete interior and layout and systems right back to the wiring and plumbing. A smaller Nicholson 43 is also competing in Dutchman Eric van den Born’s Stardust, the second last of this series to be built.

Chris Cecil-Wright’s Nicholson 55 Eager, skippered by Richard Powell. Eager was the first Nicholson 55 launched when she was famously the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club’s LutineChris Cecil-Wright’s Nicholson 55 Eager, skippered by Richard Powell. Eager was the first Nicholson 55 launched when she was famously the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club’s Lutine Photo: Martin Allen

While this period saw the dawn of wide-spread GRP construction, boats were still being built in wood and an early 1970s example competing this year is the German One Tonner Oromocto. In a similar fashion to Rafanut, Oromocto is a family ‘hand me down’ and has for the last 11 years been raced by Kai Greten, whose grandfather Ernst had originally commissioned and campaigned her during the 1970s. During the latest phase in Oromocto’s life, she has been continually updated with the result that in 2014 she won the ORC class in the Rund Skagen, Germany’s longest offshore race.

Currently on the waiting list for the Rolex Fastnet Race is Pen Duick VI, the last of the famous series of yachts campaigned heavily by France’s most famous yachtsman, Eric Tabarly. The 73ft André Mauric-designed aluminium ketch competed in the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, during which she dismasted twice. Most impressively Tabarly entered this same maxi yacht in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976 and entered the history books when he won the race for a second time (following his victory in 1964), despite this 32 tonne beast, usually requiring a crew of 12 to manhandle her. Such was Tabarly’s resulting fame that he unwittingly launched offshore racing in France, not only as a sport, but as the significant business it has become today. Pen Duick VI competed alongside the 1977–78 Whitbread Round the World Race as an unofficial entrant, due to her keel being ballasted with spent uranium.

Other Sparkman & Stevens designs competing this year include the 1967 vintage Swan 36 Finola, skippered by regular RORC racers Chris Frost and Welsh transoceanic rower Elin Haf Davies. Stuart Greenfield’s Morning After is an S&S 34, a sturdy genre of yacht in which former British prime minister Edward Heath won the 1969 Sydney-Hobart and has more recently become the favoured vessel of teenage non-stop round the world sailors.

1967 vintage Swan 36 Finola, skippered by regular RORC racers Chris Frost and Welsh transoceanic rower Elin Haf Davies1967 vintage Swan 36 Finola, skippered by regular RORC racers Chris Frost and Welsh transoceanic rower Elin Haf Davies Photo: Paul Wyeth

One of the most heavily campaigned yachts in RORC races throughout the last 22 years has been Harry J. Heijst’s immaculate S&S 41 Winsome. This year’s race will be the Dutchman’s tenth having missed one due to ill health and another in 2007 when he admits there was a crew mutiny. “We would have started the race in 35 knots of wind - which is not bad for Winsome to have a good result - but there were two crew who, in the middle of the night prior to the start, said they didn’t want to do the race. I was so angry that we sailed the boat back to Holland in 40 knots of wind (downwind).”

Heijst could have changed boats to stay in IRC Two, but has remained faithful to his 1972 classic that was originally built by Royal Huisman and initially campaigned by David May, whose Berthon Boat Company continues to maintain Winsome to this day. “I probably hesitated too long to go for another boat,” he explains. “But at the same time my age has been growing while I love Winsome more every year! This is a really good boat for a man like me, much closer in age to 81 than to 18 - it is a stable, very comfortable boat. If you have 35 knots of wind, you can still sleep reasonably.”

However, Heijst says that the ideal wind for Winsome is 10 knots when there is flat water. Mid-range conditions off the wind, which allows modern boats to plane at 20+ knots, is when Winsome suffers, being more firmly attached to the water.

Harry J. Heijst’s 1972 classic S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Paul WyethHarry J. Heijst’s 1972 classic S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Paul Wyeth

Over the years Winsome has enjoyed some excellent results in the RORC’s flagship event, excelling in 2005’s ‘small boat race’ when she won IRC Two and finished fourth overall under IRC, leaving Jean-Yves Château’s Nicholson 33 Iromiguy (in IRC Three) to claim the Fastnet Challenge Cup. “We thought for a long time after our finish that we would be first, but there were still boats which hadn’t finished,” Heijst recalls. “But we were happy that at least another pure amateur won it.” Winsome had finished second in class in 2003 and also won a sub-class in 2011. Conversely Heijst says their worst race was in 2011 when they looked set to finish with a lead of six miles over the next boat in their class, only to park up some 10 nm short of the line...for eight hours. “One of my crew got so frustrated he dismantled the whole toilet, took the hoses off and repaired it!” Meanwhile those behind caught up and Winsome’s crew could do nothing, but watch as their advantage evaporated.

Currently, Heijst says Winsome is raring to go and he hopes for 10 knots and much kedging in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race. “If everyone is anchoring, the lower rated boats win!”

Among the best known S&S designs of this era are the Swans, especially the Swan 65. This year three examples are entered: Paul Stratton’s Hardship III, Placido Arango García-Urtiaga’s Libelula from Spain and the most famous – Richard Loftus’ Desperado of Cowes. The former Accurist boss acquired his steed in 1986 and despite having attempted to sell it from time to time it has remained resolutely in his ownership ever since.

