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Caro wins Fastnet, yacht sinks and four dismasted in treacherous race

Heather Prentice

  • Heather Prentice
  • July 24, 2023

It was a fast and furious start to the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race with four dismastings and one yacht sinking in the winds of 40 knots

rolex fastnet yacht race

The 52ft Swiss entry Caro, skippered by Max Klink wins the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race

Caro , a Botin 52 owned and skippered by Max Klink, is the overall winner of the 50th Rolex Fastnet in a punishing race that saw one yacht sink and four yachts dismasted in gale-force winds, with close to 90 yachts pulling out in the first 24 hours.

Four-metre waves, and gale-force winds gusting up to 43 knots hit the fleet shortly after the start from Cowes on Saturday as a record 443 yachts headed off on the famous 695-mile yacht race round the Fastnet Rock off the south coast of Ireland and across the Celtic Sea to Cherbourg, France.

HM Coastguard reported that they had responded to 28 incidents involving yachts participating in the Fastnet Race in the first few hours, with a search and rescue helicopter and RNLI crews from Yarmouth, Poole, Swanage and Weymouth responding to multiple incidents.

rolex fastnet yacht race

The winning maxi trimaran SVR Lazartigue from France was the first yacht to round the Fastnet rock Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The most serious incident was the sinking of the Sunfast 3600 Vari in the western Solent. Only 20 minutes elapsed between the crew of Vari raising the alarm that they were taking on water and the yacht sinking. The two French crew were recovered from their life raft by an RNLI lifeboat at Yarmouth and taken ashore to hospital. They are both safe and well and now back in France.

Golden Globe Race skipper Tabio Lehtinen was dismasted on his Swan 55 Galiana , which is due to compete in the Ocean Globe Race, a retro edition of the historic Whitbread race, in September. Sun Fast 3200 Mirabelle was also dismasted as was Royal Naval Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Yoyo and Sun Fast 2600 Diablo

Oida ran around off Beaulieu after the anchor dragged and CF520 Oystercatcher XXXV suffered deck failure. There were several MOB/EPIRB distress alerts as devices got covered by water, proving to be false alarms.

The winner Caro also did not escape unscathed. ‘The first 12 hours we were just in survival mode, trying not to break anything, trying to keep the boat at 100 percent,’ said the Swiss owner. ‘I wasn’t thinking about any title or trophy, it was just about getting through the conditions.’

‘At one point we just had everyone in the cockpit, no one was hiking. And keeping the boat speed to no more than six knots and trying to just get through this really bad sea state.’

rolex fastnet yacht race

Strong wind against the tide led to heavy conditions early in the Fastnet Race Photo: Rolex/kurt Arrigo

Caro also sailed largely without instruments after damage to the top of the mast. Tactician Adrian Stead, twice a winner of the Fastnet, added: ‘We lost the wand off the top of the mast in the Portland tidal race and we lost all our wind instruments, so we were running blind.’

‘We pretty much straight lined it all the way (back from the Scilly Isles) and we realised we had a very good shot at winning IRC Zero so pulled out all the stops, got out some extra chocolate bars and had everyone hiking hard on the rail for the last few hours into the finish.’

Caro completed the course in 2 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes, two hours ahead of nearest rival Team Jajo on corrected time, although this may change as there ere are several yachts yet to complete the race. 

Multihull line honours went to SVR Lazartigue under skipper François Gabart with a new record of 1 day, 8 hours, 38 minutes, beating the exiting multihull record by 30 minutes and reaching the finish line an hour before rival Banque Populaire under skipper Armel le Cléac’h. 

rolex fastnet yacht race

The American yacht Warrior Won rounds the Fastnet Rock at dawn during the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race. Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The new IMOCA 60 Macif , skippered by Charlie Dalin, was the first monohull home, taking line honours in an incredibly close race between the giant IMOCAs. 

Macif beat Paprec Arkea , skippered by Yoann Richomme by only four minutes and Sam Goodchild, the skipper of For The Planet was only 13 minutes behind them. 

Macif set a new monohull course record of 2 days, 7 hours and 16 minutes, shaving over an hour from the time set by Skorpios , a ClubSwan 125, in 2021 when the race first sailed this new course.

RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole said the committee had considered postponing the race but that there was another low pressure system developing to the west of Ireland and in a seven-day race for some yachts it is difficult to avoid bad weather. 

‘The feeling was that, although it’s better not to have bad weather at all, if you have to have it, better along the English coast where there are places to shelter than, in the Celtic Sea,’ he told Yachting Monthly.  

‘Undoubtedly the forecast would have put some people off, but our rules are flexible enough to allow people to take shelter and then resume racing later. A lot of people did that and good for them for taking the right decision at the time,’ Cole added.

‘We put the races on and hopefully people are well prepared and well informed and the ones that get through it are the ones that deserve to finish.’ 

Yarmouth RNLI Coxswain, Howard Lester said: ‘This weekend’s Fastnet race was the busiest one for Yarmouth lifeboat, responding to six incidents in some very challenging conditions in the western Solent and beyond.

‘We were very fortunate that all our call outs were to crews with means of calling for help and were equipped with either lifejackets or had life rafts accessible onboard.’

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Rolex Fastnet 2023 Race Report

Lloyd's Yacht Club September 7, 2023 Fastnet 2023

A Tale of Salt and Light – by Stephen Hill

The 50 th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Race attracted the largest fleet to start than ever before by a considerable margin with over 450 yachts taking part. Getting to the start line is not a given. Each crew must earn the right to take part in the race by having sailed at least 350nm together in qualifying race conditions and ensured the requisite offshore safety training has been completed by crew members. For the crew on Lutine this consisted of various training weekends, offshore training lectures plus in water life raft simulations, RORC Cherbourg Race, RORC Cervantes Race and RORC Myth of Malham Race in the months prior to the Fastnet Race. These were not without challenge and with hindsight invaluable given the voyage we were about to embark on.

The Crew James Close – Skipper

   
Tom BaileyWatch LeaderTim BlackstoneWatch Leader
George BaileyTrimmerRichard LaverForedeck
Christopher BaileyNavigatorNoreen BoyhanTrimmer
James Brady-BanzeForedeckJulienne KerrPit
Marta MichalskaForedeckTom SeamanForedeck
Richard TrevethickMainsheetStephen HillMainsheet

Note: Nigel Ford was regrettably unable to compete having tested positive with the dreaded COVID in the days prior to and including race day. A massive disappointment for all. He would be sorely missed. Day 1  Saturday 22 nd July 2023 Crew mustered the day before to prepare Lutine for the voyage. All essentials taken off, victuals put on board and sails plus rigging in order. Lutine’s hull cleaned below the water line and race-ready. So here we are, race day. Heart in mouth time. This has been a long while coming and everyone is excited and nervous in equal measure. At 09:00hrs we assembled for breakfast at the Creek Restaurant in Haslar Marina. The crew learned that Nigel Ford was not able to join us which was a real blow but a reality we had to deal with. It was our final chance to get a debrief on what lay ahead in terms of weather and navigation. The chart below shows three fronts chasing each other barrelling in off the Atlantic so we knew conditions were going to be very challenging with wind over tide at The Needles out of the Solent that afternoon not to mention the rest of the race. The mood was pragmatic. We had prepared and we had a plan.

