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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
The crew of Desert Star, with the Fastnet finish approaching, buoyed up with success if red-eyed with exhaustion
When a sailing school boat of a certain maturity starts to show consistently well in open competition in the decidedly challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, people start to take notice. And as the new-style and longer Fastnet of 2021 progressed, that…
RL Sailing finishes at Cherbourg to record a five hour win in the Figaro 3 Two-Handed Division in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021
Following a penalty handed down by the Fastnet Race jury, Pamela Lee of RL Sailing tells her side of the story Not until the late morning after our finish, after celebrating and being interviewed for our win, did we get…
Ad Fichou - Innovéo Bihannic was sailed by Yael Poupon and Victor Le Pape to victory in the Fastnet Race Figaro class
This year the Rolex Fastnet Race featured on the Classe Figaro calendar. Unfortunately, the proximity of it to the mid-August start of La Solitaire du Figaro, the class’ premier event and the effective World Championship of solo offshore racing, meant…
Pata Negra (Andrew Hall, Pwllheli SC), the latest addition to the ISORA fleet, has made her debut in her new role with some style, placing second in IRC1 and third overall in the Fastnet Race 2021
Yes indeed. With only a fortnight to go to the Golden Jubilee of ISORA's emergence from the old Northwest Offshore Association, Chairman Peter Ryan of Dun Laoghaire and Honorary Secretary Stephen Tudor of Pwllheli and their members can walk tall…
Sunrise, JPK 11.80 of Britain's Tom Kneen has been crowned overall winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race
Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. After being confirmed as the runaway winner of the IRC Two division yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course can…
Baltimore RNLI was launched last night (Thursday 12 August) to assist a yacht taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race that was suffering power problems 1 mile east of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse off the coast of West Cork. The…
Conor Totterdell (NYC) on the helm of Irish Offshore Sailing's Desert Star at the Fastnet Rock
Day 6 1100: For the last 36 hours and more, Irish offshore racing enthusiasts have been on the edge of their seats, willing Irish Offshore Sailing’s veteran Sunfast 37 Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire’s Irish Offshore Sailing to hang onto…
Victory in IRC Two-Handed & IRC Three for Alexis Loison's JPK 1030 Léon, racing with Guillaume Pirouelle
One of the most intense battles, both on the water and under IRC corrected time, in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race played out in IRC Three. Here the scratch boat was unquestionably the JPK 1030 Léon, skippered by the defending…
The Figaro 3 RL Sailing (Kenneth Rumball & Pam Lee) in a fresh breeze. In gentler conditions early this morning, the Irish duo had the best of a three-way two-handed Fastnet finish line contest with Shirley Robertson in Swell and Alexis Loison in Leon
Day 6 0800: In the final stages of their Fastnet Race through last night and the small hours of this morning, Ireland's Kenneth Rumball and Pamela Lee in RL Sailing found themselves in a three-way battle of the Two-Handers, even…
Desert Star of Irish Offshore Sailing – battling on several fronts to retain a podium position in IRC4 in the 2021 Fastnet Race
Day 5 1900:  With the JPK 11.80 Sunrise (Tom Kneen GB) named as overall IRC winner and first in IRC2 at the 2021 Fastnet Race finish in Cherbourg - thereby confirming France's Jean-Pierre Kelbert of Lorient as one of this generations's…
IRC Two victory for Tom Kneen and his young team on the JPK 11.80 Sunrise
Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has sewn up IRC Two in this 49th Rolex Fastnet Race. The Devonshire team crossed the Cherbourg finish line at 1004 BST this morning. Sunrise’s corrected time of 4 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes 4…
Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire had a good fourth night in the Fastnet Race 2021, moving up from 13th to sixth in IRC 4
Day 5 0830 The ideal time for the projected IRC overall Fastnet Race IRC leader - James Neville's HH42 INO XXX - to reach the Fastnet Race finish in Cherbourg was by 20:30 hrs BST last night, in order to…
Britain's David Collins' Botin 52 Tala has a strong grip on IRC Zero
In 2019 there was some embarrassment for the rest of the world with France ‘owning’ the Rolex Fastnet Race, winning nine of the 10 classes, albeit with the American Wizard team breaking the French-run of overall wins in the race…
The Judel-Vrolik-designed HH42 Oystercatcher (Richard Matthews) racing at Cork Week in 2014. Built in China, the HH42 is still extremely competitive, and INO XXX of this marque, owned by James Neville, is currently leading the IRC Division overall in the Fastnet Race with 30 miles to sail to the finish in light winds, but with a fair tide until 22:30 hrs
Day 4 1900: In the approaches to Cherbourg, the notorious tidal streams are running favourably for Fastnet Racers approaching from the west this evening until about 22:30 hrs, at which time smaller slower boats may find that a gate has…
Rolex Fastnet Race victory in the IMOCA class for the hugely talented Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on Apivia
An exceptional example of an extraordinary boat paired up with a hugely talented crew has been the combination of Apivia with doublehanders Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat competing in this 49th Rolex Fastnet Race. They arrived in Cherbourg early this…
The 140ft Skorpios has the sun on her back and the breeze on her beam as she finishes as first mono-hull in the Rolex Fastnet Race at Cherbourg last night
Day 4 0900:  As Afloat reported last night, Dmitry Rybolovlev's ClubSwan 125 Skorpios took line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race yesterday (Tuesday) evening, after crossing the finish line in Cherbourg at 2015 BST. Their total elapsed time for completing 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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