Rolex Fastnet Race

Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 – Sunday 11th August – Sunday 18th August 2013

Rolex Fastnet Fleet in Sutton Habrour, PlymouthThe Fastnet Race sponsored by Rolex is a famous classic offshore yachting race taking place every two years over a course of 608 nautical miles (1,126km).

Rolex Fastnet Race 2013

Since 1925, the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s iconic 608-mile race around the Fastnet Rock has captured the hearts and souls of millions of people. This August, The Rolex Fastnet Race will have the largest number of participants in its 89-year history. Over 350 yachts, and as many as 380 yachts, from five continents and over 22 different countries will be taking part.

The diversity of the yachts and participants is truly extraordinary. The maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 is the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation, sailing around the world in just over 45 days. Internet entrepreneur Niklas Zennström’s 72′ mini maxi Rán 2 is hoping to win the Rolex Fastnet Race for an unprecedented third time in a row. Plus the original winner of the first race in 1925, the Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise, celebrating her centenary, is also competing and this diversity is the reason why the Rolex Fastnet Race is so special.

Built in 1913, Jolie Brise has participated in the Fastnet race four times, winning three races including the inaugural race in 1925. Her career as a pilot boat was short-lived, owing to steam replacing sail, she became a fishing boat for a time before being bought by E.G Martin in 1923, a founder member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Evelyn George Martin met with a group of distinguished sailors, including Algernon Maudsley, to discuss an ocean race. Martin pulled a ten shilling note from his pocket, placed it on the desk and asked Maudsley if he would do the same. In that moment, the Ocean Racing Club was formed. After some discussion a race ‘from Cowes round the Fastnet and back to Plymouth’ was announced for yachts not exceeding a waterline length of 50ft. Jolie Brise won the first race and also won in 1929 and 1930 and to this day, she is the only yacht to have won the race three times.

Since 1977, Dauntsey’s School Sailing Club has sailed and maintained Jolie Brise, as skipper Toby Marris explains: “Since Dauntsey’s School started to sail Jolie Brise, over 9000 pupils have sailed on her. She sails about 220 days each year, clocking up about 10,000 miles. We have raced across the Atlantic with The Tall Ships Race, as far north as inside the Arctic Circle, east as far as Russia and south as far as The Cape Verde Islands. Jolie Brise is available for charter but during Dauntsey’s School’s holidays, the pupils have priority. For the Fastnet, we will have seven girls and boys from Dauntsey’s School, all under 18 and two crew selected by The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. This year’s race will be a once in a lifetime experience. Our goal is always to enjoy sailing her, but this race will become part of her history, so it is very special.”

Since 1930, four yachts have come close to equalling Jolie Brise‘s three overall victories, but none have yet to succeed. Olin Stephens’ Dorade (1931 & 1933), Capt. J.H.Illingworth’s Myth of Malham (1947 & 1949), Dick Nye’s Carina (1955 & 1957) and Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 (2009 & 2011). This year, the Mini Maxi Rán 2 will be attempting to win the trophy for an unprecedented third consecutive year.

Tim Powell, Rán 2’s Team Manager, has competed in four round the world races and spoke about the Rolex Fastnet Race: “Having the chance to win the race for a third time in a row is amazing. It is always tough just to win your class, but to win overall you also need to have the weather conditions in your favour and I have to say that we have had our share of luck in the last two races. This year, Bella Mente (Hap Fauth’s American Mini Maxi) will be a big threat. Rán 2 is now four years old and I think it would be fair to describe Bella Mente as a more modern version of Rán 2. If we have a 25-knot reach to the Rock and back, we should be the slower boat. If we have a more tactical race then perhaps that will be in our favour. Bella Mente has an excellent crew but then we know the Fastnet Race really well and maybe that is an advantage.”

Experiencing the start of the Fastnet is unlike any other offshore race and this year with a record entry it will be a special moment for everybody in the race. I would especially like to wish the young crew of Jolie Brise a great race. I started racing offshore with The Youth Challenge and if you told me then that I would have the chance of winning it three times, I wouldn’t have believed you. For me, The Fastnet will always be a very special race.”