rolex fastnet yacht race

Forecast Chart Sat 22 JUL 2023 12:00 UTC 11:00hrs we cast off and made our way out into the Solent. The storm sails were hoisted to pass through the Safety Check Gate with all-hands on deck wearing life jackets. Two reefs in the main and the storm jib up for the race start. Headed out toward the start line. An incredible armada of yachts jostling around accompanied by ribs and other small motor craft. Helicopters buzzing the fleet from above. All action but not too messy given stiff conditions. 13:35 warning gun. 13:45 BOOM! We’re off and in safe position back from the melee of other yachts vying for position. We headed west wanting to take the north channel. Conditions deteriorated fast with 35 knots plus wind and severe chop. Other vessels took emergency tacks blocking our intended manoeuvres. Tacking was proving extremely challenging given the standing walls of water off Hurst Castle and Skipper James Close took the initiative and we sought refuge. This was a good decision given crew were literally being thrown around the deck and luckily nobody overboard. Lutine’s boom even took a wetting as we heeled over, it being so challenging to generate enough power to take the tack fully round. Some bruised bodies and vexed minds but nothing too serious. Adrenaline high and emotions running sore. We had all had a real taste of salt by now and had thankfully preserved ourselves but at this stage postponed going further in the race until conditions subsided a bit. From here we had to look for a safe line of passage through traffic back towards Yarmouth. Not easy. Eventually we took a mooring outside Yarmouth to decompress and collect ourselves. A range of emotions on board. Some bitterly disappointed being under the impression the race was over, others simply glad to be alive while a few intelligent souls, especially Christopher Bailey, kept their composure and reached for the race rule book. On further inspection it became clear we had not fallen foul of race rules by withdrawing to our mooring and therefore had the opportunity to continue once RORC had been informed properly. Despite the challenges of the day, we collected ourselves, decided to rest in Yarmouth until that ruinous storm had passed and then rejoin the race. At the time this seemed very much off plan but during our qualifying races it had been discussed on more than one occasion as to what we would do in an adverse weather scenario and what manifested is exactly what we had agreed should happen. Back on plan. Dinner: beef bourguignon. Oh how good was that? The radio cackled full of distress calls and the lifeboats were very busy. We all felt concern for those in trouble. Some encouragement was taken from others mooring up nearby. We were not alone in choice of plan. A chance to rest and sleep while the storm outside raged through the night. It was horrendous! Day 2  Sunday 23 rd July 2023 Wake at 04:30hrs and set off at 05:00hrs having put away the storm jib. Sleep was disturbed by some youths playing dance music through the night on another vessel close by. Conditions less severe but still needing respect. Head out of the Solent due west. Plenty of other yachts in the distance. News came through that over one hundred others had retired, one boat had sunk, four had broken masts and various others in trouble with broken safety equipment, torn sails and such like. We however were intact and on track to catch up with the rest of the competition taking shelter at anchor further along the coast fully vindicating the prior day’s actions. 08:00 Breakfast – sausage baps. Well received. Watch system on. Good progress made and caught up with remaining field of yachts who had taken shelter outside the Solent.  1 crew member seasick. Rest of crew seem to be ok.   25 knots and strong sea state through the day. Plenty of water over the bow. This is what we came for. Watch system working well and into rhythm as per previous races.  Dinner: Ciabatta Pizzas. Evening heading into Lyme Bay. Some tacking to north and south to get through tidal gates. Sailing 45 to the wind.  On through the night with winds still stiff.  Day 3  Monday 24 th July 2023 08:00 Ham and cheese croissants for breakfast.  Lutine’s bow into the waves. Anyone on watch not on point is up on the guard rail. A very soggy start to the day. One more crew member very seasick but stoically pulls through. Winds ease off through the day.  Lunch: Cornish Pasties off Cornwall. How apt! We pass Portland Bill, Exeter lights, Eddystone light house, then Lizard Point. Finally Lands End and Scilly Isles later in the day. Good hard progress. Dinner 19:00: Chicken and mushroom pasta pots.  Strong northerly wind into Irish Sea. Starboard tack. Long rolling high waves. We’re really offshore now and into the night achieving 7 to 8 knots perhaps even 10 at times. Wind and tide on side. By this time, we are all getting tired but remain cheerful and the watch system is working properly. Some concern over Skipper James Close who has a cough and needs rest. Navigation going well. Lutine’s poltergeist turned up at 02:30hrs while Christopher Bailey sat at the chart table. The third draw down for no explicable reason flew out and slammed into the galley pot cupboard. Christopher took it in his stride and was observed diligently replacing it to its position which took some time and several attempts all without one single expletive! Day 4  Tuesday 25 th July Early morning wind drops. Becalmed for several hours which was frustrating. At this stage we are 100 miles from the Fastnet Lighthouse. We used the time wisely. A chance to clean up, check the deck and make repairs. Spinnaker lines rigged up. The outhaul had snapped at the end of the boom so James Close set about making repairs. On it went confined to no wind and strong sunshine with the occasional dolphin to cheer us up. Early evening wind starts to trickle in. Code zero sail goes up. We’re back in business. Slowly at first but after a while enough wind to make good progress.  Dinner: Bailey’s famous hearty Ginger Vegetable Curry. Warming stuff!  Sundown through gentle clouds into the west a treat for the eyes as light shines through in beams to the sea.  Late evening – a shout, “Land ahoy!”. We’re off the Irish coast. Tantalisingly close. Darkness falls. Other yachts congregate in our vicinity all hunting position for the rock. Some good sport as darkness falls and wind picks up a little. The immediate approach to Fastnet Lighthouse needs attention given TSS exclusion zones. Careful navigation and adherence to bearings taken. A beacon of light pulsing in the distance.  Code zero furled away and jib unfurled.  A soft shower of rain gently tumbles. The light pulses on a four second chime from Fastnet Rock Lighthouse with long beams striding out into the mist.  00:10 hrs Careful helming taken through the gap. The lighthouse and Fastnet rock standing tall against the dark night sky. Lutine has circumnavigated! A moment to celebrate and commit to memory for all the crew. 

rolex fastnet yacht race

26/07/2023 00:10 hrs BST Fastnet Lighthouse Halfway. More race to do! Time to tack southwest then southeast to avoid the second TSS exclusion zone. As we distance ourselves from Fastnet we look back at a genuinely incredible view of Fastnet Lighthouse doing its job: a beacon, a signal, a warning light – important information for any vessel approaching.  Wind up, sea state good, Lutine in her element cruising at 8 knots in good conditions. The fleet of yachts soon disperses. We’re on our own into the night and into the rain. Through the night with no stars, no other yachts around, no ships nor any reference point on the horizon. Just instruments to guide us into the abyss. Day 5  Wednesday 26 th July 2023 Wind building through the night across the Celtic Sea from 11 knots at 02:00hrs to 23 knots by 09:00. Visibility about 1 nm with rain and drizzle the order of the day. Some sport with Flycatcher and Boracic too whose crew tried to kite in those conditions to chase us but ultimately had to take precautions and put it away. Wind continued to build and gust to 35 knots by 17:00. Dinner at 19:00 James Brady’s Ratatouille and Chorizo with Tortillas. Waves building too and this was tricky for those on helm having to essentially surf Lutine on and over towering waves as they swept past. More sport to be had with Challenger 3 and CV3 both in our class. The sea state as we sailed by the Isles of Scilly was particularly challenging with truly enormous waves which Tom Bailey had to tackle on helm reaching 34 knot boat speed surfing one of them according to the log. Top wind speed recorded was 37 knots during this stage. For the record the author was blissfully fast asleep in “The Bear Pit” otherwise known as the port side aft cabin when this occurred! Yes, we were all exhausted by now but the sea, wind and rain are relentless and besides there was a race to finish. No choice. Keep at it. Day 6  Thursday 27 th July 2023 Relentless wind and heavy swell. More rain. Respect for the smaller craft stuck out in the Celtic Sea with a force 7 storm over them. Richard Laver on helm through dawn. Now about 100nm from the finish line at Cherbourg. The swell still needed attention with waves chasing us but as the morning went on the seat state improved and we were able to attack rather than defend. Just north of the Casquet Rocks we had Alacrity, Challenger 4 and Von Bremen behind us and ahead were Albatros, Casamayas and Jago with 29nm to go at 14:00 hrs. We gave chase and James Close took over from Tom Bailey on helm at 15:00. The rain turned to drizzle. Land visible starboard side. The final push. All hands-on deck. Richard Trevethick still diligently guarding the main sheet. Others on the rail as detailed in a race. 16:00 hrs on the nose Lutine crossed the finish line having sailed a total of 857 nautical miles in 5 days, 2 hours, 15 minutes and 41 seconds. That achieved 168 th in Line Honours Monohull, 179 th in IRC Overall and 23 rd in our class IRC Zero.

rolex fastnet yacht race

 27/07/2023 16:00hrs BST We moored up in Cherbourg, raised the sponsors’ battle flags – Knight Frank, Aon and Ark then headed to the race village. As you can imagine Thursday evening was a time to celebrate and decompress a little. Reality bites though and imperatives don’t go away so with the crew splitting up, Lutine set sail again that night to be brought back to Haslar Marina, Gosport arriving in to dock at 08:00 Friday 28 th July 2023. The above is a basic outline of how the race went. There were some brilliant moments which will come out in the fullness of time through conversation at Club gatherings and I look forward to regaling some stories. Special mention should go to Tom Seaman for making sure we were well fed for the race as he planned that well and made the extra effort to make it happen. If I had to pick someone from the crew who I thought pushed themselves to a new level, then Richard Laver stands out for me with his diligence on deck and efforts on helm. Having the Bailey clan on board was a great dynamic to the crew. George Bailey at only 15 years of age really has done something special here. As I sit here on the beach at Cahadaniel on the west coast of Ireland looking out to Bull Rock across a calm sea with the sun setting in the west after one month since we raced, I am still finding it hard to digest. On a personal level I wanted to be part of a team and learn the basics of offshore racing. To that end I feel I have come away having been very lucky to associate with a remarkable group of people and have been truly baptised into the sailing world. You learn a lot and perhaps the biggest lesson is that to compete effectively and safely in offshore sailing it is very much a way of life not just a token thing. I’m in! As a crew we made every effort to preserve our energy, Lutine and our course through the race like salty sailors should do. I also like to think we kept our heads level in challenging conditions using the light from prior sailing knowledge and information to hand – thank heavens for instruments and GPS! There was of course the occasional mishap, but we learned from these and kept our composure which is a great accolade to Skipper James Close and the two watch leaders Tom Bailey and Tim Blackstone. That race has made its mark on me, and I feel very lucky to have had the chance in life to take part.

Lloyd's Yacht Club

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Rolex Fastnet Race features record fleet

  • July 19, 2023

The Rolex Fastnet Race features its largest entry list to date, with close to 500 boats seeking to sail 695nm from Cowes to Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock in the 50th edition of the offshore classic.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Cowes hosts the race start on July 22

Starting in Cowes on the Isle of Wight off England’s south coast, the 50th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race features a record entry list, with over 490 boats signed up. Setting off on July 22 in eight starts separated by 20-minute intervals, the fleet is set to smash the previous record set in 2019 when the biennial race featured 388 yachts and was the last edition to finish in Plymouth.

This year’s race will again feature a 695nm course heading west to round the Fastnet Rock – Ireland’s most southernmost point – before turning back and heading to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in northern France, which hosted the finale for the first time in 2021 when 363 yachts competed.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

The 695nm race will finish in Cherbourg for a second edition

First held in 1925, the Rolex Fastnet Race – the flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) – has by far the biggest fleet among all the world’s classic offshore races and this year is expected to feature over 3,000 sailors from over 30 countries including Japan.

Entries includes the world’s fastest offshore racing yachts, the giant flying Ultime trimarans, as well as about 30 IMOCAs as used in the Vendée Globe and the present Ocean Race, along with privately owned racing machines including Bryon Ehrhart’s 88ft Lucky and Peter Morton’s Maxi 72 Notorious .

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Yachts exit The Solent and pass The Needles

French teams again make up the majority of the IMOCA 60 class, which also features leading competitors from the UK and across Europe, while Japan’s Kojiro Shiraishi will compete on DMG Mori Global One , launched in 2019.

Shiraishi sailed the VPLP design to 10th place in the 2020 Vendée Arctique before finishing 16th in the 2020-21 Vendée Globe after sailing solo around the world for almost 95 days. Now 56, the Japanese is competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time and will sail with French sailor Thierry Duprey du Vorsent.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Kojiro Shiraishi will make his Rolex Fastnet Race debut

“This is my first participation in the race and it’s an honour to be part of it. It will be a great test for myself and to see the new performance of the boat,” said Shiraishi, who said the boat’s modifications over the winter included a new bow and foils.

“It’s such a mythical race with such a rich history, while the 50 th edition makes it more special. I’m looking forward to the start with many boats around, so I hope to start well. It will be an honour for us

to sail past the RORC clubhouse.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Shiraishi will compete on DMG Mori Global One

“I’ve rounded the Fastnet once, but it was nighttime and I could only see the light of the lighthouse, so I’m hoping to see the Fastnet Rock in daylight!”

