Rolex Fastnet Race 2017

Thursday, 03 August 2017




• Sunday 6th August 2017 is the start of the historic Rolex Fastnet Race - the world’s biggest offshore race

• Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) based in London and Cowes, Isle of Wight, England

• 47th edition of the biennial race

• The non-stop race course is 605 nautical miles (1,120.46km)

• A record fleet is expected with close to 400 boats and 4,000+ crews participating

• This classic race is a great sporting event and is the largest offshore race on the planet

• The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts: from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between

• The first warning signal is at 10.50 BST from the Royal Yacht Squadron. The start sequence of begins at 1100 and will last 1hour 40 minutes finishing at 1240. First off are the multihulls followed at 1110 by IMOCA 6 and Class40s, 1120, IRC 4, 1140, IRC 3, 1200 IRC 2, 1220 IRC1, 1240 IRC Zero & VO65. For the IRC Classes there will be 20 minutes between each start

• The testing course passes several famous landmarks on the south coast of England. Initially heading westward down The Solent, the fleet exit into the English Channel at Hurst Castle and return to the finish in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland

• Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements as crews manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course

• Rolex SA has sponsored the race since 2001

• Truly international: Over 29 countries from five continents will be represented by boats and crews in the race

• Places on the entry list are highly sought after: In 2013, the first 300 places were filled in less than 24 hours, in 2015 it only took 24 minutes but in 2017, 340 places were filled in an incredible; o 4 minutes and 24 seconds!

• Europe’s oldest offshore race & one of sailing’s greatest contests and a sporting institution

• The race is legendary within the world of ocean racing and is on most sailors and adventurers ‘to do list’

• The symbol of this 605-nautical mile race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race

Rolex/Kurt Arrigo


! 2!


• The event was one of the earliest true tests of offshore sailing

• First run in 1925 and held once every two years since the 1930s (apart from war times)

• 7 boats raced in the first edition in 1925 and Jolie Brise, a gaff-rigged pilot cutter, was the first winner

• Jolie Brise competed in 2013 in celebration of her 100th year, finishing in 124 hours, almost a day faster than it took her in 1925. She is still the only boat to have won the Fastnet Challenge Cup three times

• The race has performed a paramount role in the growth and evolution of the sport throughout its history

• In 2015 the length restriction on yachts over 100ft was relaxed to permit superyachts also participating in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series

• In 2017, the RORC Committee agreed that the rule should continue to be relaxed so superyachts are able to enter the race

• In 2011 the Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi, skippered by British yachtsman and double Olympic medallist Ian Walker set a new monohull race record of 42 hours 39 minutes (1 day 18hrs 39mins), proving that the bar is still capable of being moved

• The multihull race record was set in 2011 by French trimaran, Banque Populaire V (now raced as Spindrift 2), skipperedby Loick Peyron with a total elapsed time of 32hrs, 48min and an average speed of 18.5 knots


• Making up the record fleet will be up to 340 boats in IRC plus around 60 Non-IRC rated ‘professional’ classes

• IRC is a handicap system administered by the RORC Rating Office that accounts for the size and speed of each boat to achieve a truly democratic result. This means the overall winner can spring from any IRC class and be any size, i.e. Jean-Yves Chateau’s 33ft/10m, Iromiguy from France, won in 2005

• The sponsored, glamorous ‘pro’ classes with ‘rock star’ sailors on board attract the limelight and offer a real spectacle:(IMOCA 60s, Class 40s, MOD 70s, etc)

• The race attracts both fully professional and amateur sailors

• Corinthian competitors are drawn to the legendary status of the event, some sailing for the first time and embarking on a personal adventure

• The race gives the opportunity for Corinthian sailors to compete in the same race as their sailing legends. Something that is not possible in most other sports

• It is also a ‘must do’ event for regular seasoned RORC sailors who race throughout the year with the club

• Huge diversity of boats, all competing in one race: Some of the world's fastest multihulls and maxi yachts will line up with Contessa 32s and Sigma 38s, with the complete range of racing yachts in between

Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Rolex/Daniel Forster


! 3!


• Largest yachts: (IRC):o Nikata (GBR): Judel/Vrolijk custom designed Baltic

115: 35m (115ft), skippered by: Matt Hardy and no stranger to long offshore races, having won class at the 2016 RORC Caribbean 600 and finishing 2nd in class at the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race!o CQS (AUS): Simonis Voogd custom design, 29.80m (90ft), owned by Ludde Ingvall, the Finnish off shore sailor and previous Fastnet Race winner (1995 with Nicorette). CQS competed at the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, finishing 7th overall.

o Rambler 88 (USA): George David’s custom maxi, 27.04m (88ft). Highly competitive entry, having taken line honours at the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race.