Like Heijst, 2021 will be Loftus’ tenth Rolex Fastnet Race and over the years he has enjoyed success with Desperado, notably in 1989 when his heavyweight ketch and upwind weapon won CHS overall. “We went the wrong way - which turned out to be the right way,” quips Loftus. “We match raced a Swan 59 for about eight hours up the Channel and they turned right and we went left out into the mid-Channel. I was navigating, but I was very inexperienced and didn’t know what I was doing! Mid-Channel we were going backwards - I wanted to put an anchor chain down in 100m but I got talked out of it. We got going after about four or five hours going backwards and much to our surprise when we got to Land’s End all of the Admiral’s Cup boats were inshore and we were outside them all, which meant we had gone the better way. From there, it was easy – we went out to the Rock with wind and came back with a real gale behind us and that was it - we won by about two hours.”

Desperado also enjoyed the breezy 2007 race, when they found themselves solidly leading at the Fastnet Rock under corrected time, only to be overhauled downwind on the way back. Nonetheless the Swan 65 still finished 7th overall under IRC.

Loftus’ crew has included Ted Heath’s former skipper Owen Parker and gnarly South African Whitbread Round the World Race veteran David Bongers, and this year will include notables such as Paul Standbridge, Pat Lilley and John Caulcutt. Desperado over the years has developed unique Fastnet race traditions. “The main one is that we always go round the Rock wearing our dinner jackets with a glass of port and relax,” says Loftus. “We race the boat hard, but we all have fun. We don’t sit on the rail all night or any of that nonsense. We have hot meals, have a bottle of wine in the evening, I play my guitar, etc.”

1991 - Celebrating rounding the Fastnet Rock in style aboard Richard Loftus' Swan 65 Desperado of Cowes1991 - Celebrating rounding the Fastnet Rock in style aboard Richard Loftus' Swan 65 Desperado of Cowes Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Joe Powder the gorilla mascot is one of the crew and a RORC member on board Desperado of Cowes! Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/RolexJoe Powder the gorilla mascot is one of the crew and a RORC member on board Desperado of Cowes! © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

Another is Joe Powder, the race’s lone gorilla and as Loftus points out, the only stuffed gorilla that is formally a member of the RORC. “He has sailed three or four Fastnets with us. We put him on the crew list and at the end of one race, we got the crew to fill in forms and provide testimonials and he was made an overseas member of the RORC.” Following his success in 2007, Loftus put up the Joe Powder Trophy for the first boat to reach the Fastnet Rock under corrected time.

Given the COVID pandemic, Loftus says he is considering racing Desperado this year with reduced crew. “We are going to set the boat up for shorthanded and sail it with a furling no2 and asymmetric spinnakers in snuffers and 6-10 crew. That will mean everyone will have their own bunk and their own cabin. It will be quite comfortable!”

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With the Rolex Fastnet Race having so many boats, so many classes and a 96-year history, it is inevitable that many past winners, be they of line honours, individual classes or of the main IRC overall prize, the Fastnet Challenge Trophy, should be among the record 400+ strong entry in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s flagship event in 2021.

In fact among the overall winners, 2017’s victor Didier Gaudoux, with his trusty JND39 Lann Ael 2, is at present the only one returning with the same boat and a similar crew. Onboard again will be family members, including his daughter Coralie and possibly son Thomas, as well as veteran Figaro ace Fred Duthil. Lann Ael 2 hasn’t changed apart from a new paint job.

Of course, the big unknown at present is the same for everyone, warns Gaudoux: “It will be a very special campaign because we don’t know when we can start to sail and we don’t know what our preparation for the campaign will be. I intend to do a few RORC races if it is possible.”

In 2020 Lann Ael 2 competed in just a few races but made the most of them, winning the IRC class in the Drheam Cup, ahead of Eric Fries' JPK 11.80 Fastwave 6 and Laurent Charmy's J/111 SL Energies, both of whom are also due on the start line off Cowes in August. That event also provided good preparation, starting from Cherbourg where this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will finish for the first time.

“It will be a new challenge tactically between the Scilly Islands and Cherbourg with the tide,” continues Gaudoux. While his boat is based in southern Brittany, his crew, and especially Duthil, know the complex waters around Cherbourg well. The city is planning for the arrival to include COVID restrictions for the many visitors from the local region. “A lot of people will be coming and the harbour is very close to the downtown so it will be a special welcome.”

2015 overall winner, Géry Trentesaux is returning aboard Antoine Carpentier’s latest generation Class40 Courrier Redman2015 overall winner, Géry Trentesaux is returning aboard Antoine Carpentier’s latest generation Class40 Courrier Redman. Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

Defending their 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race IRC Two Handed title - Alexis Loison and Jean Pierre Kelbert on JPK 10.30 LéoDefending their 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race IRC Two Handed title - Alexis Loison and Jean Pierre Kelbert on JPK 10.30 Léon © Paul Wyeth/RORC

While he is not competing on his JPK 10.80, the 2015 overall winner Géry Trentesaux is returning aboard Antoine Carpentier’s latest generation Mach 40.4 Class40 Courrier Redman which finished runner-up in this year’s RORC Transatlantic Race. Alexis Loisin, who became the race’s first doublehanded overall winner with his father Pascal in 2013 aboard their JPK 10.10 Night And Day, is back to defend his title in the IRC Two-Handed class onboard the JPK 10.30 Léon with Jean Pierre Kelbert, proprietor of the successful French Chantier JPK. Loisin has won IRC Two-Handed in three of the last four races and only was displaced into second in 2015 by Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley on their J/105 Jester, who that year were fourth overall under IRC and top British finishers. Rawlings and Childerley are back to try their hand again, this time with their newly acquired Sun Fast 3300 Aries.

