In It To Win It – IRC Diversity in Rolex Fastnet Race
Published on August 1st, 2013
August 1, 2013
By Louay Habib
With less than two weeks to go before the start, the Rolex Fastnet Race will see over 300 yachts racing using the Spinlock IRC rating rule. For 29 years IRC (formerly known as CHS) has been used for a huge number of races and regattas all over the world. In 2012 nearly 7000 boats from 30 countries on all 6 continents held IRC certificates, issued by either RORC or UNCL, joint owners of the Rule.
Not only is this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race likely to claim its first record as the largest blue-ribbon offshore race in the history of the sport, but also to attract the most diverse fleet of yachts to race anywhere in the world. Over 170 different designs will be racing using the IRC rating rule. Whilst a high performance racing yacht will undoubtedly be the first yacht to cross the finish line, every IRC rated boat has a chance of winning the Fastnet Challenge Trophy. This will be the 45th edition of the race, and 37 different yachts have won the trophy since Jolie Brise won the inaugural event in 1925.
Jeremy Robinson will be in the afterguard of Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72, “Rán 2”, the current holder of the Rolex Challenge Trophy. Jeremy is one of only a handful of yachtsmen to have been part of winning teams for both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart, both scored using IRC ratings.
“The size of the fleet and the variety of boats means that this is a tough race to come out on top,” commented Jeremy. “You have to try and win your class by sailing the boat to its optimum and then hope that the conditions are going to suit your boat. In ocean racing, the Fastnet Challenge Trophy is undoubtedly a major prize and probably one of the hardest to win.”
The Rolex Fastnet fleet is split into six different IRC classes, the largest of which is IRC Four with 82 yachts from eight different countries, typifying the diversity of yachts that makes the Rolex Fastnet Race so special.