Meanwhile, teenager Zoë d’Ornano – daughter of Malaysia-born Lay Koon Tan – is again competing with her parents on one of the Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) boats. Two years ago, Zoë, then 12, was the youngest sailor in the race and raised £10,550 to give 12 disadvantaged young people a life changing voyage with TSYT.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Tall Ships Youth Trust has entered three 72ft boats

This year, the youth development sail training charity has entered three of its 72ft Challenger yachts, with Zoë sailing with her parents on one of two boats crewed by adults, who are fundraising to enable a crew of young people aged 16-25 to sail on the third yacht.

“We’ve met the youngsters who’ve been selected and they come from challenging backgrounds,” said Zoë’s mother, Lay Koon Tan.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

The IRC fleet competing for the race’s historic top prize, the Fastnet Challenge Cup, features about 370 yachts, making it one of the biggest races ever held under IRC in the 23-year existence of the RORC/UNCL’s rating rule.

For this special edition, entries are coming from across the globe, but few are making a greater effort than Paddy Broughton and his crew on the 73ft maxi yawl Kialoa II . Originally raced by the great maxi yacht campaigner Jim Kilroy from 1963-74, Kialoa II was second home in the 1969 Fastnet Race.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Launched in 1963, Kialoa II has sailed from Sydney to compete

Since 2016 the yacht has been owned by English brothers Paddy and Keith Broughton who have sought to recreate Kilroy’s globe-trotting race programme. She competed in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, while in 2019 she competed in the 50th Transpac and 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

After competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart last December, Kialoa II has since been delivered from Sydney, all the way across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal and Caribbean, then across the Atlantic to the UK on her own bottom, a Kilroy tradition.

Rolex Fastnet Race, record fleet, Cowes, Cherbourg, Fastnet Rock, 50th, 500, yachts, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, July 22, Royal Ocean Racing Club, RORC, Ultime trimarans, Vendée Globe, Ocean Race, Bryon Ehrhart, Lucky, Peter Morton, Maxi 72, Notorious, Japan, Kojiro Shiraishi, DMG Mori Global One, IMOCA 60, Zoë d’Ornano, Lay Koon Tan, Tall Ships Youth Trust, TSYT, Challenger, Paddy Broughton, Kialoa II, Jim Kilroy, Sydney, Rolex Sydney Hobart

Yachts pass the Fastnet Rock in Ireland

“The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the great ocean races, along with our own Rolex Sydney Hobart,” says Paddy Broughton, now also of Australian nationality.

“Tactically, because of the tides and course, it’s probably the most difficult – a real challenge. We really wanted her to be part of RORC’s 50 th Rolex Fastnet Race celebrations and have sailed from Sydney to do so.”

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Rolex Fastnet Race: How it all began

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How to follow the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

Toby Heppell

  • Toby Heppell
  • July 6, 2023

The Fastnet Race 2023 - an history 50th edition - sets off on Saturday 22 July with a record sized fleet. Here's everything you need to know to follow the race onshore and online

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The Fastnet Race 2023 will be the 50th edition of the event and is set to be the largest offshore yacht race in the world, with over 440 entries. The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most famous ocean yacht races in the world, and completing it widely regarded as one of sailing’s crowning achievements.

Begun as a challenge between a handful of competing yachts in 1925, the Fastnet Race is run every two years by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). The 605 nautical mile course traditionally ran from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, west to the Fastnet Rock lighthouse off the south-west corner of Ireland before returning to finish off Plymouth.

The race is well know as a challenge just to complete and the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster remains at the forefront of the minds of many of those who compete. The disaster led to huge improvements in yacht and safety gear design, and the race now has stringent entry requirements. However, the actual race course remained largely unchanged until 2021 when the finish line moved to Cherbourg, France instead of Plymouth in 2021 and 2023. This new course added a further 90 miles to the race – much of it a tricky tidal section – making it an even bigger challenge

When is the Fastnet Race 2023?

The 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Saturday 22 July with the first start at 1300 BST.

For those wishing to follow the action from the start, there will be a livestream shown on the various RORC channels.

The show will feature expert commentary from a team including British racers Mike Golding, Annie Lush and Pete Cumming, and French meteorologist Christian Dumard, on the Royal Yacht Squadron Platform for the start, along with on-the-water commentators.

Live coverage of the start beings at 1230 with the first class start is at 1300 BST.

Due to the strong wind forecast organisers RORC have reversed the start sequence, with the largest IRC yachts starting first instead of last so they can have a clear exit from the Solent. This means the starting sequence is slightly shorter, with 15 minutes between each class.

The first warning signal for the multihull fleet (including the two giant Ultimes) is at 1250 to start at 1300, the IMOCA 60s starting 15 minutes later, and so on in decreasing yacht size until the IRC 4 class start at 1445.

rolex fastnet yacht race

Windy start to the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race. Photo: Martin Allen/pwpictures.com

Watch the Rolex Fastnet Race start

Race website: https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en RORC YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/rorcracing RORC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub

Where to watch the Fastnet Race 2023

The best vantage points of the start will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade. As the fleet funnels west out of the Solent there will be lots of chances to see the yachts from Yarmouth as well. From the mainland you can view the yachts on their outbound leg; the best places to watch are from Hurst Castle, Anvil Point, St Alban’s Head and Portland Bill.

Track the Rolex Fastnet Race Fleet

All yachts competing in the Fastnet Race are fitted with a YB Tracker so you can follow an individual boat, a class or the whole fleet. The race tracker is linked to via the official race site  https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com  or direct at https://cf.yb.tl/fastnet2023

The tracker lets you watch the full fleet, separate classes or follow individual yachts.

Yachting World will also bring you all the latest news and views in the build up to the race and will be reporting throughout at our dedicated Fastnet Race homepage . We will also have several of the team on the ground and will be reporting both online and via video on our Yachting World Youtube channel and on Facebook and Instagram .

A list of competitors can be found at the RORC website .

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LIVE - Follow the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race

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Once the multihulls have set off at 11:10 (BST), the 13 IMOCA boats will enter the race at 11:25 (BST), on the same line as the 34 Class40 monohulls.

More than 350 boats in total will set off from Cowes (Isle of Wight) on this 49th edition of the most legendary of British sailing events. From the largest yachts, such as the brand new Swan 125 Skorpios (Juan K design), to the smallest family yachts, the Rolex Fastnet Race is a grand dame that is as popular as ever; and despite a complicated sanitary context, 2,300 sailors are today setting out to conquer the Fastnet Rock.

Six months after the Vendée Globe, the IMOCA skippers who did not race in The Ocean Race Europe in June are back in the competition today. Only the duo of Justine Mettraux and Simon Fisher (11th Hour Racing) are at the start of these two early season races and have the most miles together this year.

Other favourites include 2019 winners Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt (Charal), but also the combination of two formidable Figaro sailors on board ARKEA PAPREC: Sébastien Simon and Yann Eliès. Sébastien was forced to retire two years ago with Vincent Riou. The red and blue monohull had just come out of the yard and had experienced some technical problems.