“We look forward to the new Fastnet course - it will be a hard-fought contest all the way to the finish line,” says Childerley. The big draw is both the heightened competition in IRC Two Handed, with all of the podium finishers from the last two races returning, including the Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII, sailed by Henry Bomby and Hannah Diamond two years ago, and Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.80 Raging-bee², second and third respectively in 2019. This is bolstered by Two-Handed racing being on the Olympic roster for Paris 2024. “Doublehanded sailing continues to inspire and provide a challenge that is complemented by the Rolex Fastnet Race,” concludes Childerley.

Thomas Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise - hoping to secure a podium place again in IRC TwoThomas Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise - hoping to secure a podium place again in IRC Two © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon topped IRC One in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet RaceJacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon topped IRC One in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race - © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Many class winners are returning. Among the most successful is the La Trinité-sur-Mer old guard on boat builder Nicolas Groleau’s Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom, one of several Sam Manuard designs his company JPS Production builds. Bretagne Telecom is one of 13 boats entered this year to have competed in the last six consecutive Rolex Fastnet Races, but she is by far the most successful. 2019 was the canting keel speedster’s most successful year, finishing second to winner Wizard, both overall and under IRC Zero. Previously she has twice won her class and podiumed on all but one occasion.

Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon, which beat Lann Ael 2 into second place in IRC One two years ago, is back. While Trentesaux is not returning to defend his IRC Two title, Francois Lognone’s MC34 Nutmeg Solidaire En Peloton and Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise, the other 2019 podium placers, will be. Nutmeg has a strong track record having won IRC Two in 2015 when she was fifth overall, while Lognone was eighth overall and third in IRC Two aboard his previous J/122 Nutmeg IV in 2011.

Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret who finished on the IRC Three podium in the last three editions, winning in 2017 aboard their JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls, will be sailing on Christian Maby’s Sun Fast 3300, Spoutnik. At the time of writing one of the most successful sailors in IRC Four, Noel Racine and his JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was not returning to defend his title. Racine, a retired Le Havre pilot, has won his class in three of the last five races and podiumed in all. However the remaining IRC Four podium placers from 2019 are back in Emmanuel Pinteaux’s sistership Gioia and Francois Charles’s Dehler 33, Sun Hill 3.

Nicolas Groleau’s Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom has competed in six consecutive Rolex Fastnet RacesNicolas Groleau’s Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom has competed in six consecutive Rolex Fastnet Races © Pierre Bouras

Luke Berry and team on Mach 40.3 Lamotte - Module Création won Class40 overall in the 2019 raceLuke Berry and team on Mach 40.3 Lamotte - Module Création won Class40 overall in the 2019 race © Paul Wyeth/RORC

The non-IRC classes had a later deadline to enter than the IRC fleet but already Anglo-Frenchman Luke Berry was signed up to defend his Class40 title aboard the Mach 40.3 Lamotte - Module Création. At the time of writing, 31 Class40s were already entered, including Morgane Ursault-Poupon (daughter of Vendee Globe sailor, Solitaire du Figaro and Route du Rhum winner Philippe Poupon) on board UP Sailing, formerly Tanguy de Lamotte’s Class40 winner in both 2009 and 2011. Tales II, which won in 2015 and was second in 2013 in the hands of Gonzalo Botin, also returns but under new Italian skipper Andrea Fornaro.

While this sounds like yet another dominant French entry there are some potent campaigns from the UK. In addition to those already mentioned is the top British boat from 2019, David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (ex-Spookie), having finished third both overall and in IRC Zero. Never to be discounted is Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster which was third in IRC Two in 2013 and won her class in 2007. Other potent doublehanders include Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on board the Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, which finished third in both IRC Three and Two Handed in 2017.

Many winners from long ago are also returning. Another team to have competed in the last six races is Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam. Their track record is strong including IRC One victories in 2009 and 2011 and overall finishes of tenth and seventh in 2017 and 2011 respectively. Also likely to be strong will be Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia, which won IRC Two and was fourth overall in 2017, while American Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer is due a top result having finished eighth overall in 2019, second in 2017 when she won IRC Zero and a second place in IRC Canting Keel in 2015.

The Goubau family from Belgium taking part in their 7th consecutive Rolex Fastnet Race on their First 47.7 MoanaThe Goubau family from Belgium taking part in their 7th consecutive Rolex Fastnet Race on their First 47.7 Moana © Paul Wyeth/RORC

A strong track record in IRC One for Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 CodiamA strong track record in IRC One for Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam © Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

A number of yachts and crews are returning who did well in earlier editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, especially, for some reason, from 2005. Jonty and Vicki Layfield, who sailed their Swan 47 Sleeper to seventh overall then, will be racing their Swan 48 Sleeper X. Similarly Ed Broadway, who was third in IRM that year on his Hooligan V (and again in 2007 on Hooligan VI) is back sailing doublehanded on his Sun Fast 3300 Hooligan VIII. Beating Sleeper 16 years ago, in fourth and sixth overall were Xara, Jonathan Rolls Swan 38 and Harry J. Heijst’s S&S41 Winsome, both of which are entered again. Thunder 2, Robert Boulter’s Mills 37 IRC Zero winner that year, returns but now in the hands of Vladimir Phillips, while Guy Sallenave’s X-442 Ster Wenn 5, which was second in IRC One is this year being campaigned by his son Pierre.

