Please select your home edition
Edition
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

49th Rolex Fastnet Race - one year to go

by James Boyd / RORC 6 Aug 05:09 PDT 8 August 2021
Always a spectacular sight as hundreds of yachts of all sizes head out of the Solent after the start in Cowes, UK © Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

In one year's time a new era will begin for the world's largest offshore yacht race. On 8 August 2021, the Rolex Fastnet Race will set sail from Cowes bound for the Fastnet Rock as usual, but then, once the boats have rounded Bishop Rock, they will, for the first time in the race's 96 year history, point their bows towards Cherbourg, the new finish for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's premier event.

Announced last November, the change in finish venue to Cherbourg comes thanks to the joint co-operation of the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Communauté d'agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche?and Région Normandie with the event's organiser, the RORC.

The Rolex Fastnet Race's giant fleet will face no berthing shortage when they reach Cherbourg where they will be moored in Port Chantereyne and the Bassin du Commerce.

Well used to hosting large sailing and other sports events, the historic naval port at the top of the Cotentin Peninsula, will provide shoreside spectacle and razzamatazz on an unprecedented scale for Rolex Fastnet Race finishers. Most unexpected for competitors from outside of France will be the degree of interest taken in yacht racing by the local community.

Thanks to events such as the Vendée Globe and the Route du Rhum professional sailing is a top tier sport in France and its top players, many of whom will be competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race, are household names. In addition to its long history and its massive fleet, one of the attractions of the race, that draws competitors from across the globe, is the opportunity for not just the general offshore racing community, but also Corinthian family, friends and sailing school entries to be on the same start line as legends of our sport.

Among the stars will again be Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. The massive 32m long 23m wide flying trimaran is one of the world's fastest offshore race boats and famously in the last race overtook Francois Gabart's MACIF on the last gybe to win by less than a minute.

"It was a similar difference between Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE in the race before," recalls Caudrelier, who went on to skipper the Chinese VO65 to victory in the subsequent Volvo Ocean Race. "I love the race because I think the south coast of England and the north coast of Brittany are most complicated to manage which makes them the best places for racing. I really enjoy the passage between Cowes and the Lizard playing the sea breeze and the current. The Rolex Fastnet Race is a mix between a coastal race and an offshore in the Irish Sea - it is very interesting."

Caudrelier is naturally pleased that the next edition will end in Cherbourg. He has raced in and out of there many times, most recently in the Drheam Cup which Maxi Edmond de Rothschild won. "It is a good place for racing - very tricky with a lot of current. Each time I've visited it was a nice place with great parties and people - I have a lot of good memories."

It remains unconfirmed if 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner David and Peter Askew's VO70 Wizard will return to defend their title, however their sailing master, Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright will be back, this time as skipper of 11th Hour Racing Team aboard his new generation IMOCA 60, that will be competing in The Ocean Race in 2022-23.

Enright is a fan of the Rolex Fastnet Race: "It is certainly one of the more complex races as from a course perspective it has so many different features and you never know what it is going to throw at you. Also you can count on the competition year in year out - that makes it hard to win, so when you do it does feel good."

Currently based in Concarneau, Enright appreciates what a difference the Cherbourg finish will make. "In France, they like their boating and the finish should be more spectacular I imagine."

With the finish in Cherbourg, more French entries are anticipated but the majority are still likely to be from the UK. Last year David Collins was the top British finisher under IRC, his Botin IRC 52 Tala's time correcting out to third overall behind Wizard and Nicolas Groleau's Mach 45 Bretagne Telecom. Having come so close in 2019 and after not racing this season, Collins says the Rolex Fastnet Race will be Tala's main event in 2021, in what will be a UK-only season.

CEO of the RORC, Eddie Warden Owen adds: "The coronavirus pandemic has left us already looking towards 2021 and a racing season - the highlight of which will be the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race.

"The last three editions have seen record-breaking fleets attracting enthusiastic amateurs, seasoned offshore racers as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world, all captivated by the challenge of racing to the Fastnet Rock, battling the strong currents and headlands off the south coast of England, followed by the open ocean in the Celtic Sea, while enduring the changeable weather en route.

"For the 2021 and 2023 races the finish will be in Cherbourg and we are excited at working with our colleagues in France where offshore racing is a national sport and where competitors can expect a wonderful welcome and warm hospitality."

For further information, please go to the race website: rolexfastnetrace.com

Related Articles

Walking the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race course
The new course is 90 miles longer, making it 695 miles, based on the shortest route Moving to Cherbourg for the finish of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's premier event, the Rolex Fastnet Race next year will see navigators and crews facing a few significant new challenges. Posted on 16 Sep
Rolex Fastnet Race to run with Virtual Regatta
The first part of the RORC's premier offshore event remains the same Potential competitors, armchair sailors and gamer enthusiasts from all over the world will have the opportunity to try their hand at competing on the new course for the Rolex Fastnet Race, in the online game created by Virtual Regatta. Posted on 27 Jul
Rolex Fastnet Race to finish in Cherbourg
We speak to Eddie Warden Owen Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com, caught up with RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen to find out more about Cherbourg becoming the finish destination of the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2021 and 2023. Posted on 26 Nov 2019
Rolex Fastnet Race 2020 will finish in Cherbourg
Major change for preeminent offshore race The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, announced at a press conference today that the City of Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the 2021 and 2023 editions of the biennial race. Posted on 26 Nov 2019
2019 Rolex Fastnet Race finish by Nic Douglass
All of the Fastnet adventures For the first time in my life I am now in Cowes for Cowes Week after the finishes of the Rolex Fastnet Race in Plymouth, and according to those much more "experienced" than myself, this is definitely an anomaly. Posted on 10 Aug 2019
2019 Rolex Fastnet Race overall
Burnishing the legend The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of sailing's ultimate challenges: a racecourse that has achieved mythic status, a turning mark that is a true icon in sport and a near 100-years of history and tradition. Posted on 9 Aug 2019
US Rolex Fastnet Race winner
Breaking the French winning streak An American VO70 has continued its phenomenal winning streak to claim the Fastnet Challenge Cup, the overall prize for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 7 Aug 2019
2019 Rolex Fastnet Race day 5
Léon surfs to victory in IRC Three One hundred and seventy one teams in the Rolex Fastnet Race were taking part in IRC Three and IRC Four, close to half of the record-breaking fleet. For these smaller/slower boats endurance is key as they spend four days or more days at sea. Posted on 7 Aug 2019
2019 Rolex Fastnet Race day 4
Tough, inspiring and recognizable As the 48th Rolex Fastnet Race moves through its fourth day, the flood of arrivals continues. The window of opportunity for those pursuing overall victory is narrowing and, after four days, crews still at sea are beginning to tire. Posted on 6 Aug 2019
2019 Rolex Fastnet Race day 3
Monohull fleet begins to arrive in Plymouth For the second consecutive race, George David and the crew of the 27-metre (88-foot) Maxi yacht Rambler have secured the Line Honours trophy in the Rolex Fastnet Race, missing out on the race record by one hour, 16 minutes. Posted on 6 Aug 2019
C-Tech 2020 C-Tech 728x90 BOTTOMVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTER