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High demand for limited supply

Published on January 12th, 2021

Here are two events which enjoyed a rush for entries:

• The Three Bridge Fiasco annually attracts 300+ singlehanded and doublehanded teams for a 21.67 nm course on San Francisco Bay defined by the Golden Gate, Richmond, and Bay Bridges. But with COVID-19 restrictions in Northern California, the 2021 edition had to adjust.

To stay in compliance with the Regional Stay-At-Home Order, race organizer had to change the 2021 Three Bridge Fiasco on January 30 to Singlehanded-ONLY and would not have a Doublehanded division.

The decision was reached by taking into consideration the risks for the needed additional race committee personnel as well as issues with having boats race with mixed households onboard.

Additionally, there would be a limitation of 125 entries, and when entries opened January 10, the door closed nearly as quickly when the quota was met.

• Registration opened on January 12 for this summer’s Rolex Fastnet Race and speedily sold out. Within an hour an unprecedented 400 boats had entered the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s flagship event, which this year will follow a route finishing for the first time in France.

“It seems that everyone is looking forward positively to a future of sailing without COVID-19 hanging over their heads as once again we have a ‘sell-out’ Rolex Fastnet Race,” said RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen. “Add to this the non-IRC fleets like the IMOCA and Class40, plus the usual mixture of multihulls makes the tally around 500 boats… It is very exciting for our sport.”

Within three minutes more than 200 entries had signed on before the system became overloaded. Once it had sorted itself out, the tally was up to 370 within thirty minutes for the 49th edition of which starts August 8.

First run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) with just 7 boats in 1925, a record-sized fleet of 362 boats started the 2017 race, 12 more than 2015. The 2019 race raised the record to 388 starters.

The finish was moved from Plymouth, UK to Cherbourg, France to better accommodate the growing demand for the biennial race. 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.

The entry count was presently at 25 nations, the majority coming from the UK with large turn-outs also from France and the Netherlands, both with entry numbers substantially increased compared to 2019. Entries from further afield included four from Russia, two from Japan and Australia, from one both China and New Zealand.

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