Another tandem to watch is APIVIA with Charlie Dalin (2nd in the Vendée Globe) and Paul Meilhat (winner of the Route du Rhum and also the Fastnet as skipper of SMA). There is no doubt that with their skills and a dense training programme over the last few months, these two are aiming for victory.

Yannick Bestaven, the winner of the Vendée Globe is also making his return to the water with Maître CoQ IV, a boat of an older generation but one that his skipper knows perfectly. This is also the case for his team-mate, Roland Jourdain, who has already shared the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre on board with Yannick. Romain Attanasio and Sébastien Marsset's Fortinet-Best Western and Samantha Davies and Nicolas Lunven's Initiatives-Cœur are from the same generation and also have a few trump cards to play.

And of course, don't forget the return of HUGO BOSS. The British sailor Alex Thomson, at the helm of a boat with unique lines, will be keen to write a new page after his retirement from the Vendée Globe in the South Atlantic after a thunderous start to the race.

But sailing is still sailing and the weather will be a central element in the story, with the end of the course taking the fleet for the first time to Cherbourg and its famous currents. With a zone of light, or even very light, winds forecast at the beginning of the week and high tides.... anything can happen.

WATCH THE STARTS ONLINE - LIVE

sThe 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Sunday 8th August, 2021 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, Cowes, UK.

The first warning signal is at 1100 (first start 1110) and the fleet is divided into seven groups, each starting at a different time and heading west down the Solent toward the Needles.

The live streamed Start Show, with commentary from on and off the water, begins at 1030 BST. Expert commentators: Pip Hare, Abby Ehler, Matt Sheahan, Louay Habib and Simon Vigar, will be talking us through all the action from the start of the world's biggest offshore yacht race, with analysis and interviews from competitors and organisers in build-up to the race.

Choose how you watch: Race website:  https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en RORC YouTube -  https://www.youtube.com/rorcracing RORC Facebook -  https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub/   NB: Websites and broadcasters interested in taking the live feed, please contact the RFR Press Officer – [email protected]   LATEST ENTRY LIST https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/follow/follow-the-race/entrylists    START TIMES 1110 Multihull, 1125 IMOCA 60, Class40, 1140 IRC 4, 1155 IRC 3, 1210 IRC 2, 1225 IRC 1, 1240 IRC Z

WHERE TO WATCH The best vantage points of the start will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade. As the fleet funnels west out of the Solent there will be lots of chances to see the yachts from Yarmouth as well. From the mainland you can view the yachts on their outbound leg; the best places to watch are from Hurst Castle, Anvil Point, St Alban’s Head and Portland Bill.

LISTEN Listen to the commentary of the race on 87.9FM or online at: https://www.coweslive.co.uk/ or through the speakers if you are sitting watching the spectacle from Princes Green or on The Parade in Cowes.

TRACK All yachts are fitted with a YB Tracker so you can follow an individual boat, a class or the whole fleet. The race tracker will be up on the official site closer to start day:  https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/

https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/competitors/race-documents/fleet-tracking

PLAY: VIRTUAL REGATTA

If you aren't on a boat in the race this year, then join thousands of armchair sailors from the comfort of your own home. The player will be on the race website: https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/follow and at:  https://www.virtualregatta.com/en/

Charlie Dalin: The podium in IMOCA is much harder to reach now

Charlie Dalin has particularly enjoyed his convincing win in the New York Vendée-Les Sables d’Olonne race. And that’s partly because he knows that even getting on the podium in the IMOCA Class is becoming more difficult.

“I’m Looking Forward To The Vendée Globe” - Boris Herrmann Achieves Back-To-Back Second Place Finish…

It has been a race full of emotions, decisions, and excitement: This Sunday afternoon, the Team Malizia skipper crossed the finish line of the New York Vendée in second place, achieving consecutive second place finishes …

Championship ranking

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Rolex Fastnet Race : The great adventure: When, if not now?

 ·  22.07.2021

Rolex Fastnet Race: The great adventure: When, if not now?

Lawyer Dirk Lahmann wants to sail in this year's Fastnet Race with his crew - without any in-depth offshore experience. The boat: The IOR 2-tonner "Snifix Dry", designed by Doug Peterson and built in aluminium at A&R in 1978. Lahmann and his wife took over the boat in 2011. In 2019, the project to race around the Fastnet Rock was born - not out of ambition for regatta silver, but because Lahmann and his crew felt that "this magnificent boat from the heyday of the Admiral's Cup and the IOR era simply deserves to round the legendary rock in regatta mode one day," says Lahmann.

But the preparation itself proved to be an immense challenge, especially due to the corona restrictions, and is a very worthwhile experience for all those who are also toying with the idea of taking part. And ambition is always one of those things. But read for yourself, Lahmann has written down his experiences in preparation here. He will report on the race itself in YACHT. By the way: The Fastnet Race starts on 8 August, the journey of the "Snifix" can be booked via the Race tracker be pursued.

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By Dirk Lahmann:

  Author Dirk Lahmann

There they are now on the salon table, six sealed envelopes with our tips for our ranking - at the Fastnet of all things! In this case, the participants are five men just over 60 and the author's brother Benjamin, who is 57, and we have no regatta experience. And our boat is only a little younger - but at least it has some regatta history. Of course, the first reactions were "now he's crazy" when we started this project in 2019, having never sailed in an ocean regatta before, but just for the Fastnet. And the answer to that was: Exactly, it's crazy, but that's why we're doing it! Crazy perhaps, but by no means naive or irresponsible. Whether it's a crazy plan or not, the nautical, technical and mental aspects are planned and prepared well in advance. And we're only doing it for the sake of the project, the myth of Fastnet Rock, without any ambition.

The Covid-19 effects are proving to be the most difficult (namely impossible) to manage for this "once-in-a-lifetime project". And so we have no idea how much luck we will have when we complete the obligatory World Sailing Offshore Training in Elsfleth on the second weekend in March 2020, because less than a week later, as we all know, Germany is in lockdown. Organising a seminar with several (!) people (!!) in one room (!!!) for several hours under these conditions and then splashing around together for several hours in a wave pool simulating the high seas, huddling together as shipwrecked people to form a "caterpillar", snorting and spitting water in the swell, as well as emitting unfiltered aerosols en masse in a confined space after successfully boarding the life raft - completely unthinkable for a long time after our course. We would have needed it for Rund Skagen 2020, which was intended as the first serious training session and qualification regatta. But as we all know, after repeated and painstaking attempts by the regatta organisers to somehow get the 2020 North Sea Week off the starting line, it had to be cancelled in frustration.

But we didn't want to be frustrated by this, so navigator Willie and I defiantly set off from Cuxhaven on Whit Monday 2020 in corona-approved double-handed mode for our very own 550 nautical mile round Skagen. You need to know that our "Snifix dry" is totally unsuitable for short-handed sailing: large, heavy, non-rollable headsails (top rig with "front drive"), separate steering cockpit, all winches (with the exception of the spinnaker winches, great, we need them the least with two of us) as well as all halyards and spreaders and the mainsheet out of reach of the helmsman.

