Faster than a Rolling Stones concert
Published on January 7th, 2019
London, UK (January 7, 2019) – Once again the Rolex Fastnet Race has confirmed itself to be by far the world’s largest offshore yacht race. After the entry for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2019 event was opened today at 1200 UTC, the 340 available places for boats in the IRC fleet were all taken within just four minutes and 37 seconds. This was just 13 seconds outside the record time recorded in 2017.
After the first two minutes 180 boats had already entered the biennial 605 mile race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland. After the first frenetic four minutes and 37 seconds when the maximum entry limit was reached, subsequent requests were filtered through to the reserve list. Ultimately after the deluge subsided 440 boats had entered in total.
Yachts from 25 countries are due to take part this year: The bulk of these are from the UK, from where 201 boats were registered, followed by the dominant French (winners of the last three editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race) with 81 and the Netherlands with 33.
The entry includes a strong contingent of 16 boats from the USA, many making the passage across to the UK in the Transatlantic Race 2019. Entries from further afield have been received from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, Hong Kong and Korea among others.
“Before 1200 we had about 500 people who were all on stand-by, logged into their accounts, which was a good indicator about how busy it was going to be,” noted RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. “Then we went straight to 340 and on to 440, including the waiting list.”
This strong entry shows that the change of date has made little impression on the desire to do the Rolex Fastnet Race: The start date was moved to Saturday, August 3 and for the first time it will be setting off before Lendy Cowes Week (rather than on the traditional Sunday immediately after it).
But despite entry, there remains the qualification process that will take place over the course of the 2019 season, with teams required to gain adequate miles and experience in order to meet the Rolex Fastnet Race’s stringent entry requirements. Competing yachts must complete more than 300 race miles with at least 50% of their Rolex Fastnet Race crew on board.
“I never thought it would so easy to have 400 boats appear on your desk in one day… I have never experienced anything like this,” concludes Stone.