With the entry limit of 300 filled within 24 hours, more than 100 boats on the waiting list and entries from multihulls, IMOCA 60s and Class 40s still coming in, demand for places in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race have been greater than ever.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) increases number of entries to satisfy demand
To answer this unprecedented demand the RORC has decided to increase the number of places available for IRC rated boats by an extra 40 places, to 340. The addition of multihulls, IMOCAs, Class 40s and Mini Transats could easily bring the total fleet to 380 boats and to cope with this the club has decided to move the event to Plymouth Yacht Haven which has the capacity to supply the extra berthing that is needed.
'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 should give us the capacity we need to berth a fleet of this size and provide the facilities expected by over 3000 sailors' says RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.
Plymouth Yacht Haven has capacity for 450 berths, is accessible at all tides and has comprehensive facilities to satisfy the requirements of the competitors, organisers and sponsors. It will host the Rolex Fastnet Race Village where spectators can mingle with sailing superstars and enjoy live music and a variety of activities.
In 2011 the RORC committee removed the 'pro sailed boats' such as Volvo 70s, IMOCAs and Class 40s from the 300 entries to release nearly 30 places for IRC rated boats on the waiting list who are the only boats eligible to win the main trophy, the Fastnet Challenge Cup
Commenting on the increase in fleet size RORC Commodore Mike Greville says: 'The 300 limit has its origins in the inquiry following the 1979 race, but advancements in all aspects of the sport including yacht design, boatbuilding, and navigation equipment have dramatically improved its safety. The race also has a qualification process to ensure that the crew have sufficient experience in the boat they are racing before they are accepted as an entry. Following the unprecedented level of interest in this year's event we have moved to reconsider the limit but, before making any decision, we had to work out what was deliverable and this required us to move the event to Plymouth Yacht Haven.'
Starting from Cowes, Isle of Wight on 11th August, yachts will arrive in Plymouth between 13th and 17th August at the end of what can be a very challenging offshore race.
Rolex Fastnet Race website