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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
With the latest foiling technology, Jérémie Beyou's Charal (FRA) will be one of 29 IMOCA 60s competing in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race
One of the largest fleets of IMOCA 60s ever gathered is due to set off on the Rolex Fastnet Race on Saturday, 3rd August. 29 of the boats, best known for their use in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round…
A new dawn for island finances. The Fastnet Rock – “Ireland’s tear-drop” - could become a useful flow of income for nearby Cape Clear
Following the news that the 340 places in the biennial RORC Rolex Fastnet Race had been snapped up within minutes of entries for 2019’s race opening, Afloat understands that the Community Council on Cape Clear Island – the nearest part…
 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
The most impressive collection of offshore racing hardware from across the globe is set to gather off Cowes for the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race on 3 August writes James Boyd. Following the 340 available places in the IRC…
The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on fleet manoeuvres at sea in 1738, as recorded by Dutch artist Peter Monamy. Today, the flags may have changed, the boats may be different, and it is now the Royal Cork Yacht Club. But the spirit of 1720 lives on with its Tricentenary next year. Image courtesy RCYC
Sailing in Ireland is a sport of long-lived organisations, writes W M Nixon. It’s a vehicle sport in which a significant number of the sailing vehicles are cherished classics, sometimes passed down from one generation to the next. Like it…
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Rolex Fastnet Race has once again lured sailors from around the world to compete in the historic race. 2019 will be the 48th edition
Once again the Rolex Fastnet Race has confirmed itself to be by far the world's largest offshore yacht race. After the entry for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event was opened at 1200 UTC, the 340 available places for…
Yachts from all over the world will be descending on Plymouth for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, organisers have confirmed
Plymouth City Council and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have confirmed that Plymouth will host the finish of the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Plymouth has marked the end of the renowned biennial offshore yacht race since its inception in…
Fastnet Race Organisers Respond To Rumours That Finish Could Move To France
#FastnetRace - Organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race have moved to shoot down rumours that the offshore classic was planning a move from its “ancestral home” in Plymouth to France, as the Plymouth Herald reports. Earlier this month the Royal…
The 2019 Fastnet Race will start on Saturday 3rd August 2019
The 2019 edition of the Fastnet Race will start on Saturday 3rd August 2019, which is two weeks earlier than the original published date. Unusually, the race will now run the week before Cowes Week, whose dates remain unchanged, starting on…
RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd presents the Fastnet Challenge Cup to the overall winner, Didier Gaudoux's JND39, Lann Ael 2
For a third time running the Rolex Fastnet Race has been a story of French domination, Le Tricolor flying on this occasion from the top spot in IRC 1, 2, 3 and 4, the Class40 and IMOCA 60, the Two…
The phantom boat proves to be very real indeed. The JND 39 Lann Ael 2 (Didier Gadoux) wasn’t showing on the Fastnet Race Tracker or the Entry List attached to it. Yet here she is, very much for real, making knots on her way past the Isles of Scilly and onwards towards Plymouth for the overall win
The harsh northwest to north wind that dominated the past three days of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 has softened its cough through Thursday. It’s settling in to be an Atlantic sou’west to west airflow, which eventually will bring rain…
A tired but elated crew on Nick and Suzi Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd
Overnight and into a magnificent West Country morning, boats have been streaming across the Rolex Fastnet Race finish line and into Plymouth Yacht Haven writes James Boyd. With this the leaders in the bigger classes have begun firming up along…
Power play. Dongfeng’s 54-seconds win in the Volvo 65 OD Class has been a forceful demonstration of the new concept’s potential
An event as complex as the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 throws up so many facts and figures in a very short space of time that we have to make sense of it all on the hop as best we can…
The magic moment The Irish National Sailing Sschool’s J/109 Jedi with the Fastnet Rock put astern this morning. They rounded at 07:29hrs
With the brisk north wind holding its strength and more off Cornwall to speed the leading Fastnet Race finishers comfortably on the direct course to the line at Plymouth through the night, automatic predictions of final results based on performance…
The yacht in the safe surrounds of the inner Harbour in Courtmacsherry in County Cork this morning
The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat completed the rescue of the 40–ft Fastnet Yacht Race competitor following the early morning callout at 3.21am this morning. Both boats arrived to the Inner Harbour at Courtmacsherry in County Cork just after 8am this morning, after a…
George David’s Rambler 88 powering down the Solent after Sunday’s Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 start - it’s possible that she’ll be finished at Plymouth by midnight tonight. In addition to mono-hull line honours, Rambler is also well place to win IRC Overall
Heading into the third evening of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017, with much of the heavy metal now on the homeward leg with a fair wind from the Rock to Plymouth, all are aware there’s a strong north wind out…
Hugo Boss at the start of the Fastnet Race on Sunday, little thinking they would have to beat every inch of the way to the Rock
'Foiling boats like this don’t go to windward'. That frank statement this morning from Nin O’Leary aboard the glamorous IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss which he is co-skippering with Alex Thompson in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 goes part of 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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