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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
The Maxi Edmund De Rothschild, has won multihull line honours in the 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race
The new breed of Ultime 32 trimarans have lived up to their name and reputation with the leading pair of Gitana XVII and Macif slashing more than four and a half hours off the record time for the 608-mile Rolex…
Conor Doyle’s handsome Xp 50 Freya from Kinsale (her crew including Olympic campaigner James Espey) was in the limelight as overall leader at one stage
With the leading Fastnet Race multihulls well round the Fastnet Rock this morning (fleet leader Gitana 17, the Ultime 32 aka Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, was first at the turn at 0633 BST) the bulk of the fleet are still…
The 100ft Ultime 32 Maxi Edmond de Rothschild seems to have emerged unscathed from a close encounter with the Shingles Bank in the early stages of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019, despite all those vulnerable appendages
For most sailors a fair wind from well aft of the beam is welcome. But if you happen to be a 100ft trimaran which three hours ago was registering 38 knots on a beam reach, the fact that the wind…
Scroll down for the official Fastnet Race Tracker
Track the progress of the 390-boat 2019 Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race fleet below here on the live tracker when the race starts at 12.30 pm off Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Saturday (August 3) Forecasts show light winds for…
The 48ft American sloop Carina (Rives Potts) rounding the Fastnet Rock in 2011, when she won her class. A successful veteran of the 1979 Fastnet Race, Carina made her debut in the 1969 race, and today she starts in her Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race
The maritime pageantry which is the sequenced start of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race gets underway in time-honoured fashion at 12.30 hrs off Cowes today. And in the almost ludicrously varied 390-plus fleet, there are some sailing machines which are…
Former Fastnet lighthouse keeper Gerald Butler
Former Fastnet lighthouse keeper Gerald Butler is due to represent fellow Irish light keepers at a memorial service for 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race on the Isle of Wight this evening writes  Lorna Siggins Former RNLI Baltimore vessel, The Robert, which…
A veteran of the Fastnet Storm rescue of 1979, the Watson 47 Class lifeboat The Robert has been restored by Jeff Houlgrave, and is currently in Crosshaven before heading for her 1979 home port of Baltimore on Friday
It was when the Baltimore Lifeboat was called on the evening of Monday, August 13th 1979 to the assistance of the yacht Regardless that the outside world began to realize that something exceptional was happening to the record 303-boat Fastnet…
The Fastnet Rock as it can be………
This weekend forty years ago, I was the chirpy co-skipper of the smallest boat in the Cruise-in-Company fleet as we closed in on Glengarriff in far West Cork for the Golden Jubilee party of the Irish Cruising Club in the…
Marc Alperovitch’s JPK 10.80 Timeline
For the previous four editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the elation of overall victory has been enjoyed by a team racing a yacht of less than 40ft. In the 2013 and 2015 editions of the 605-nautical-mile offshore race, the…
The Rolex Fastnet Race's largest monohull yachts at the start of the 2017 race
The weather will play a significant outcome in determining the overall results of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Winning your division is more within each team's control, and here we'll look at the top three IRC handicap categories in terms of…
Fastnet ’79: A Personal Recollection Of A Terrible Night From Skipper & Crew Of ‘Flicka’
Unseasonable gales in August have little meaning for those who experienced a terrible night that month in 1979, on the third day of that year’s Fastnet Race, as the skipper and crew of Flicka recall. The morning after the hurricane…
Cian McCarthy's Eos from Kinsale Yacht Club will compete in August's Fastnet Race
August 3rd's Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes is shaping up to have more Irish interest than the landmark turning point with eight Irish-flagged boats in the 26-nation race and Irish sailors also registered as competing on boats across the record fleet.…
Keith Miller's Andante a Yamaha 36c from Wexford is competing in the Fastnet Race for the first time
County Wexford suckler and tillage farmer Keith Miller is as at home on the water as he is in the fields. Hailing from the Kilmore Quay Boat Club and with 30 years' service with the Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat, this will…
The Fastnet Race memorial service notice issued by the RORC
The atmosphere in Cowes in the days leading up to the start of the Fastnet Race inevitably provides a heightening sense of anticipation and tension writes W M Nixon. And for 2019’s race on Saturday, August 3rd, there is an added…
Laura Dillon sailing in Ireland
Howth Yacht Club’s Laura Dillon is among six women profiled by the Royal Ocean Racing Club ahead of their participation in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. While crew lists for August’s race are not yet finalised, at present just over 10% of those…
Seng Huang Lee’s 100ft Scallywag, skippered by Australian David Witt
While the main kudos in the Rolex Fastnet Race comes from class wins or ultimately the Fastnet Challenge Cup for the overall IRC winner, who will simply be first home to Plymouth often turns into an engaging, heavyweight bout. Among…

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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