No Rolex Fastnet Race is complete without the Goubau family from Belgium taking part aboard their faithful First 47.7 Moana. They have competed in the last six editions and finished third in class in 2005, 2011 and 2013. Longue Pierre, David Cooper and Paul England’s Dehler 38 is back too, having the same participation record, her best result coming in 2005 when she was ninth overall.

Further back, Vendée Globe skipper Conrad Humphreys has teamed up with another solo offshore racer and former Team Philips crewman Alex Bennett on board the latter’s Swan 46, Ginny B. Humphreys won the 1991 Fastnet Race overall with a young Matt Humphries aboard the David Thomas-designed half tonner Min-O-Din. Returning from the 2001 race are Cracklin’ Rosie, ninth overall and third in IRC Zero in the hands of original owner Roy Dickson and now being campaigned by former RORC Commodore Steven Anderson and RORC Treasurer Derek Shakespeare. Present Commodore James Neville is entered aboard his HH42 Ino XXX having finished sixth overall and third in IRC One in 2017, and RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turkheim is back with his lighter and faster NMYD 54 Teasing Machine which finished seventh in IRC Zero and eleventh overall in 2019

Given this vast experience due on the start line, we can look forward to one of the most competitive Rolex Fastnet Races on record.

Back to round 'The Rock' once again - RORC Commodore, James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX © Kurt Arrigo/ROLEXBack to round 'The Rock' once again - RORC Commodore, James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX © Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

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If anyone in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's suite of race offices was bothered by the thought that the 2021 change of course in the club's core event, the biennial Fastnet Race, was going to have a detrimental effect on entries, they didn't show it. And there was no need to worry, for within an hour of the list's electronic opening, it was already banging up against the 400-boat ceiling.

For of course as the club has rightly discerned, the USP about the whole business is the epic quality in the experience of rounding the Fastnet Rock itself. Certainly, the start in the Solent is quite something as a crowd control exercise. But it seems the one-boat-at-a-time nature of the finish means that participants are easily swayed by the appeal of more extensive shore facilities offered at the new finish at Cherbourg, rather than the traditional but limited waterfront at Plymouth.

Be that as it may, as the starting sequence gets going – pandemic permitting - on the morning of Sunday, August 8th, there'll be at least 400 boats shaping up with varying degrees of nervousness for their place in the choreography as the ebb begins to run west, and among them will be at least ten Irish boats.

Rockabill's crew at the Fastnet Rock on their way to winning the 2017 Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, Paul O'Higgins o right.At least they'll know what it looks like…..Rockabill's crew at the Fastnet Rock on their way to winning the 2017 Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race, Paul O'Higgins o right

Admittedly this is only one in every forty, or 2.5% if you prefer, but it reflects the number of our active offshore racers relative to the northwest Europe fleet which is the main cohort in the race, with a notably strong French element.

To put it in perspective, it seems that if all the entries in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 were laid end to end, then they'd stretch for five kilometres. We are irresistibly reminded of the comment by Dorothy Parker of The New Yorker, to the effect that if all the girls who attend the Harvard May Ball were laid end to end, then it wouldn't surprise her for a minute. But then that's the sort of coarse thought which occasionally emerges in association with offshore racing, for it's not a sport for those of a delicate disposition…….

So if we're going for tough-mindedness, it's no harm to note that it's the mythology around a very Irish rock which is at the heart of all this. The RORC have admitted it themselves with this photo they recently released, which we post right here with caption exactly as sent out by the RORC.

The legendary Fastnet Rock is the lure of the Rolex Fastnet Race for all competitorsThe legendary Fastnet Rock is the lure of the Rolex Fastnet Race for all competitors Co Kurt Ariggo/ROLEX

"Legendary" indeed……."lure" forsooth…..In other words, if the Fastnet Rock didn't exist, then we'd have to invent, design and build it. But fools that we are in Ireland, were letting them use it for free, and we think it's just grand, even at a time when our magnificent West Coast is being monetised through its marketing as the Wild Atlantic Way.

But of course, they know they have us on a hook, for the Irish participation in the first Fastnet Race in 1925 was with Harry Donegan of Cork with his cutter Gull, and by any metric Harry Donegan was one of the greatest sportsmen – in the traditional sense of the term – that Ireland has ever produced. And if anyone had even hinted to him that a modest fee should be levied for the use of the Fastnet Rock as a globally significant offshore racing mark, he'd have given them very short shrift.

The Fastnet fleet of 2019 heads west out of the Solent. If all the entries for 2021's race were laid end-to-end, they'd stretch for five kilometresThe Fastnet fleet of 2019 heads west out of the Solent. If all the entries for 2021's race were laid end-to-end, they'd stretch for five kilometres. Photo Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

Instead, he would have been much more interested in our lineup for 2021, 96 years after he was so very much involved in starting it all.