• Largest yacht (Non-IRC):

o Concise 10 (GBR): Tony Lawson’s MOD 70 trimaran, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield.

• Smallest yacht: (IRC Rated):

o Silver Shamrock (GBR): Half Tonner owned by Stuart Greenfield (9.10m, 29.85ft)

o May Contain Nuts (GBR): Whitbread 30 (9.5m): owned by Kevin Rolfe

• Smallest yacht: (Non-IRC):

(Non-IRC): Acapella (FRA): Trimaran Acapella, Charlie Capelle (11.32m, 37ft)


International fleet: yachts are representing 27 different countries, from 5 continents:

216 x GBR, 50 x FRA, 28 x NED and 20 x GER

• Largest class: 84 yachts in IRC Three

• By design: Some popular designs with a large number of entries include: Class40 x 34, J/109 x 17, First 40 x 14, Sigma 38 x 11

• 3 x IMOCA 60s including:

o Alex Thomson’s Vendee Globe 2016 runner up, Hugo Boss (GBR)

o Yoann Richomme’s Karakoram (FRA)

o Jean Pierre Dick on board Stmichel-Virbac (FRA) RACE TO THE ROCK: FAST FACTS

• This is the 47th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race

• The first race in 1925 saw 7 boats taking part

• 605 nautical miles non-stop – Cowes, round Fastnet Rock, Plymouth

• A new record fleet up to 400 yachts

• 29 nations represented

• Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)

• Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)

• Biggest boat is 115ft/35m Nikata

• Smallest boat in IRC is 37ft is Silver Shamrock (GBR): Half Tonner owned by Stuart Greenfield (11.32m, 37ft) and in Non-

IRC: 29ft (9.10m) Acapella (FRA): Trimaran Acapella, Charlie Capelle

• 84 boats racing in IRC Three, the largest class

RORC/Tim Wright




Latest press releases, race news, images, video, tracking and the virtual race can all be found on the dedicated race minisite:


Follow all the action via RORC social media:-


Twitter: or @rorcracing

Instagram: or @rorcracing

YouTube -

Official Race Hashtag - #rolexfastnetrace


Watch the Rolex Fastnet Race online with the fleet tracker. YB Trackers are fitted to every yacht so you can see each boat’s position along the course. View by class or select your favourites to follow friends and family, check out their boat speed and weather conditions in real time, read the social media feed and see how the live leaderboard is developing at:


Set up to engage race fans with regular updates, Fastnet Radio will be broadcasting on the Cowes Radio frequency 87.7FMon start day, Sunday 6th August and simulcast with Fastnet Radio station operation in Plymouth on 87.9FM. All the coverage will be available for download replays, as well as a podcast of the skippers briefing (Sat 5th August). Fastnet Radio is streamed on , and also on

START – LIVE STREAMING: Sunday 6th August

Fastnet TV will match the radio commentary from Fastnet Radio and will cover the entire start sequence live. It will be streamed online from the official websites:, and on RORC Facebook Live.

Fastnet Radio will also broadcast in Plymouth starting on the Sunday with all the live start commentaries with coveragecontinuing unabated through live links to competing yachts, interviews, position updates, arrivals, celebrations, stories and highlights throughout until the prize giving in Plymouth on the evening of 11th August.


Armchair enthusiasts can negotiate the 605nmile course from the comfort of their living room by playing the Virtual Regatta Fastnet Game. In 2013 the race attracted over 15,000 virtual entries and the winner completed the course in an impressive 3 days, 11 hours and 17 minutes. Be warned, this game gets addictive! Full details will be on the race minisite closer to the start:


Online Media Accreditation is now open:

Or email:


RORC Race Team, The Disrespect, 82 High Street, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AJ

E: T: +44 (0) 1983 295 144


RORC Press Officer, Trish Jenkins – Rolex Fastnet Race

M: +44 (0) 7880 518 689, T: +44 (0)1983 292576 (office), E: or, Skype: Trish Jenkins,

Press Office Co-ordinators:

Cowes & Plymouth: Lizzy Foster - Mb: +44 (0) 7753 342 079, E:, Cowes: Karren May – Mb: +44 (0)7989 353382

Plymouth: Marina Johnson – Mb: +44 (0) 7774 623539

RORC Media team:

James Boyd (Race Reporter)

Steve Ancsell (Fastnet Radio & TV)

Myles Warden Owen (RORC Social Media/YouTube)


Giles Pearman


T: +41 32 545 31 20

M: +41 79 763 37 34


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 August 2017 )