With its new course and giant fleet, the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race this year provided an even greater test of racing and seamanship skill for its competitors. At 695 miles, the new course to Cherbourg was 90 miles longer than before, but as usual, required competitors to negotiate a complex mix of coastal, oceanic and tidal sailing. More extreme than usual were the conditions. For the start there was a near gale and a vicious wind-against-tide sea state to exit the Solent, but these slowly abated and later there were periods of flat calm and fog.
The move of the finish from Plymouth to Cherbourg was due to the increased facilities, including a huge marina and berthing in the heart of the city, as well as taking the world’s largest offshore race to a country where public interest and enthusiasm for this form of yachting is unparalleled. It came about thanks to the co-operation of the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Région Normandie.
For competitors, the new finish port threw up a fascinating final challenge: The Alderney Race (Raz Blanchard). This resulted in wide-ranging tactics with boats approaching the top of Cherbourg’s Cotentin Peninsula from both the extreme north and south, and all points between, according to the tidal state.
RECORDS – WINNERS 2021
Monohull: 2 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes, 55 seconds
56 hours, 33 minutes, 55 seconds
ClubSwan 125 - Skorpios, owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, skippered by Fernando Echavarri (2021)
Multihull: 1 day, 9 hours, 14 minutes, 54 seconds
33 hours, 14 minutes, 54 seconds
Ultime 32m Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, co-skippered by Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas (2021)
2021 RACE WINNER:
Fastnet Challenge Cup - IRC Overall winner in 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race: Sunrise (GBR) - JPK 11.80 – Tom Kneen