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Fastnet Yacht Race. News from the RORC Offshore Race Event
Fastnet Race Gets More Interesting By The Minute, But 'Lucky' She Ain't
#rorcrfr – There's a whole secret community in sailing worldwide which thinks it's the Fascinating Race writes W M Nixon. But if the Fastnet Race with all its intriguing twists and turns and tidal gates and heaven only knows what…
Quoile's Baker Leads Fastnet Figaro Class As Massive Fleet Waits for Wind
#fastnet – Quoile Yacht Club's Andrew Baker tops his class in the Fastnet Race this morning. Baker from Strangford Lough, an Artemis 23 skipper, leads the 32ft Figaro II one designs. Progress overnight in the Rolex Fastnet Race has been better than expected…
Fastnet Race Solent Start 'Driftathon'
#rorcrfr – Giant crowds packed the Cowes and Western Solent shoreline this afternoon as a record-sized fleet of 356 set off on the 90th anniversary Rolex Fastnet Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. With a complete lack of…
And They're Off! Fastnet Fleet Tackles Zephyr Breeze at Start of 46th Race
Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail crept over the start line of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race as light winds slammed the brakes on the biggest and fastest racing fleet ever to take part in the event. Today saw the start…
Fastnet Race Will Be Combination of Diets & Anchors
#rorcrfr – A forecast of profoundly light winds is forcing crews to take drastic action before setting off tomorrow on the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Rolex Fastnet Race. With high pressure mid-Atlantic and over Norway, little gradient wind is forecast…
Record Fastnet Race Fleet Ready For The Start
#rorcrfr – A new record should be set tomorrow at the Rolex Fastnet Race. This classic 603-nm offshore race, running from Cowes to Plymouth in the United Kingdom, is set to welcome its largest ever fleet, comprising almost 370 international…
Griff Rhys Jones Hoping for Stronger Wind for Fastnet Race Challenge
#rorcrfr – This morning at the RORC's new Cowes clubhouse, a select cross-section of competitors in this Sunday's Rolex Fastnet Race shared their observations about the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial 600 mile flagship event. By way of introduction, RORC…
Coveney Onboard With O'Coineen For Fastnet 'Kilcullen Voyager' Challenge
#fastnet – Irish Team – on the "Kilcullen Yoyager" compete for the first time in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes, Isle of Wight, Sunday 16th August On Sunday 16th August Ireland will be represented for the first time in the…
Cowes Buzzing in Anticipation of Sunday's 46th Fastnet Race
#fastnet – A record-sized fleet, at present standing at 372 boats (up from 335 in 2013), is entered in this 90th anniversary Fastnet Race. On Sunday this will be split between seven starts, setting off west down the Solent from…
Fastnet Race Prepares for Anniversary Record Next Week
#fastnetrock – A little over a week remains before the eagerly anticipated start of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. A veritable international armada will contest the 46th edition of the race, commencing from Cowes on Sunday 16 August. Around 390…
Who Will Win The 2015 Fastnet Race?
#fastnetrace – With a record-sized fleet of 335 in the running, the question 'who will win the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race on handicap is a tough one writes James Boyd.  As ever, the corrected time prize is raced under IRC,…
Champions, Veterans, Contenders: Ireland's Fastnet 2015 Entries In Focus
#FastnetRace - It's the world's biggest offshore race, heading into its 46th edition when the fleet sets of from Cowes on 16 August. And while others might sail over longer distances, the 603 nautical miles of the legendary Fastnet Race…
IMOCA 60s Test New Foils in Rolex Fastnet Race
#fastnet – One reason the Rolex Fastnet Race is the world's biggest offshore yacht race - at present 390 boats are entered - was the decision of the Royal Ocean Racing Club to include non-IRC offshore classes: Volvo Ocean 65,…
Irish Fastnet Sailors Prepare for World's Largest, Most Diverse Offshore Yacht Race
#fastnet race – Two months out from the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has made public the latest entry list for its biennial 600 mile race from Cowes to Plymouth, via the Fastnet Rock,…
Latest Maxis Racing For Fastnet Race Bragging Rights
#rorcfastnet – While it may not be the event's ultimate prize, the monohull battle for line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race is always hotly contested, coming with considerable bragging rights. This year's race from Cowes to Plymouth via the…
Damian Foxall Signs Up For Fastnet Race, The World's Biggest Offshore Race
#fastnet – The world's largest, most diverse fleet of offshore racing yachts will set sail from the Solent on 16th August in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial Rolex Fastnet Race. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the Royal Ocean…

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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