Rolex Fastnet Race Irish Entries 2021

375 Andante IRC 0.95 Keith Miller Keith Miller Yamaha 36 10.95 Kilmore Quay IRC
3492 Big Deal IRC 0.93 Conor Dillon Conor Dillon Dehler 34 10.14   2H IRC
3852 Blue Oyster IRC 0.932 Noel Coleman Noel Coleman Oyster 37 11.26 Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven IRC
1627 Cinnamon Girl IRC 1.023 Cian McCarthy Sam Hunt Sun Fast 3300 9.99 Kinsale Co Cork Ireland 2H IRC
1397 Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing IRC 0.963 Irish Offshore Sailing Ronan O'Siochru Sun Fast 37 11.4 Dun Laoghaire IRC
2129 Nieulargo IRC 1.023 Denis Murphy Denis Murphy Grand Soleil 40 12.12 Crosshaven, Royal Cork Yacht Club IRC
1610 Raw IRC 1.115 Conor Fogerty Conor Fogerty Figaro 3 10.85   IRC
1755 Richochet IRC   Kenneth Rumball Kenneth Rumball Sunfast 10 Dun Laoghaire 2H IRC
10800 Rockabill VI IRC 1.05 Paul O'Higgins Paul O'Higgins JPK 1080 10.8 Dun Laoghaire/riyc IRC
1455 Sherkin 2 IRC 0.959 Ronan O'Siochru Ronan O'Siochru Sun Fast 37 11.4 Dun Laoghaire IRC


Both of the top boats from 2020's truncated season – the Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo from Cork and Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI from Dun Laoghaire – are in, the Rockabill entry being of particular interest. Until now, Paul O'Higgins and his team have found so much good racing in their three-and-a-half seasons within Irish waters that they've resisted the temptation of the Fastnet. But after the hobbled racing of 2020, the mood of the moment is to get as much sailing sport as possible when it becomes available again, and the JPK 10.80 continues as an excellent user-friendly Fastnet proposition.

Ronan O Siochru of Irish Offshore Sailing in Dun Laoghaire has been a golden boy of Fastnet racing since winning the Roger Justice Trophy for sailing schools in 2015's race, and his training operation offers such an attractive proposition that he has two boats entered, the Sun Fast 37s Desert Star and Sherkin 2.

Ronan O Siochru of Irish Offshore Sailing receiving the Roger Justice Trophy and some much-needed refreshment from RORC Commodore Michael Boyd of Dun Laoghaire at the 2015 Fastnet Race prize-giving in PlymouthRonan O Siochru of Irish Offshore Sailing receiving the Roger Justice Trophy and some much-needed refreshment from RORC Commodore Michael Boyd of Dun Laoghaire at the 2015 Fastnet Race prize-giving in Plymouth

Kenneth Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire won the Roger Justice with the J/109 Jedi in 2017, but this time round he's down to do the two-handed division with a new Sunfast, while another Sunfast, Cian McCarthy's 3300 from Kinsale, is likewise two-handed with the owner and Sam Hunt making up the partnership. 

The Sun Fast 3300 Cinnamon Girl of Kinsale finishing the 2020 Fastnet 450 in the entrance to Cork Harbour. She'll be raced two-handed in the Fastnet Race 2021 by owner Cian McCarthy of KYC and clubmate Sam Hunt.The Sun Fast 3300 Cinnamon Girl of Kinsale finishing the 2020 Fastnet 450 in the entrance to Cork Harbour. She'll be raced two-handed in the Fastnet Race 2021 by owner Cian McCarthy of KYC and clubmate Sam Hunt.

Conor Dillon from Foynes is going yet again two-handed with the Dehler 34 The Big Deal but where his father Derek and he sailed together many times in the past, the signs are that a generational shift is under way, while 2017s "Sailor of the Year" Conor Fogerty of Howth has entered his Figaro 3 Raw as being fully-crewed.

Virtually all of these Irish entries will have varying degrees of Fastnet Race pre-experience on board, which is something that won't go amiss, as many boats now simply get themselves to the Solent, and after a day or two go straight into the potential mayhem of the Fastnet start. In times past, the traditional RORC Channel Race a week beforehand, with Cowes Week in between, played a significant induction role in many Irish Fastnet campaigns. But now it's a case of straight in at the deep end, and good luck to them all.

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Like tickets to Glastonbury, registration opened on the dot of 1000 UTC today for this summer’s Rolex Fastnet Race and speedily sold out. Within an hour an unprecedented 400 boats had entered the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s flagship event, which this year will follow a route finishing for the first time in France. Bow to bow this line-up represents almost 5km of yacht, confirming the Rolex Fastnet Race’s position as by far the world’s largest and most popular offshore yacht race.

“It seems that everyone is looking forward positively to a future of sailing without COVID-19 hanging over their heads as once again we have a ‘sell-out’ Rolex Fastnet Race,” said RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen. “Also the message must have got through that we have more places available with our move of the finish to Cherbourg, because we had the usual early rush for places, but it seemed more orderly than in the past, with more than 400 boats registering in less than an hour. Add to this the non-IRC fleets like the IMOCA and Class40, plus the usual mixture of multihulls makes the tally around 500 boats whose crews want to experience the challenge of the Rolex Fastnet Race. It is very exciting for our sport.”

