Rolex Fastnet Race News

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50th Rolex Fastnet Race Notice of Race published

Competitors are urged by RORC to set up their accounts NOW on the new race entry system: https://sailracehq.com prior to registration opening for the Rolex Fastnet Race on 11 January © Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX Competitors are urged by RORC to set up their accounts NOW on the new race entry system: https://sailracehq.com prior to registration opening for the Rolex Fastnet Race on 11 January © Kurt Arrigo/ROLEX

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With one week to go until the all-important registration date for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, has published the event Notice of Race

In addition to the broad details of the event, the NoR includes its full schedule from registration opening at 1200 UTC (1300 French time) on Wednesday, 11 January, to the start date of Saturday 22 July when the first warning signal will be at 1300 BST.

The start will be preceded by a skippers briefing and press conference on Friday 21 July, with a crew presentation and show taking place for French competitors in the Cherbourg race village on Thursday 20 July at the same time as a crew party will be taking place in Cowes.

At the finish in Cherbourg there will be a presentation for the faster ‘pro’ classes, followed by a crew party and ‘Happy Hour’ on Tuesday 25 July, while the main prizegiving will take place on Friday 28 July.

The RORC advises that since this year’s race will take place prior to Cowes Week, there is far greater opportunity to book a berth or a mooring and arrive early in Cowes to enjoy the pre-start ambience and festivities. Overseas entries, and especially those from France, are advised that there is free berthing in Cherbourg for a week prior to the start.

Prior to registration opening on 11 January, competitors are advised that the RORC has a new race entry system called SailRaceHQ (www.sailracehq.com) and they should set up their accounts afresh on this as data held currently in the existing Sailgate system will not be migrated across.  

Based on recent experience, places in the race are expected to be filled within minutes of registration opening, with late comers going on to a waiting list. However, it should be noted that, as usual, RORC members will be given priority entry and a discounted entry fee, although this applies only to boat owners and skippers who are members.

The ‘pro’ classes (ie IMOCA; Class40; Figaro 3; Ultim and Ocean 50) as well as the multihull classes have until 14 April to sign up.

The Rolex Fastnet Race remains by far the world’s largest offshore yacht race. This is largely because of it being open to the complete cross section of the sailing community; from first timers, family, club and sailing school teams, to IRC racers, doublehanders and multihulls, to the ‘pro’ classes. It offers the unique experience of amateurs being on the same starting line as some of the sport’s most high profile teams and crews.

In summary: 

Entrants should register as soon as possible on SailRaceHQ (www.sailracehq.com)

Then enter the race at 1200 UTC on 11 January 2023 at: www.sailracehq.com)

Read the Guide for Entrants: https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/competitors/race-documents/race-documents

The RORC Race Team are here to help: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Rolex Fastnet Race start - the world's largest offshore yacht race is an impressive sight as the fleet heads out of the Solent © Carlo Borlenghi/ROLEX

Special 50th edition Rolex Fastnet Race to take place in 2023

One Year to Go! The world's largest offshore race - The Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Saturday 22 July 2023 © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex One Year to Go! The world's largest offshore race - The Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Saturday 22 July 2023 © Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

A year from now the start gun will fire on what will be the most significant, historic edition of the world’s largest offshore yacht race. Setting sail from Cowes on Saturday 22nd July 2023 will be the 50th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race.

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50th edition Rolex Fastnet Race - dates for 2023 announced

Dates announced for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race - The world's largest offshore race. Save the date: 22nd July-28th July 2023  Cowes-Fastnet Rock-Cherbourg-en-Cotentin © Kurt Arrigio/Rolex Dates announced for the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race - The world's largest offshore race. Save the date: 22nd July-28th July 2023 Cowes-Fastnet Rock-Cherbourg-en-Cotentin © Kurt Arrigio/Rolex

Following the success of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and its French partners are delighted to announce the date for the next edition of its flagship event in 2023.

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Rolex Fastnet Race to Cherbourg proves a resounding success

The upwind start into lumpy seas that challenged so many of the fleet in the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex The upwind start into lumpy seas that challenged so many of the fleet in the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

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.

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Le Loup Rouge of Cmn arrives safely in harbour

With the finish of the final competitor, Le Loup Rouge of Cmn, it is the conclusion of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race © Matthieu Honore With the finish of the final competitor, Le Loup Rouge of Cmn, it is the conclusion of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race © Matthieu Honore

The Rolex Fastnet Race has officially come to an end. Le Loup Rouge of Cmn, the last competitor to finish, arrived in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin last night after 8 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 28 seconds of racing.

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Relive the race

The race was covered in detail and you can catch up online with the footage, photos and social media © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com The race was covered in detail and you can catch up online with the footage, photos and social media © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

As the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race draws to a close, you can catch up on the event in several ways online

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Who’s in the chocolates tonight?

Katrina Westphal, sailing Carkeek 47 Stortebeker, is awarded the Maite de Arambalza Trophy for best yacht with a female skipper ©  Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com Katrina Westphal, sailing Carkeek 47 Stortebeker, is awarded the Maite de Arambalza Trophy for best yacht with a female skipper © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

This evening is the prize-giving for the 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, taking place in the race village on the waterfront at Cherbourg’s Port Chantereyne.

As overall winner of the race, Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise is going to need a bigger cabinet to store the trophies which include the Foxhound Cup for victory in IRC Two as well as the coveted Fastnet Challenge Cup for winning the Rolex Fastnet Race outright. A new prize, the David Seth Smith Trophy is also for Sunrise as the best Performance 40. The Alf Loomis Trophy goes to the navigator of the best yacht overall, although as co-navigators Suzy Peters and Tom Cheney will have to argue over who gets to take that one home. With two years until the next edition of the race, at least Tom and Suzy can keep it for a year each.

