New course for Rolex Fastnet Race
Published on November 26th, 2019
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, will be changing the finish location for the 2021 and 2023 editions from Plymouth, UK to Cherbourg, France. The move encourages and secures the future development of the race as it permits more participation; in 2019 the race had a waiting list of 150 boats.
With the start still in Cowes, UK, and the turning mark of Fastnet Rock remaining a fixture, the final leg across the English Channel will lengthen the course from 603nm to 695nm.
Since seven boats competed in the first race in 1925, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has continued to push the boundaries of participation in offshore racing. The 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race had 388 yachts on the start line from 27 different nations.
Considered one of the great events in the sport, and already the world’s largest offshore yacht race, the 49th edition in 2021 is certain to further that mark.
The Club’s aim is to foster greater participation and improve access to the race. The enhanced facilities with increased berthing and improved shoreside facilities in Cherbourg will give the opportunity for more boats and sailors to take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race in future years.
“The race has grown steadily over the past two decades and more and more people want to take part,” said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. “We have had to limit entries in recent years because of berthing constraints, but Cherbourg will be able to take a larger number of entries and give more sailors the opportunity to compete in this very special race.”
RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen see this change as an exciting chapter in the history of the Fastnet Race. “The founding fathers who competed in the very first race in 1925 will be proud that the race has survived all these years and seen unprecedented growth,” notes Owen.
“The French are known for their passion for offshore racing and French sailors regularly compete in and have won the Rolex Fastnet Race. This is exciting times for the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Rolex Fastnet Race as we continue to evolve and expand for the benefit of our members and offshore racing sailors worldwide.”
For yachts returning to Cowes after the finish, the route back from Cherbourg is 70nm, as opposed to 120nm from Plymouth.