The legendary Fastnet Rock is the lure of Rolex Fastnet Race for all competitors Photo: Kurt Arrigo/ROLEXThe legendary Fastnet Rock is the lure of Rolex Fastnet Race for all competitors Photo: Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

The first entry, which managed to sign up in a finger-flying sub-two second time after registration opened was Eva Herman’s J/122 Juliett Romeo from the Netherlands. The first British entry followed after 26 seconds in Katherine Cope’s Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist. The first French entry was 30 seconds into the process in Christian Maby’s Sun Fast 3300 3 Spoutnik with, just a split second later, Conor Dillon’s Dehler 34 Big Deal, the first entry from Ireland and Tomasz Nagas’ Fast Forward first from the USA.

Within three minutes more than 200 entries had signed on before the system became overloaded. Once it had sorted itself out, the tally was up to 370 within thirty minutes.

Today’s registration was for the Rolex Fastnet Race’s IRC fleet, in which boats compete for the prestigious Fastnet Challenge Cup for the race’s overall winner under corrected time. It does not include professional French classes such as the IMOCAs and Class40s, plus the multihull fleet which is once again expected to include several Ultime maxi trimarans. With at least 100 more boats expected from classes such as these, the total number of boats due to set sail from the Solent on Sunday, 8 August looks set to exceed 500.

At the time of writing yachts were entered from 25 nations, the majority coming from the UK with large turn-outs also from France and the Netherlands, both with entry numbers substantially increased compared to 2019. Entries from further afield included four from Russia, two from Japan and Australia, from one both China and New Zealand.

The route of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin via the Fastnet Rock - 695nm © RORCThe route of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin via the Fastnet Rock - 695nm © RORC

“I’m delighted by the strong interest that we’ve had from teams around the world,” said RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. “With the race finishing in Cherbourg we were anticipating strong interest from French sailors and have received a record number of French IRC entries, which will be boosted by the non-IRC classes that are strong in France.”

French boats have won three of the last four Rolex Fastnet Races outright and the skippers from these will all return: Alexis Loisin (2013) aboard the JPK 10.30 Léon, Gery Trentesaux (2015) aboard Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Courrier Redman and Didier Gaudoux (2017) aboard his JND39 Lann Ael 2.

The average size of entry at present stands at 12.48m, lengths spanning Australian Peter Harburg’s 30.46m Black Jack (which won Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours in 2009 as Alfa Romeo II and was first monohull home in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race as Esimit Europa II), to the smallest - David O’Shea’s Hustler SJ30 Freedom at 9m.

As usual, the fleet ranges from the ultra-modern to classics. Among the former is George David’s Rambler 88, monohull line honours winner in the last two races and current holder of the monohull record to the Fastnet Rock. Among the latter is one the top maxis of the 1960s – the 78ft yawl Stormvogel, originally owned by Kees Bruynzeel that won Fastnet line honours in 1961 and subsequently repeating this in most of the top ocean races across the planet. From a decade later is Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick VI, the maxi yacht which France’s most famous sailor raced with a crew of 12 in the first Whitbread Round the World Race and who then, incredibly, sailed solo across the north Atlantic to victory in the 1976 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race.

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Registration for the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race begins at 1000 UTC on Tuesday 12th January 2021.

The RORC Race Team are concerned there will be a repeat of the 2019 rush to enter when the race became oversubscribed in less than five minutes.

A new era will begin for the world’s largest offshore yacht race this year. On 8 August 2021, the Rolex Fastnet Race will set sail from Cowes bound for the Fastnet Rock as usual, but then, once the boats have rounded Bishop Rock, they will, for the first time in the race’s 96 year history, point their bows towards Cherbourg, the new finish for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s premier event.

In order to secure a place when registration opens at 1000 UTC on Tuesday 12 January, RORC recommends registering boats in advance on RORC's SailGate race entry management system.

The 2021 race sails a new course with a finish in Cherbourg.

More here

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With less than one month to go until entry opens for the 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RORC Race Team are concerned there will be a repeat of the 2019 rush to enter when the race became oversubscribed in less than five minutes.

In order to secure a place when registration opens at 1000 UTC on Tuesday 12 January, RORC recommends registering boats in advance on RORC's SailGate race entry management system.

The 2021 race sails a new course with a finish in Cherbourg.

More here

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It says everything about the iconic nature of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Fastnet Race that a General Meeting about the route for the race, which should be a private matter among the admittedly many members of the RORC, has already become a matter of public discussion despite the announcement of the forthcoming AGM and EGM on December 7th being issued via email as recently as 00.00.45 on Saturday, November 14th.

The timing thereby avoided publication on a gloom-laden and fateful Friday 13th by just 45 seconds. But inevitably there has already been much turmoil and dissent among traditionalists who felt that the time-honoured Plymouth finish was an integral and essential part of the Fastnet experience. When the proposed Cherbourg finish was announced a year ago, the RORC officers, committee and executive pointed out that they felt that facilities at Plymouth no longer met the requirements of a very varied fleet approaching 400 boats, some of them very large.

But traditionalists pointed out that expecting Plymouth to be able to cope with such a demand for an event which occurred only once every two years was like expecting a household to be permanently prepared for Christmas lunch, and that a bit of crowding was inevitable.

Plymouth after the Fastnet RaceIt may not be Monte Carlo, let alone Cherbourg, but packing them in at Plymouth after the Fastnet Race has always been an integral part of the Fastnet experience.