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Figaro winner changes after Irish team is penalised

AD Fichou - Innovéo Bihannic was sailed by Yael Poupon and Victor Le Pape © Carlo Borlenghi/ROLEX AD Fichou - Innovéo Bihannic was sailed by Yael Poupon and Victor Le Pape © Carlo Borlenghi/ROLEX

This year the Rolex Fastnet Race featured on the Classe Figaro calendar. Unfortunately the proximity of it to the mid-August start of La Solitaire du Figaro, the class’ premier event and the effective World Championship of solo offshore racing, meant that just five Figaros took part. Victory went to a rookie pairing.

Built by Beneteau and designed by VPLP, the 32ft Figaro 3 is an early generation foiler monohull that replaced the Figaro 2 in 2019. But to give some idea of its exceptional performance, the boat has an IRC TCC of around 1.115 - around the same as a Corby 38 or Ker 39.

Sadly the big 35 knot upwind, wind against tide conditions at the start put two Figaro 3s out of action. British favourites, the mixed duo of Cat Hunt and former Artemis Offshore Academy student Hugh Brayshaw aboard Ross Farrow’s Stormwave 2.0 retired after their D2 broke. Meanwhile sail damage on Eric & Denis Delamare’s Hope forced them to limp into Cherbourg.

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Timeless Classics bound for the finish

Paul Moxon & Steve Jones raced Amokura doublehanded to finish on Saturday morning @ Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com Paul Moxon & Steve Jones raced Amokura doublehanded to finish on Saturday morning @ Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com

As of dawn on the sixth day, 20 boats were still at sea, racing towards the finish in Cherbourg.

Unfinished business

For the Paul Moxon and Steve Jones, the doublehanded team on Amokura, this race is a fascinating chapter to a story dating back to 1939, when Amokura was built in Moody’s Yard up the Hamble River in Hampshire, UK. The 50ft Fredrick Shepherd yawl competed in the 1959 Fastnet Race and in the 2019 edition, but completed neither. For the 2021 edition, Amokura crossed the finish line at 10:54, finally finishing the race she was built for 82 years ago.

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Applecart upturned in Rolex Fastnet Race’s small boat division

Overall honours in IRC Four were claimed by Alain Guelennoc’s X-332 Trading-advices.com © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com Overall honours in IRC Four were claimed by Alain Guelennoc’s X-332 Trading-advices.com © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

With nine JPK 10.10s in action in IRC Four, the smart money was on a fifth in a row win for the highly successful model from Jean-Pierre Kelbert’s boatyard. However, this year’s IRC Four podium did not contain a single JPK 10.10. A ridge rolled over the fleet south of the Scilly Isles on Wednesday night forcing a race restart and, partly as a result of this, the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race podium is filled with boats of 20 years old or more, and raced by passionate amateur sailors from France and Ireland. Overall honours were claimed by Alain Guelennoc’s X-332 Trading-advices.com.

The early part of the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race was dominated by JPK 10.10s. Ludovic Menahes and David le Goff on the former’s Raphael, competing in their first Rolex Fastnet Race (after the Cap Martinique transatlantic race was cancelled), slowly ground out a lead doing a better job of playing tides along the Cornish coast. She passed up the west side of the Traffic Separation Scheme off Land’s End and remained ahead on the Celtic Sea Cross. At the Fastnet Rock Raphael was ahead on the water and held a lead of 52 minutes under corrected time from Emmanuel & Etienne Pinteaux’s JPK 10.10 Gioia.

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Sunrise wins the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race

Sunrise, JPK 11.80 of Britain's Tom Kneen has been crowned overall winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com Sunrise, JPK 11.80 of Britain's Tom Kneen has been crowned overall winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Tom Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise has been crowned overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. After being confirmed as runaway winner of the IRC Two division yesterday, no other boat still racing on the 695 nautical mile course can catch the British boat for overall honours in this, the 49th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s offshore classic. Kneen is the first British winner of the race since Charles Dunstone and his maxi Nokia Enigma in 2003.

Reunited this morning with his two-year old son Sam, Kneen couldn’t hide the emotion of winning a race that has come to mean so much to him:

“I’ve had 24 hours to reflect on the race after we finished yesterday, and it really is all about the people, the amazing team that sailed with me, and my incredible partner Francesca who has done so much to make this happen.”

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Victory for Loison as IRC Three and Two-Handed goes to the wire

Victory in IRC Two-Handed & IRC Three for Alexis Loison's JPK 1030 Léon, racing with Guillaume Pirouelle © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com Victory in IRC Two-Handed & IRC Three for Alexis Loison's JPK 1030 Léon, racing with Guillaume Pirouelle © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

One of the most intense battles, both on the water and under IRC corrected time, in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race played out in IRC Three. Here the scratch boat was unquestionably the JPK 1030 Léon, skippered by the defending IRC Three and Two-Handed champion and former overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race, Alexis Loison, racing yet again doublehanded, but this time with Guillaume Pirouelle.

Interesting was the diversity of crew make-ups: Fully crewed, doublehanded or mixed doublehanded, it seemed to make no difference to the competitiveness of the top boats. While the lead doublehanders in IRC Four were occasionally in the mix, it was mainly the doublehanded crews in IRC Three that held the top places in the IRC Two-Handed ranking.

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