Nevertheless, the trip was a great success and left us wanting more, the North Sea and Baltic Sea were reversed in the week after Whitsun 2020, the North Sea was peaceful, off Blavandshuk we even had to anchor for hours with the current against us in a calm to avoid being driven home, east of Jutland there was a lot to do - especially at night - with a lot of pressure in the air, showers and poor visibility, especially in the narrow passage west of Læsøs, and the wind shifted to the right - all from the front. Our arrival in Laboe after five and a half days therefore did not recommend us for the Cuxhaven-Kiel Blue Riband, but the experience we gained was considerable (next time we will certainly sail closer under the east coast of Langeland) and Willie and I were very exhausted and happy when we arrived.

In general: Willie, I need to say a few more words about him. Willie comes from Franconia, lives in the Taunus, and he's not actually a sailor - he's actually a glider pilot. Of course he can sail, he learnt back in the 80s in Brittany, but hasn't really practised much since then. We've known each other since we lived on the same floor of a nondescript apartment block near Würzburg for a year during our studies. And in 1992, Willie was part of the crew on my first Caribbean charter trip. Since then, however, his logbook has been full of blank pages. But he loves Brittany, England and the English, he prepares the best roasted porridge after the night watch, knows, finds and studies books and all other sources that nobody else comes across, in English and French, especially about everything to do with yachts and seafaring. He has never done anything like this before - but he was clearly the first choice as navigator for our project! His tablet has been running gribfiles for 18 months, which he painstakingly downloads from somewhere, and he created a "roadbook" for our Fastnet at the beginning of last year, which he has been constantly adding to and condensing ever since with everything he can find out about the course, the coasts, shallows, currents, races and overfalls.

But having Willie on board is also an expensive pleasure, because he has investment suggestions that no one else would come up with. He soon took offence at the rudder blade of our "Snifix dry": too short and blunt, it needs an extension with an optimised edge curve, says the aerodynamically experienced glider pilot.

The lengthening of the rudder blade

To understand this suggestion for improvement, you need to know our "Snifix dry" better. By the way: Explaining the dodgy name would go too far here, if you are interested you can read about it at www.snifixdry.com, but the site is still under construction. Back to the "Snifix": She is a very unusual yacht, built in 1978 by A&R in aluminium according to plans by Doug Peterson. The client and first owner, Fredi Heins, had a special task: As a man from Bremen, he wanted an IOR 2-tonner that was not only suitable for regattas, but also as a family boat with a variable draught for the mudflats of his home waters on the North Sea. This required compromises. So the boat was designed as a centreboard with a somewhat chunky wide fixed keel with a draught of 1.40 metres and a lead centreboard that has a draught of around 2.40 metres when sailing. With our home port of Bremerhaven, we wouldn't want to do without it, because the gain in cruising alternatives and the significantly larger time window for draught-critical passages before and after high tide are a great thing, and we can easily fall dry in soft ground. Following the Fastnet, we can also plan a fine trip along the historic Normandy coast with "Snifix dry", which would not be possible with 2.40 metres.

But you pay a certain price for this in terms of performance and especially for the rudder blade. At 1.40 metres, it is actually too short, but relatively wide, and simply cut off at the bottom behind the skeg. Not an option, says Willie. He researches which rudders and profiles Doug Peterson drew on comparable yachts at the time, and convinces me to dip into the till again and order a fine rudder extension of around 35 centimetres in the optimum NACA 0012 shape and with a fine edge curve from Kamlade in Bremerhaven, where "Snifix dry" has been well looked after for years, because we are known to be quite unambitious in our work. That's how it's done, from hard foam and GRP, and because the boat builders are currently at work, the aft edge of the entire rudder blade is also finely filled and smoothed at Willie's insistence, as the shipbuilders at A&R were not as sensitive as our Willie 43 years ago.

For category 2 regattas, the Offshore Special Regulations also require, among other things, a bright orange area of at least one square metre on the ship's belly so that the yacht can be seen more easily from the air if it is thrown onto its back. We don't let ourselves get carried away, and soon our entire fixed keel and the chic new rudder blade extension shine in this colour, which is completely in line with the design concept of our "Snifix dry" anyway: any colour is allowed as long as it is red or orange, right down to the tea towels and clothes pegs. Looks smart, our elegant lady in a combat suit - and yet we're keeping our fingers crossed that no one will see it except in a crane or when dry.

Our minimum draught is now 1.75 metres and our hard foam afterburner on the rudder blade is not designed to keep the yacht on it. I have therefore already mentally prepared to shred the beautiful hard foam extension during the post-Fastnet Normandy trip. To further improve our performance, the men's crew will meet in the hall on a weekend in March and smooth out the fresh underwater paint by hand. Frank Kamlade just rolls his eyes when he hears about it - all that lovely new antiflouling thinned out again.

"Snifix dry" takes it in its stride, as it is familiar with such gentlemen's adventures of going on long-distance offshore races without much crew experience. First owner Fredi Heins had already pulled off such a feat in 1981 and entered the Edinburgh Race with a random crew with no experience on board. At the time, a report on this trip appeared in YACHT 06/1981 under the title "Port is the better bow after all", as it turned out that the boat ran noticeably better on the left than on the right.

When it comes to preparing the boat, there are many more things to do, and I find myself in the practice so aptly described by Boris Herrmann with the bon mot "ocean racing is working through lists", because there are already quite a few of them even in our comparatively small project. Many things are just administrative work, others are expensive. For example, we now have a cosy, inflatable eight-man emergency accommodation under the helmsman's feet for a crew of six, the old six-man island did not meet the high seas requirements, and our own experience during safety training made it an easy decision not to get involved with a six-man sardine can for six adults - the manufacturer's specifications and approval criteria are very optimistic here and it is therefore better to take a size larger than is apparently sufficient according to the number of crew. New waistcoats with AIS transmitters, Epirb and similar useful things are added, finally a closer look is taken at the actual capacity of the automatic bilge pump (not enough ...), there is an emergency kit with hardcore tools for mast breakage and water ingress, and with medical advice also a great emergency first-aid kit including sewing kit for lacerations. We had already learnt how to mend chicken legs during the training courses in Elsfleth.

In addition to the obligatory additions to the equipment, there are the optional ones - and this is where things get really serious financially. If we're starting out with such an optimised underwater hull, we can't afford to have any problems on deck with our completely unambitious plans. So the author takes the appropriate opportunity at dinner with the best wife of all and co-owner to talk about the sails, like this: They were still in good shape, but they wouldn't last as long as we wanted to sail "Snifix dry" anyway, and it would be better to get new sails now rather than later, and preferably made of carbon laminate, so you know what you have, and - and this is the bait - they are also lighter. The best wife of all is surprisingly understanding - as she usually is in the context of her husband's ego trip - and takes the bait. After obtaining a few quotes, lots of advice, research and phone calls, we finally sit down at Jens Nickel's meeting table in Stade in February 2021 and order a smart carbon-fibre glued boat. With the addition of new cockpit instruments, an electronic logbook recorder, some running rigging from the Dyneema department and small parts of all kinds, it all adds up quite nicely. What luck that we are travelling without any ambition - that would be expensive!

