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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
Sean Flood at the helm of Otto Glaser’s McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II with The Needles astern in the early stages of the 1974 RORC Cowes-Cork Race. Also just visible astern are Denis Doyle’s blue S&S 47 Moonduster, and Clayton Love’s Swan 44 Assiduous – they were still astern at the finish. Line honours and overall winner was Eric Tabarly’s then-new 70ft ketch Pen Duick VI, while Tritsch-Tratsch II was in the frame, and top Irish boat

Sean Flood 1932-2023

30th September 2023 W M Nixon
The life story of Sean Flood, who has died at the age of 91, is in many ways the story of modern Ireland as seen through a sailing and business lens. From a family of traditionally and strongly patriotic outlook,…
Arguably the most successful racing yacht in the world today. The luminous Caro – with Cian Guilfoyle in her crew – sweeps in with style to Cherbourg and the unassailable overall win the Fastnet Race 2023
Back in the dark latter days of the Pandemic, high-flying rumours began circulating about a new Botin 52 being completed in New Zealand. Normally, the multi-titled 52 class sees only incremental improvements as the latest boats take up this ultimate…
Thomas Bonnier's JPK 1030 Juzzy, came through the fleet to win IRC Two in the final stretch of the 2023 Fastnet Race
The winner of IRC Two in the Rolex Fastnet Race was Juzzy, who emerged victorious in a wet and windy Cherbourg after a closely contested race. The crew of Juzzy, skippered by Thomas Bonnier and co-piloted by David Prono, were…
Gilles Fournier's J/133 is victorious in IRC One after a tightly contested battle against Thomas Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise III
Gilles Fournier and his family and friends on Pintia couldn’t quite believe they had managed to win IRC One after such a close battle with Sunrise III. Having raced offshore regularly for the past half century and now 77 years…
The Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo of the Royal Cork Yacht Club (pictured here in the 2021 race) was best of the Irish in the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race
Fastnet Race Day 6 - Rapid night-time progress up Channel to the Cherbourg finish has seen the Murphy family's Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo of the Royal Cork Yacht Club pip Mike O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood (Royal Irish YC) for the best-placed…
Max Klink (right) and tactician Adrian Stead (left) plus the Caro crew with the Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner's trophy - the Fastnet Challenge Cup. The winning crew on Caro are William Parker, Wade Morgan, Ryan Godfrey, Justin Ferris, Jono Swain, James Paterson, Harry Hall, Cian Guilfoyle, Andrew McCorquodale, Andy Green, Adrian Stead and owner Max Klink
Fastnet Race Day Five: Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. After being confirmed as winner of IRC Zero yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course can…
Crowds gather for the prizegiving of the 50th Fastnet Race prizegiving in Cherbourg
Fastnet Race Day Five 1900 - France's Presidential Department of Protocol or some such secretive yet high-powered bureaucracy seems to have taken over dark world control of the Western Approaches weather system for the latter part of the Cherbourg-finishing 50th…
Maluka kisses Irish water for the first time in Cork Harbour in late May
Sean Langman’s superbly-restored 1932-vintage 30ft Sydney Harbour Ranger Class gaff cutter Maluka finally put the Fastnet Rock astern at 9:00 hrs this morning (Wednesday), and now her crew - including the legendary Gordon Maguire - are making the best of…
Defending Fastnet Race champion Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise III is seeking the IRC1 overall lead on day five of the race
Fastnet Race Day 5 0800 - A slowly rising southwest breeze through the night has put fresh purpose into the on-track progress of the large fleet of Fastnet racers still at sea, but by early afternoon today (Wednesday) in the…
The Caro crew including Dublin Bay's Cian Guilfoyle, celebrate as the Botin 52 sails into Cherbourg-en-Contentin, securing victory in IRC Zero
Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro has won IRC Zero and is looking like a solid contender for overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The Swiss boat crossed the finish line at 07:25 hours local time this morning, covering the…
The Fastnet Race performance of the Fournier family from France with their J/133 Pintia has been little short of sensational
Fastnet Race Day Four 1800 - They really should think of some word other than "calm" to describe the situation in an offshore race when the wind falls away after a period of brisk breezes. "Calm" suggests quiet serenity, yet…
Luke Berry (right) and Antoine Joubert celebrate their narrow victory in the Ocean Fifty class in the 2023 Fastnet Race
Following the long pause in arrivals in the Rolex Fastnet Race into Cherbourg after the two Ultims on Sunday night, the next home on Monday was Eric Maris’ MOD70 trimaran Zoulou, which crossed the line at 18:03:15. Among her formidable…
Neat. Mike O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood (Royal Irish YC) crosses ahead of the Lombard 45 Pata Negra (Andrew & Sam Hall, Pwllheli SC) as they close in on the Fastnet Rock yesterday (Monday) evening
Fastnet Race Day Four 0900 - When they were approaching the Fastnet Rock yesterday, the middle cohort of this still-large fleet in the 50th Edition of the Fastnet Race found that summer was quietly enjoying itself around West Cork's legendary…
MACIF Santé Prévoyance speeds towards her Rolex Fastnet Race monohull line honours victory
With the next Vendée Globe taking place next year, so the IMOCA turn-out for this year’s special 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race featured an impressive 29 boats, including much new hardware. These included reigning IMOCA class champion Charlie…
Chris Sheehan's Pac 52 Warrior Won, finish-bound from the Fastnet Rock and carrying the hopes of Glandore with her, as Don Street's grandson Dylan Vogel is in the crew. Currently at fourth overall in IRC, and making 12.5 knots, Warrior Won could well be where the smart money is already
Fastnet Race Day Three, 5pm:  After the first 30 hours or so with rather more wind - and headwinds at that - than most entrants sought, it looks as though the turbines may be slowed down or even turned off…
Chris Sheehan's PAC 52 Warrior Won rounds the Fastnet Rock at dawn this morning
Fastnet Race Day 3 - 5 pm. Yesterday’s trickle of yachts arriving at the Fastnet Rock in this special 50th Rolex Fastnet Race last night turned into a torrent. Bryon Ehrhart’s monohull line honours favourite led the single-hulled fleet around…

RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023


At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 695 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Cherbourg
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

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