Nevertheless, it seemed that Cherbourg's offer of the sun, moon and the stars in terms of facilities had won the day. But apparently, a significant group of the grassroots members of the RORC think differently, and they've been quietly gathering their forces and under Club Rule 16.1, they've secured this EGM with the proposal, for decision by a simple majority of full members, that something as significant and central as the Fastnet Race course to the RORC's existence and ethos should be decided only by the agreement of the full membership, albeit through virtual voting under the current pandemic circumstances.

Interesting times. For a year, it has looked as though our own revered Fastnet Rock was going to be all that was left of the original Fastnet Race course. Between 1925 and 1947, it started eastward out of the Solent from the Royal Victoria YC at Ryde, the only exception being 1935 when it started westward from the Royal Solent YC at Yarmouth. But then in 1949 under the persuasion of John Illingworth, the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes took over starting duties for a westward-going start sequence which has now become one of global sailing's great wonders as they exit the Needles Channel in a vast panoply of sail with the full ebb roaring along under them.

The Fastnet fleet beating westward through the Needles Channel. One of global sailing's great wonders – the Fastnet fleet beating westward through the Needles Channel.

It is so much a part of sailing consciousness that modern sailors have assumed that's the way it has always been, but it hasn't. However, the rounding of the Fastnet Rock and the finish at the lighthouse on Plymouth Breakwater have always been an integral part of it all, particularly as the formation of a new organisation, the Ocean Racing Club which was to become the RORC in 1931, was successfully proposed at the post-race dinner in Plymouth’s Royal Western Yacht Club attended by all the crews of the seven yachts that had finished, including Harry Donegan’s Gull from Cork which had placed third. But in November 2019, the RORC's Flag Officers, Committee and Executive presented the change to Cherbourg as a fait accompli.

Quite so. It's now perfectly possible that this fait accompli will be overturned by force majeure on December 7th. Plus ca change. Mais c'est la vie. And now that the populist provocateur extraordinaire Dominic Cummings is at a loose end, this might be just the job for him. Sacre bleu…

Fastnet Race course as it has been 1949-2019 (gold line), with the planned new finish to Cherbourg (red).Fastnet Race course as it has been 1949-2019 (gold line), with the planned new finish to Cherbourg (red)

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In one year’s time, a new era will begin for the world’s largest offshore yacht race. On 8 August 2021, the Rolex Fastnet Race will set sail from Cowes bound for the Fastnet Rock as usual, but then, once the boats have rounded Bishop Rock, they will, for the first time in the race’s 96 year history, point their bows towards Cherbourg, the new finish for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s premier event.

Announced last November, the change in finish venue to Cherbourg comes thanks to the joint co-operation of the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Région Normandie with the event’s organiser, the RORC. The Rolex Fastnet Race’s giant fleet will face no berthing shortage when they reach Cherbourg where they will be moored in Port Chantereyne and the Bassin du Commerce.

Well used to hosting large sailing and other sports events, the historic naval port at the top of the Cotentin Peninsula, will provide shoreside spectacle and razzamatazz on an unprecedented scale for Rolex Fastnet Race finishers. Most unexpected for competitors from outside of France will be the degree of interest taken in yacht racing by the local community. Thanks to events such as the Vendée Globe and the Route du Rhum professional sailing is a top tier sport in France and its top players, many of whom will be competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race, are household names. In addition to its long history and its massive fleet, one of the attractions of the race, that draws competitors from across the globe, is the opportunity for not just the general offshore racing community, but also Corinthian family, friends and sailing school entries to be on the same start line as legends of our sport.

Among the stars will again be Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. The massive 32m long 23m wide flying trimaran is one of the world’s fastest offshore race boats and famously in the last race overtook Francois Gabart’s MACIF on the last gybe to win by less than a minute.

“It was a similar difference between Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE in the race before,” recalls Caudrelier, who went on to skipper the Chinese VO65 to victory in the subsequent Volvo Ocean Race. “I love the race because I think the south coast of England and the north coast of Brittany are most complicated to manage which makes them the best places for racing. I really enjoy the passage between Cowes and the Lizard playing the sea breeze and the current. The Rolex Fastnet Race is a mix between a coastal race and an offshore in the Irish Sea - it is very interesting.”

Rolex Fastnet Race - the last three editions have seen record breaking fleetsRolex Fastnet Race - the last three editions have seen record-breaking fleets Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Caudrelier is naturally pleased that the next edition will end in Cherbourg. He has raced in and out of there many times, most recently in the Drheam Cup which Maxi Edmond de Rothschild won. “It is a good place for racing - very tricky with a lot of current. Each time I’ve visited it was a nice place with great parties and people – I have a lot of good memories.”

It remains unconfirmed if 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard will return to defend their title, however, their sailing master, Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright will be back, this time as skipper of 11th Hour Racing Team aboard his new generation IMOCA 60, that will be competing in The Ocean Race in 2022-23.

Enright is a fan of the Rolex Fastnet Race: “It is certainly one of the more complex races as from a course perspective it has so many different features and you never know what it is going to throw at you. Also, you can count on the competition year in year out - that makes it hard to win, so when you do it does feel good.”

