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Race Updates 2015

Welsh Comedian, author and TV Producer; Griff Rhys Jones will be competing for the first time in the Rolex Fastnet Race in his classic 1948 Sparkman Stephens Yawl, Argyll.  Photo: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images Welsh Comedian, author and TV Producer; Griff Rhys Jones will be competing for the first time in the Rolex Fastnet Race in his classic 1948 Sparkman Stephens Yawl, Argyll. Photo: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images

Comedy Classic

Welsh Comedian, author and TV Producer; Griff Rhys Jones has entertained millions of viewers with comedy sketches and documentaries. Notably in the hit 80s BBC shows, Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alias Smith and Jones. Recently Griff has fronted a number of documentary series for both the BBC and ITV including; Three Men in a Boat with Dara Ó Briain and Rory McGrath. Griff has been sailing since he was a child and will be taking part in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race at the helm of his classic 1948 Sparkman Stephens yawl, Argyll, but here is nothing laughable about Argyll's Rolex Fastnet campaign.

Argyll will be racing against other classics, including several Olin Stephens designs: Stormy Weather of Cowes, Tomahawk and Dorade. Argyll showed what she is capable of in this July's Cowes Dinard-St Malo Race; winning the 44-strong IRC 4 class and placing fourth overall in a fleet of 154 yachts, including modern yachts optimised to the IRC Rule. Most importantly of all for Griff, Argyll beat Stormy Weather of Cowes to St Malo.

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Digby Fox and Loic Peyron on board Banque Populaire V, 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race Digby Fox and Loic Peyron on board Banque Populaire V, 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race

What's your Story?

Thousands of Rolex Fastnet Race fans all over the world will be following the race as the action unfolds, and the Competitors' Blog is a big part of the coverage. Over 3,000 sailors will be taking part and they can tell their story from on board, with text, pictures, video and audio.

Digby Fox is one of sailing's finest storytellers, working behind the camera at the America's Cup, Olympics, Volvo Ocean Race and top regattas all over the world, and he is no stranger to the Rolex Fastnet Race. In 1997, Digby was on board Spirit of England, setting the current multihull record for under 50ft. In 2003 with Nokia Enigma, the overall winner under IRC and with Banque Populaire in 2011, the outright multihull race record.

Digby hasn't always been on the fast high performance flyers; In 2009, Bristol Pilot Cutter Morwenna was a totally different experience. This year it will be Digby's tenth Rolex Fastnet Race and he will be on board the classic yawl, Stormy Weather of Cowes. Here are some top tips from Digby on how to improve your story from the Rolex Fastnet Race.

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Fleet leaving the Solent at the Needles. Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo Fleet leaving the Solent at the Needles. Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Don't Miss the Start

Start: 1200 BST Sunday 16th August

The 46th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, which only takes place every other year, starts this Sunday with close to 400 yachts competing. The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classics to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The world's biggest offshore racing fleet will start gathering in the central Solent from about 1000 BST Sunday 16th August 2015 and the start sequence will begin at 1200 BST; the leaders should be approaching Hurst Narrows to exit the Solent before 1300 BST.

Cowes, Isle of Wight

Cowes, the spiritual home of yacht racing, has always been the starting point for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Fastnet Race. Prior to the start, the majority of the Rolex Fastnet fleet will already be moored in the Medina River, Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepards Wharf Marina. Cowes High Street has a myriad of restaurants, pubs and maritime facilities dating back to the early 1700s and is the perfect setting for the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Thousands will watch the start from Cowes. The best views will be: The Parade, Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade.

Mainland Shore

Hurst Castle, built by Henry VIII in 1540, marks the western end of the Solent. The historic fortification offers a close-up view of the Rolex Fastnet fleet as they negotiate the Hurst Narrows and exit the Solent. The castle can be accessed on foot from Milford on Sea, along the shingle spit at low tide, or by ferry from Keyhaven.

Island Shore

Yarmouth has been a settlement for over a thousand years and contains some of the oldest architecture on the Isle of Wight, including Yarmouth Castle which was built by Henry VIII in 1547. The Grade II listed Yarmouth Pier offers an ideal vista for the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The Needles

The distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, is the iconic symbol of the island. Perched high above the Needles, the Old Battery offers unrivaled views of the Rolex Fastnet fleet as they leave the Solent. The Victorian fort built in 1862, and used throughout both World Wars, is accessible by foot from Alum Bay and by bus from Yarmouth.

Armchair Admirals

There will be live radio commentary from Fastnet Radio 87.7fm and on social media there will be a live blog on Twitter (@RORCRacing) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub)

You can watch the start live and track the fleet via the Royal Ocean Racing Club's dedicated mini-site. www.rolexfastnetrace.com/

You can also play along with the fleet in the Virtual Regatta.

Follow the Race

After the start full coverage of the Rolex Fastnet Race will continue with pictures and video on the multimedia page, the latest news and the Competitors' Blog to keep race fans up to date. All of the yachts in the Rolex Fastnet Race will have YB Trackers so the worldwide audience can track their progress in real time - 24 hours a day.

Visit the official Rolex Fastnet website: www.rolexfastnetrace.com/

Ian Walker - Photo - Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Ian Walker - Photo - Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Recent Volvo Ocean Race winner Ian Walker, double silver Olympic medalist gives his views on the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race

Enjoy the race everyone - Ian Walker

"I am sure it won't be long before I get back on a boat again. I nearly did the Rolex Fastnet this year but I managed to stop myself. I decided it was more important to have a family holiday," says Ian Walker after winning the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race after almost nine months of racing.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper, Ian Walker has become the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race. Ian is a long standing RORC member and competed in his first Fastnet Race in 1997.

"My first Fastnet Race was in a Mumm 36, the last race of the Admiral's Cup. I remember that for a lot of days I was sitting on the side of a very small boat getting very wet, but we won that race overall and on handicap, which was pretty cool. I did a very light race on the TP52, Patches and I think we led at the Rock (Fastnet), but by the time we got to the finish, we were pretty much last on handicap as the wind came in from behind to help the small boats.

"I have done two races on Volvo 70s and set the record in 2011 with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. That year it was quite a cool race, a slow start but it got really windy. From the Scilly Isles to the finish it was pretty much 30 knots and full-on reaching.

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