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Rolex Fastnet Race to set new records

by Trish Jenkins on 5 Jul 2013
Dockside in Plymouth after the finish of the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
The Rolex Fastnet Race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Plymouth is gearing up to welcome thousands of sailors from all corners of the globe in the celebrated Rolex Fastnet Race. Now in its 45th year, the biennial race, which started in 1925, features on every seasoned sailor's 'must do' list as well as newcomers seeking a tough personal challenge. Drawn by the history and sporting lure of Europe's oldest and greatest offshore contest, it is legendary within the world of ocean racing.

The 2013 race has already set new records before it's even started: up to 380 boats from over 20 countries, from as far afield as Australia, Russia, America and Lithuania, will converge on the historic maritime City of Plymouth for the finish of the 608 nautical mile race which sets off from Cowes, Isle of Wight on Sunday 11th August.

The race which sees the mammoth fleet round the iconic Fastnet Rock before heading to the finish, showcases the most diverse range of yachts imaginable; from 30ft to 130ft and attracts aspiring sailors to professional crews who race all over the world. Accommodating the largest ever Fastnet fleet and around 3,500 competitors has been made possible by the move to Mount Batten's Plymouth Yacht Haven.

Laura Whinney, Marina Manager at Plymouth Yacht Haven says: 'We are very excited that the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race will be hosted at Mount Batten. The race finishers are set to arrive between August 12th and 16th and will be provided with berthing at Plymouth Yacht Haven and other local marinas.'

'Plymouth Yacht Haven, Mount Batten has the capacity to supply the extra berthing that is needed in this record breaking year. With so much demand, we had to find a solution and moving the event to Plymouth Yacht Haven and working with Queen Anne's Battery, Sutton Harbour and Mayflower marinas will give us the capacity we need to berth a fleet of this size and provide the facilities expected by the sailors,' says Royal Ocean Racing Club's CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.

Also new for 2013 will be the Acoustic Circus in the Race Village, providing top entertainment each afternoon from Tuesday 13th through to Friday 16th August and luckily for those competing, the finish of the race coincides with the British Fireworks Championships, so it is set to be a spectacular week for both visitors, locals and the yachtsmen alike.

As well as attracting some of the fastest, largest and record-breaking boats on the planet, this rite of passage also draws its fair share of Corinthian crews, first timers and as always, a plethora of local South West sailors to compete in the world's best-known offshore historic race.

It's unfinished business after the 2011 race for Plymouth-based J/133, Apollo 7 owned by Nigel Passmore who will compete in IRC 2, one of the largest classes with over 80 boats. Also representing the South West: Terry Williams' Westerly Storm 33, Harmattan (Plymouth) and from Croyde, James Hardiman's Fluke, a SunFast 3200. From Cornwall, Damien and Christine Bloor's First 36.7, Daring (Falmouth); David Pugh-Jones' First 40.7, First Challenger; Julian Ward's Dufour 455, Fleet II (Torpoint) and two Saltash entries: James Moore's Contessa 32, Katisha and Musk Ox, Neville Devonport's X 362.

22-year old Henry Bomby from Kingswear, Dartmouth has recently completed the gruelling 1,938 mile single-handed race in his 33ft Figaro2, Rockfish with the support of local celebrity chef, author and restaurateur Mitch Tonks, celebrating the newly opened fish restaurant at Sutton Harbour. Henry and several other young graduates from the Artemis Offshore Academy: Sam Goodchild (Falmouth), Robin Elsey (Truro) and Sam Matson (Ottery St Mary) will also be on the start line.


Farr 52, Team Endeavour, supported by Toe in the Water will include a group of wounded and injured military personnel, jointly funded by the Team Army Sports Foundation and the Endeavour Fund, an initiative created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The crew will include three Yeovilton-based Royal Naval crew as well as able-bodied Hugh Reynolds serving as a helicopter pilot based at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall.

Plymouth-based, Pantaenius Insurance have been sponsoring the Pantaenius Buoy for nine editions of the Race. Although the Fastnet Rock marks an evocative turning point for the boats, once past, they then round the only mark on the course - The Pantaenius Buoy. This is laid as a Special Mark Buoy on behalf of the RORC to mark the western turning point of the course by The Commissioners of Irish Lights.


The Race Village based at Plymouth Yacht Haven will be open to all and offers a great place to soak up the atmosphere. With daily prizegivings, everyone can help celebrate with a glass of Lanson Champagne, a coffee and pastry at the café or by checking out the latest news, photos from the fleet and video on the big screens or enjoy the live commentary broadcasting daily from the Race Village on the special event radio - Fastnet Radio 87.7FM.

Check out the race boats and walk the docks as the Rolex Fastnet Race pontoons will be open to the Public on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th August from 1000 until 1700. There will also be water taxis to The Barbican running 24hrs a day on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Competitors will receive a discount on standard fares.
Roger Styles.

From 3-7pm each day, a line-up of some of the best acoustic/singer song-writing talent from the South West region will feature on the small acoustic stage at the Race Village, Plymouth Yacht Haven, Mount Batten. The line-up includes:

Tuesday 13 August
Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Adam Isaac made it to the quarter finals of The Voice with the legendary Tom Jones as coach and he has had over 10 years of experience and built a strong South West following in his earlier years.

After moving to the UK a few years ago and playing in France, London, New York and LA, Celine Dos Santos has made a life in the South West's thriving music scene. With her guitar and her smokey vocal style, which sometimes has a French accent twist, she plays a mix of acoustic pop/rock originals and well-known covers.

Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th August
Richard James is a singer/song writer from Devon UK. Richard's Soulful/Acoustic/Pop style is infectious with his songs staying with you days after you first hear them.

Morwenna Swan is just 18 years old but is a most talented young singer songwriter who has already performed a number of very credible gigs including, the Milton Keynes Stables, the Exeter Phoenix, Bicton College, Gloucester Town Hall and the London Acoustic Guitar Show at Olympia.

Uno has performed and recorded with a number of highly credible musicians and artists from such bands as Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Black Label Society, Gary Moore Band and The Pretenders. His solo set is a body of original material that reflects influences both classic and contemporary.

Cole Stacy is one of the West Country's hardest working young acoustic performers. A multi-instrumentalist and composer, Cole's live set includes a mix of his own modern folk influenced album material and some well-chosen classic covers thrown in for good measure.

Roger Styles: Open a slippery jar of rhythmic dirtiness and mix it with a yard of astounding guitar skill, add a stroke of silky voice with an occasional rough-cut growl and you have the awesome talent of Roger Styles, an original singer-songwriter hailing from the South West.

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