  "Snifix" from the mast

While the nautical and technical preparations are progressing well and according to plan, and even the crew are working on their physical fitness on rowing machines, mountain bikes, horizontal bars or simply with push-ups, through no fault of their own, the training and regatta practice is still struggling: we are scratching our hooves, but the stable remains closed due to coronavirus. At the turn of the year 2020/21, optimism for the new year is generally spreading thanks to the start of vaccination, and the organisers of the North Sea Week announce that the Edinburgh Race will take place for the last time in 2021. We report immediately. But now the British mutation comes into play, the numbers shoot up again, in Germany the politicians make strange decisions in February and offer the prospect of a family-friendly "relaxed" Easter after the messed-up Christmas, while the British in Edinburgh are unsettled and cancel the race. The North Sea Week reacts and makes new plans: the HOT is launched, the Helgoland Offshore Triangle, a regatta in a large circle around Helgoland, around 400 nautical miles, especially as a qualification regatta for the Fastnet - we report immediately. But things turn out differently, the incidence values cannot be brought under control, the vaccination campaign is slow to get going, Easter is again a bust, political statements soon indicate that openings are not to be expected at Whitsun either, the organisers of the North Sea Week have to draw their conclusions from this, not least with regard to the necessary advance investments for the event, and also cancel the 2021 event. The fact that the manoeuvre training originally planned for Easter will also be impossible is the easiest thing to accept in view of the sad weather conditions at Easter.

A certain frustration is spreading. Of course, we know and are grateful that we have luxury problems that others would like to swap with in these long Covid months when we only have to cancel planned sailing dates, but things are getting tight for us now because we have not yet been able to sail our qualifying miles. In this respect, the regulations for the Fastnet stipulate that at least 50 per cent of the crew must have sailed at least 300 ocean racing miles together on the registered boat. We have not yet had this opportunity, and with the cancellation of the North Sea Week we are now at a loss on this point, as there are no suitable and reliable alternatives in good time.

However, we are not the only ones affected by the problem, and our friends at the organising RORC are showing fine British pragmatism and great flexibility in somehow reconciling corona and their great traditional regatta. For example, the recognition period for the aforementioned offshore safety training courses has been extended to seven years. Normally, they are due every five years - but no courses have been held in Europe since 2020. And instead of regatta miles, the RORC is also prepared to recognise suitable private trips as a qualification. The verdict of the "Snifix dry" crew on the alternatives I put to the vote of up-and-downs to Norway or Grimsby, a private new edition of Skagen Rund, or a 450-nautical-mile North Sea triangle, is overwhelmingly in favour of the latter, planned for the beginning of June. We are keeping our fingers crossed that such projects will be permitted again at least until then. After all, there are six of us from six households - this hasn't been possible for months.

And finally, in May, the tide turns. The incidence values fall, fall below the relevant threshold values, and restrictions are eased, especially for outdoor team sports. What we have in mind is sport, and outdoors, and our watch plan ensures, even requires, that there are never more than two of us together below deck. So we can finally set off, albeit only with a crew of four for work reasons, but that's enough.

We are lucky in another respect: the weather is also changing, and after a cold and rainy May, a sustained period of fine weather is on the horizon for the beginning of June.

Under these conditions, we set off on our qualification trip on Sunday, 30 May 2021, at high tide at around 17:00 in excellent conditions in Bremerhaven. It should take us down the Weser, then "round to the left" to the west to the height of Terschelling, there north around two gas production platforms, then northeast to Horns Rev and on to Blavandshuk on the Danish coast, following the "Slugen" between the wind farms there briefly to the east-southeast, and then straight south back to Bremerhaven, a total of around 450 nautical miles over ground.

This story is quickly told, it was a super trip, pure sunshine as announced, only the temperatures on the North Sea were still shady, while it was rumoured that midsummer had already arrived on land. Overall less wind than expected, but from a favourable direction, roughly north-east. We have a lazy time, can sail practically everything with the formidable new G2, and the expected cross to Terschelling is also omitted, instead we have a nice spinnaker reach from Wangerooge to the south of the Borkum Riff wind farm, where we then have to tack further and the spinnaker fun ends. The homerun on a southerly course then becomes really fast, because "Snifix dry" shows what she's made of under G2 in half-winds of 5-6 Beaufort, even on starboard tack, because even after 40 years the left cheek is still her favourite for some unknown reason. The measurement revealed that her hull was "unusually symmetrical". I don't know, sorry: Albatros, where the differences come from - in the end, despite all the science, sailing is obviously still magic - even beautiful.

We reach Bremerhaven again early in the morning on Thursday, 03.06.21, at around 02:00, the last few miles under motor because we arrived at Red Sand at the most unfavourable time imaginable at high tide and so have the rest of the way ahead of us against the ebb current as the wind drops. However, our 300 nautical mile qualifying barrier had already been broken shortly after Slugen and we had to return home, not least for professional reasons.

Nevertheless, it remains exciting until the end. We fear that our fastnet has not yet been saved, because while it seemed at the beginning of the year that the UK would become the destination of choice in 2021 due to the rapid progress of vaccination there, where all corona restrictions were most likely to fall, the picture is reversing again - the UK is once again becoming a problem case due to the "Indian mutation" and is now a "mutation risk area" from a continental European perspective. The English entry restrictions remain in force, and worse still, the regulations for travellers returning from the UK are being tightened with long quarantines. This is also a blow to the RORC, as it is not possible to sail from Cowes to France with a 450-boat fleet under these conditions. But the organisers remain steadfastly on the ball. They have set up a second regatta office in Cherbourg, at least for the non-UK participants, and are offering to move the boats there before the race, take delivery there and brief the crews. Then, on the day before the start of the Fastnet, a presumably very large armada is to sail the 75 nautical miles across the Channel to Cowes without mooring there. Consequence: no entry to the UK and therefore no entry from the UK when returning to Cherbourg. So it will practically be a flying start to the regatta course. They are working on a quarantine camp solution in Cherbourg for the UK participants. We are keeping our fingers crossed that all the necessary officials are on board!

"Snifix dry" and crew are now prepared, since 11 July she has been transferred to Cherbourg, again in pairs. We have no idea whether our tips in the sealed envelopes have any relation to reality, as we have not been able to measure ourselves against others, neither in terms of our sailing skills nor in terms of the chances that our measurement gives us. But it doesn't matter, because - I don't know if I've already mentioned this - we are travelling to the Fastnet without any ambition, just for fun.

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ROLEX FASTNET RACE 2021

  • Competitors
  • Before The Race

Distances and Course

Fastnet race documents.

rolex fastnet yacht race

Starting from The Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, yachts will race on a course of approx 695 nautical miles via the Fastnet Rock to the finish line at the western end of the breakwater in Cherbourg.

