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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
Fastnet Race 90th Anniversary – Big Take up for Yacht Race Round Irish Rock
  #fastnetrace – RORC Racing Manager Nick Elliott predicted 'a scramble for places' last October when it was announced that priority would be given to RORC members wishing to secure a place in the historic race celebrating its 90th year.…
RORC Lifts 100–Foot Limit for Fastnet & Middle Sea Races
Fastnet – The 100 foot (30.47m) LOA monohull limit set by a number of the classic 600 mile races such as the Fastnet, Sydney Hobart and Middle Sea races has been lifted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the…
Fastnet Race 2015 Starts from Cowes, 16th August 2015
#fastnetrace – The 46th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start from Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 16th August 2015. 
RORC Organisers Wrap up Record Breaking Fastnet Race 2013
#fastnetrace – New benchmarks continue to be set in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event this year saw the entry list sell out in less than 24 hours. Its position as the world's largest…
Sir Robin Blasts BBC's Non-Coverage of Fastnet Race
#FastnetRace - A legend of British sailing has slammed the BBC for "sea-blindness" in failing to cover the start of last week's Rolex Fastnet Race. As The Daily Telegraph reports, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston told Yachting World that the start of…
Fastnet Small Boats Finish the Race, Just 14 Still at Sea
#fastnet – Of the record breaking-sized fleet of 337 boats that set sail from the Solent last Sunday at the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the majority has now finished in Plymouth. Just 14 boats are still racing with…
Fastnet Race Won by Father & Son Double–Handed Crew
#Fastnet – For the first time in its 88–year history, the Rolex Fastnet Race has been won by a double–handed crew. The father and son team of Pascal and Alexis Loison from Cherbourg, France on the JPK 10.10, Night and…
Fastnet Fortunes Changing for Round Ireland Champion, Inismor
#fastnet – As the miles are whittled away and the bulk of the fleet converges on the Plymouth breakwater finishing line, Irish interests in podium positions are best represented by Inis Mor (Ker 39, Laurent Gouy, Clifden BC), who is…
Emotional Sailing Moment for O'Leary Family as Antix Rounds Fastnet Rock
#Fastnet – Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, rounded the Fastnet Rock on 13 August at 19:10:54, an emotional moment for the all-Irish crew. From the bow to the stern of the boat, Antix personifies the long history and passion of…
Fastnet Race Handicap Honours in the Balance as Small Boats Make Gains
#fastnet – With the smaller boats returning from the Fastnet Rock in better conditions, they are becoming increasingly favoured for the overall win of the Rolex Fastnet Race under IRC. Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum 3, was ahead first thing…
Largest Fastnet Yacht Claims Monohull Line Honours
#fastnet – Jochen Schümann, Skipper of Esimit Europa 2, Maxi RP100: 30.48m (100ft) (SLO), crossed the finish line of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race at the Plymouth Breakwater at 02:17:49 on Wednesday, 14th August after an elapsed time of 2…
Round Ireland Champion, Inismor, Leads Fastnet Fleet
#fastnet – Current Round Ireland race champion Inis Mor, sailed by French skipper Laurent Gouy with connections to Clifden Boat Club in Connemara in County Galway, leads the prestigious Rolex Fastnet race this morning in the approach to the famous rock…
Spindrift 2 Multihull is Fastnet Race Line Honours Winner
#fastnet – Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, co-skippers of Spindrift 2, a VPLP 131 Trimaran racing in the Multihull Division, crossed the finish line of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race at the Plymouth Breakwater at 02.53.58 BST on Tuesday 13th…
Foxall Rounds Fastnet Rock as Multihull Leader
#fastnet – An intriguing dust-up is taking place between the world's fastest racing yachts competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race. After an excellent start, the 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, led the Multihull division along the south coast of England last…
Fastnet Race Lead for NI Yacht Spirit of Jacana in Class One
#fastnet – Bruce Douglas and Alan Bruce's Spirit of Jacana is vying for the overall lead in class one of the Fastnet race this lunchtime but snake and ladder conditions are keeping crews on their toes and praying for pressure,…
Irish Sisterships Antix, Inismor in top Five in Fastnet Race
#Fastnet – After the first night at sea in the 2013 Fastnet race, two of 12 Irish yachts are showing the potency of Irish offshore sailing with top five performances in the 335–boat fleet. Clidfen Boat Club's Inismor sailed by the French…

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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