Currently based in Concarneau, Enright appreciates what a difference the Cherbourg finish will make. “In France, they like their boating and the finish should be more spectacular I imagine.”

With the finish in Cherbourg, more French entries are anticipated but the majority are still likely to be from the UK. Last year David Collins was the top British finisher under IRC, his Botin IRC 52 Tala’s time correcting out to third overall behind Wizard and Nicolas Groleau’s Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom. Having come so close in 2019 and after not racing this season, Collins says the Rolex Fastnet Race will be Tala’s main event in 2021, in what will be a UK-only season.

CEO of the RORC, Eddie Warden Owen adds: “The coronavirus pandemic has left us already looking towards 2021 and a racing season - the highlight of which will be the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race.

“The last three editions have seen record-breaking fleets attracting enthusiastic amateurs, seasoned offshore racers as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world, all captivated by the challenge of racing to the Fastnet Rock, battling the strong currents and headlands off the south coast of England, followed by the open ocean in the Celtic Sea, while enduring the changeable weather en route.

“For the 2021 and 2023 races the finish will be in Cherbourg and we are excited at working with our colleagues in France where offshore racing is a national sport and where competitors can expect a wonderful welcome and warm hospitality.”

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Just over a year out from the August 2021 start of the race proper, potential competitors, armchair sailors and gamer enthusiasts from all over the world will have the opportunity to try their hand at competing on the new course for the Rolex Fastnet Race, in the online game created by Virtual Regatta.

The first part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's premier offshore event remains the same - leaving Cowes, heading west down the English Channel, passing Land's End and crossing the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland, before returning to the Channel, leaving Bishop Rock to port. But, for its next edition, the finish has moved to Cherbourg at the top of the Cotentin Peninsula, some 70 miles due south of Cowes. This change to the world's most popular offshore race increases its distance to 695nm.

Following the new course, Virtual Regatta's Rolex Fastnet Race will set sail at 1200 UTC on 3 August 2020. It will provide players with the opportunity to compete against friends, family, colleagues or fellow sailing enthusiasts in a race based on real weather data aboard their own Class40. The game is free to play, but the more competitive can pay a small fee to upgrade their equipment. While the 'real' Rolex Fastnet Race is the world's most well-subscribed offshore race with more than 350 entries expected on the start line in 2021, ranging from 100ft Ultime maxi trimarans to mums and dads on their 30ft family cruisers, the Virtual Regatta fleet will dwarf this, their offshore events regularly seeing more than 30,000 entries.

Among the virtual competitors, this year will be two-time Volvo Ocean Race winner Phil Harmer. The Australian was part of Ian Walker's crew that set the present monohull Rolex Fastnet Race course record aboard the VO70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2011. Despite his vast offshore experience and having competed in at least six Rolex Fastnet Races, Harmer is new to Virtual Regatta offshore events. "When lockdown started I downloaded the app and played a few dinghy races, but I haven't done any offshores. There's nothing like a Fastnet for a baptism of fire! It will be fun to do. It will keep me busy."

Harmer will be competing from his base in Sydney where his night shift will be made easier as he will be up, in any case, tending his newborn child. He is looking forward to going to Cherbourg. "Sometimes things just need a little change to get people interested in doing it again."

Former RORC Commodore and Admiral Andrew McIrvine intend to race his new La Réponse, a Ker 39, in next year's Rolex Fastnet Race. He advises that the Virtual Regatta race will provide a good opportunity to walk the course: "This course will be a new challenge for all of us - even those who have done more than enough Fastnets! It will be good to try it out 'virtually'. A number of friends and I have been having fun doing VR races during lockdown. Planning the weather routing is remarkably realistic and educational - highly recommended for budding navigators!"

Also on the virtual Rolex Fastnet Race start line will be Sonar world champion Hannah Stodel, who has her sights set on competing in the new mixed doublehanded offshore class for the Paris 2024 Olympics. "I've done a couple of Virtual Regatta races for fun, but nothing like the Fastnet," she says. The virtual Rolex Fastnet Race will have the benefit that it will be sailed in Class40s, the class in which Stodel had been hoping to compete this season. She is looking to do the virtual race with some of her crew who sailed the real Rolex Fastnet Race previously. "They are quite excited about it and there's even talk of a watch system. Anything that gets you looking at weather data and making strategic decisions is good practice, even if it is on the computer. It'll be a learning experience."

The virtual Rolex Fastnet Race can be played on a computer at: (www.virtualregatta.com) and on a smartphone via the Virtual Regatta Offshore App available for download from the Apple Store / Google Play Store. Those wishing to play must register with Virtual Regatta.

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The Notice of Race for the 2020 SCORA Fastnet Race, sponsored by UK Sailmakers Ireland, is now available to download.

No class divisions apply in this all-in IRC race, which sets off from the Kinsale Yacht Club’s Charles Fort Line with first gun at 5.55pm on Saturday 1 August. For more see the NOR attached below.

The run to the Fastnet, as noted in Tom MacSweeney's podcast earlier today, will be the highlight of a weekend of sailing in Kinsale that also includes the Open Keelboat Regatta, sponsored by Barry Ryan Civil Engineering Ltd.

This one-design for regatta is open to Dragons and Squibs, with six races over two days outside of Kinsale Harbour and an entry fee of just €40.

See the Kinsale Yacht Club website for further details including entry forms and sailing instructions.

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