Distances between notable points on the course (approx)

  • Cowes – Needles 16 nm
  • Needles – Portland Bill 34 nm
  • Portland – Start Point 54 nm
  • Start Point – Lizard 60 nm
  • Lizard – Lands End 22 nm
  • Land's End – Fastnet 170 nm
  • Fastnet Rock – Scillies 150 nm
  • Scillies – Cherbourg 189 nm

Total = 695 nautical miles

rolex fastnet yacht race

Location
City:  Orlovo, Moskovskaya, Russian Federation (Russia)
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Latitude: 55�32'58"N (55.549444)
Longitude: 37�51'52"E (37.864444)
Variation:12.03�E (WMM2020 magnetic declination)
0.14� annual change

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Rolex Fastnet Race

rolex fastnet yacht race

IMAGES

  1. Everything you need to know about the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race

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  2. Rolex Fastnet Race 2021

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  3. ClubSwan 125 wins Rolex Fastnet 2021

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  4. PHOTOS: Start of Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

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  5. Everything you need to know about the Rolex Fastnet Race

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  6. PHOTOS: Start of Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

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VIDEO

  1. Fastnet Yacht Race

  2. Very best photos Rolex Fastnet Race 2017

  3. Rolex Fastnet Race 2015

  4. Portland Bill Tidal Streams

  5. The 1979 Fastnet Yacht Race Disaster Unveiled

  6. Rolex Fastnet Race: live from Virbac Paprec 3 at Land's End

COMMENTS

  1. Multinational all-female team arrives back to home port

    The 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race proved near perfect as a celebration of the 50th running ...

  2. Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

    The 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Saturday, 22 July from Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. As is tradition, the starting signals will be delivered from the Royal Yacht Squadron. The Squadron, as it is universally known, has been supported by Rolex since the 1980s and, like the RORC, is regarded as one of the pre-eminent yacht clubs in the world.

  3. Fastnet Race

    The Fastnet Race is a biennial offshore yacht race organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) of the United Kingdom with the assistance of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and the City of Cherbourg in France.. The race is named after the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland, which the race course rounds.Along with Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Newport-Bermuda Race, it is considered ...

  4. Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

    Rolex Fastnet Race: 50th Edition Grows the Legacy. Cherbourg, 28 July 2023 - The 50th edition of a contest as legendary as the Rolex Fastnet Race deserved to be special. The largest ever fleet in the history of offshore racing spanning fully professional ocean racing greyhounds as well as more Corinthian entries combined with conditions that ...

  5. Caro wins Fastnet, yacht sinks and four dismasted in treacherous race

    Caro, a Botin 52 owned and skippered by Max Klink, is the overall winner of the 50th Rolex Fastnet in a punishing race that saw one yacht sink and four yachts dismasted in gale-force winds, with close to 90 yachts pulling out in the first 24 hours. Four-metre waves, and gale-force winds gusting up to 43 knots hit the fleet shortly after the ...

  6. Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

    The world's largest offshore race, the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race has been an established fixture on the ocean racing circuit since 1925. Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the 695-nautical mile race is a test of strategy and skill with challenging tidal currents and changeable weather. The fleet starts off the Royal Yacht Squadron in ...

  7. News

    Arambalza Cup - Best Non-British yacht overall and Fastnet Challenge Cup for Overall winner - Caro ... and a new champion was crowned. The Rolex Fastnet Race is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and has been partnered by Rolex since 2001, as part of it 65 year association with the sport. #RolexFastnetRace @RORCracing .

  8. Rolex Fastnet Race winner declared as Caro takes victory overall

    TAGS: Fastnet Top stories. Max Klink's Botin 52, Caro, has officially been declared the winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023, with the announcement coming early afternoon on Wednesday 26th July ...

  9. Fastnet Race

    The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most famous ocean yacht races in the world, and completing it widely regarded as one of sailing's crowning achievements. Begun as a challenge between a ...

  10. 50th edition Rolex Fastnet Race

    The 50 th edition of the world's largest offshore race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Saturday 22 nd July, ... "The 50 th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will run before Cowes Week in 2023 in order to cope with the berthing needs of the large fleet prior to the start on 22 nd July, and pre-event registration will again ...

  11. Rolex Fastnet 2023 Race Report

    A Tale of Salt and Light - by Stephen Hill. The 50 th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Challenge Race attracted the largest fleet to start than ever before by a considerable margin with over 450 yachts taking part. Getting to the start line is not a given. Each crew must earn the right to take part in the race by having sailed at least 350nm together in qualifying race conditions and ensured the ...

  12. 50th Rolex Fastnet Race

    Posted on 28 Jul 2023 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race - Challenge accepted Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors. For Max Klink, the owner and skipper of the 15.85m (52ft) Swiss entry Caro, the dream became reality in 2023.

  13. Rolex Fastnet Race features record fleet

    The 695nm race will finish in Cherbourg for a second edition . First held in 1925, the Rolex Fastnet Race - the flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) - has by far the biggest fleet among all the world's classic offshore races and this year is expected to feature over 3,000 sailors from over 30 countries including Japan.

  14. Rolex Fastnet Race: How it all began

    Posted on 28 Jul 2023 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race - Challenge accepted Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors Winning the Rolex Fastnet Race is a dream for many passionate offshore sailors. For Max Klink, the owner and skipper of the 15.85m (52ft) Swiss entry Caro, the dream became reality in 2023.

  15. How to follow the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023

    The Fastnet Race 2023 will be the 50th edition of the event and is set to be the largest offshore yacht race in the world, with over 440 entries. The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most famous ...

  16. LIVE

    WATCH THE STARTS ONLINE - LIVE. sThe 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Sunday 8th August, 2021 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, Cowes, UK. The first warning signal is at 1100 (first start 1110) and the fleet is divided into seven groups, each starting at a different time and heading west down the Solent toward the Needles.

  17. Rolex Fastnet Race: The great adventure: When, if not now?

    Lawyer Dirk Lahmann wants to sail in this year's Fastnet Race with his crew - without any in-depth offshore experience. The boat: The IOR 2-tonner "Snifix Dry", designed by Doug Peterson and built in aluminium at A&R in 1978. Lahmann and his wife took over the boat in 2011.

  18. Distances and Course

    Starting from The Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, yachts will race on a course of approx 695 nautical miles via the Fastnet Rock to the finish line at the western end of the breakwater in Cherbourg. Distances between notable points on the course (approx) Cowes - Needles 16 nm. Needles - Portland Bill 34 nm. Portland - Start Point 54 nm.

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    Heliport information about UUDO - Orlovo, MOS, RU. Information on this site may not be accurate or current and is not valid for flight planning or navigation.

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  22. Rolex Fastnet Race 2021

    The world's largest offshore race, the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race has been an established fixture on the ocean racing circuit since 1925. Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the 695-nautical mile race is a test of strategy and skill with challenging tidal currents and changeable weather. The fleet starts off the Royal Yacht Squadron in ...

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