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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
American George David’s Rambler 88 has won monohull line honours in the last two editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race and will be on the start line in Cowes again this year for the 695nm race to the Fastnet Rock and on to Cherbourg
While the UK's Cowes Week is taking centre stage on the Solent at present, final preparations are being made for Sunday’s start (8th August) of the world’s biggest offshore yacht race, the Rolex Fastnet Race. This year, for the first…
After the Fastnet Race start, crews will head west through the Solent, before a long passage along the English Channel to Land’s End
A substantial fleet of more than 300 yachts is set to compete in the 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. The entry list is evidence once again of the illustrious status and widespread appeal of the event, which starts…
Rumball and Lee competed in the gruelling Tour De Bretagne a La Voile
The Irish Offshore Sailing team RL Sailing, sponsored by Hanley Energy, recently completed the gruelling Tour De Bretagne a La Voile. The famous race was spread across several stages over nine days, with a combination of inshore and offshore racing…
Predominantly corinthian sailors will battle it out in the 70-strong IRC Four fleet on some of the smallest boats in the Rolex Fastnet Race
More than 70 boats are expected to be on the start line racing in IRC Four for the Rolex Fastnet Race. Nearly all of the 500 plus sailors racing in the class are amateurs, and all bar a few boats…
The largest class to compete in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race will be the 80+ boats in IRC Three
With less than a month before the start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, IRC Three boasts the largest class competing with 88 teams entered from at least 10 different countries. IRC Three has a cornucopia of boat designs, mainly…
Ed Bell's JPK 11.80 Dawn Treader will be one of several highly competitive teams in the Rolex Fastnet Race in IRC Two
Among many hot boats in IRC Two will be the JPK 1180, big brother to the JPK 10.10 Night and Day and 10.80 Courrier Du Leon, which won the Rolex Fastnet Races in 2013 and 2015 respectively. This year five…
Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon winner of IRC One in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race
IRC One will be one of the toughest battlegrounds within the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the French will be a hard act to beat. Among the leading contenders are Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon which won IRC One…
IRC Zero is historically the class which produces the most IRC overall winners - including David & Peter Askew's Wizard in 2019. Sadly they won't be returning to defend their title
IRC Zero represents the glamour end of the keelboat fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race. It’s likely that we’ll see line honours go to one of the maxis in the class, perhaps George David’s 88ft defending line honour champion Rambler…
The new ClubSwan 125 Skorpios will be the largest monohull ever to have entered the Rolex Fastnet Race
A major clash of the titans will take place between two of the world’s fastest maxi-monohulls at August’s Rolex Fastnet Race. While the most sought-after victory is, of course, the overall win under IRC, for the monohull that is first…
Competing in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race are many of the world’s accomplished as well as highly competitive female sailors - such as Britain's Dee Caffari racing Two-Handed with James Harayda on Sunfast 3300 Gentoo
In August a record fleet of 450 boats is expected to be on the start line of the world’s largest offshore yacht race, the Rolex Fastnet Race. Among the crews of this traditionally male-dominated sport, just over 10% will be…
Jérémie Beyou and Chris Pratt on board Charal
Almost six months after they competed in the world’s most brutal race — the singlehanded non-stop lap of the planet that is the Vendée Globe — many of the IMOCA fleet will be returning to the race course for the…
The French Government this week have restricted travel between the UK and France, imposing a 7-day isolation period on travellers from the UK
The next edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August and for the first time in its history, the race will finish in Cherbourg, France. In the current health context, the organisers are taking all the…
Rolex Fastnet Race - When it comes to offshore races there is no greater show on earth
With 450+ yachts entered in this year’s 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial flagship event has consolidated its position as the biggest offshore yacht race in the world. The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race…
Hugo Boss is back for the Fastnet Race with two new rudders installed
British sailing team Alex Thomson Racing will begin their 2021 competitive season with the Fastnet Race on August 8th. Three months out from the start of the prestigious race, the team this week returned their IMOCA 60 yacht, HUGO BOSS,…
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild holds the outright multihull record for the Rolex Fastnet Race having completed the course in 2019 in
1 day 4hrs 2mins 26 secs
While the Vendée Globe grabbed headlines over the winter with a record fleet of 31 boats, France boasts a yet more extraordinary fleet of boats – the Ultimes. Developed over the last 30 years by teams attempting to break the…
Rolex RORC photographer Paul Wyeth captures teams at the prizegiving as they express their joy after successfully completing the Rolex Fastnet Race - for many it will be their greatest personal challenge
While this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race will be highly competitive at the front of the fleet, for many among the record-sized entry of 453 yachts (at present), the objective of tackling the 695-mile course from Cowes to Cherbourg via the…

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 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • 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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