Jilted Plymouth offers affordable option

Published on January 17th, 2023

In November 2019, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organizers of the infamous Rolex Fastnet Race, announced how the finish location for the 2021 and 2023 editions would be leaving its historic home of Plymouth, UK.

While the premise of the move to Cherbourg, France was to permit more participation, the change did not sit well with traditionalists.

With the start still in Cowes, UK, and the turning mark of Fastnet Rock remaining a fixture, the final leg across the English Channel lengthened the course from 603nm to 695nm. The town of Plymouth wasn’t too happy either.

Perhaps to retaliate against the RORC, the Royal Western Yacht Club (Plymouth, UK) initiated their own race, the Plymouth Fastnet 500, and held its inaugural race in conflict with the 2021 Fastnet Race.

“The ‘500’ was a big hit for all those who took part,” exclaimed RWYC Commodore Chris Arscott. “It is not only a privilege to offer the ‘500’ race but it is really exciting to see the race developing into a ‘must do’ on the calendar.”

Starting and finishing in Plymouth, the course includes the iconic Fastnet Rock… just like the Fastnet Race.

“The attraction of this race is clear, no logistics in getting kit from the start to the finish, no need for passports, less time off work, and much cheaper berthing than the Solent,” noted RWYC Rear Commodore Oceanic and Race Director Adrian Gray. “Yet it has all the thrills and key features of the ‘Fastnet Race’ or indeed the ‘Original Lonely Rock Race’ which will see its 100th year in 2025.

“We have some great entries who are potentially up for the record, we cannot wait to see which local, national and international entries join them in what will no doubt be a permanent fixture for those who love their offshore racing but prefer a southwest price tag.

“We have an incredible arena for the start and the finish. Ask anyone, there is something really special about Plymouth Sound and what we have to offer, that’s why yachts keep coming back time after time.”

Held biennially and on the same year as the RORC event, the Plymouth Fastnet 500 starts August 13 for yachts of 27 to 70 feet in length, mono and multihull. Classes will be offered to Solo, 2 handed and fully crewed. IRC, IMOCA, and MOCRA Handicaps along with non-rated boats.

Details: https://rwyc.org/plymouth-fastnet-500-race/

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