Article by Louay Habib (Press Release)

Rolex Fastnet Race 2011

The 2011 race, the 44th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will see 350 entrants, beating the 1979’s record-breaking tally of 303 participating yachts taking part who will be setting sail on the 14th August from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, rounding the Fastnet Rock off the southcoast of Ireland and finishing in Plymouth around the 19th – 21st August.


RFR Course Map16601_3_FSNT11_Race_MapThe 44th Rolex Fastnet Race will bring a record-breaking number of yachts to the finish in Plymouth this August with 350 boats taking part in this biennial 608nm race. The fleet ranges from state-of-the-art multihulls to family cruisers, with a huge variety of modern and traditional designs.

Racing from Cowes, Isle of Wight on Sunday 14th August, the fastest yachts are expected to arrive in Plymouth, after rounding the notorious Fastnet Rock, in the early hours of Tuesday 16th August. The majority however will pour in from Wednesday onwards, and continue to do so until the official prizegiving ceremony to held at the Royal Citadel on Friday 19th August. Competition is hot for the ultimate prize, The Fastnet Challenge Cup, but many other prizes and trophies will also be awarded to class and other special winners.

The largest yacht and the most likely to be first into Plymouth, is the giant French trimaran, Maxi Banque Populaire at 140ft long and the smallest is just 30ft, Bernie Bingham’s Rogers 30, Brightwork.

Considered to be one of the most challenging races for yachtsman of any ability, whether professional or amateur, it is for many, the pinnacle of their sailing ambition. Crews from 19 different nations will see over 3,000 competitors arriving at Sutton Harbour Marina in the Barbican, their base for the duration of their stay.

One of the attractions of the race is that it draws such a diverse fleet and includes several yachts from the Plymouth area, Devon and Cornwall too:

Eric Bates is an experienced offshore sailor and veteran of two previous Fastnet races. He will take part in his Scanmar 33, Rumpleteazer: “We have been racing locally round the ‘cans’ and offshore for 25 years, but the main reason for taking part this year is so that my long term crew members, Vernon Pike and Andy Thomas, can complete the race having had to retire in 2007; Vernon is 68 and has been sailing inshore and offshore for over 60 years, but would like another chance to finish in the Rolex Fastnet Race!”

Another local sailor, Nigel Passmore finished 4th overall with his previous yacht, a TP52, Apollo. He is back to win the race this time round with Apollo 3, a J/133. Most of his crew are from Plymouth. Stuart Jenkins’ traditional Bristol Pilot Cutter, Morwenna will experience what it must have been like for the first ever competitors in the 1920s. But for the crew of Morwenna, a direct descendant of the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters and similar to the first ever Fastnet winner in 1925, Jolie Brise, the race is sure to be an adventure to remember.

Sutton Harbour are the official berth provider for the race and it is sure to be a spectacular sight with the flags flying from so many nations and the buzz of sailors who have just finished such an epic race. To cater for the increased number of entrants this year, Sutton Harbour Marina in Plymouth has made the complete berthing area adjacent to West Pier and the city’s historic Barbican area available to the Rolex Fastnet Fleet.

The Rolex Fastnet Race Village will welcome everyone and visitors are encouraged to come down to the Village sited near to Mayflower Steps to watch daily prizegivings taking place at midday on the main stage, video played out on the screen and to meet and greet sailors from around the world, as well as those closer to home. Famous yachtsman will mix and mingle with ‘corinthian’ sailors whose crew is made up of friends and families – all taking part for different reasons, but mostly to achieve this very special sailing goal.

Record holders such as Mike Slade’s 100ft ICAP Leopard, who were the first yacht to arrive in both the 2007 and 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race, completing the course in a record time of 1 day 20 hours 18 minutes, will back again this year. They will have a battle to the finish with another super-sized 100ft yacht, George David’s Rambler 100 from America. Also,
the overall winner, Niklas Zennstrom’s , JV72 Ránwill be taking part and trying to defend her trophy.

Rolex Fastnet Race 2009There are several ways to feel part of the action this year and to follow the fleet as they make their way to Plymouth. One of the best is watching the news, stories and images sent from boats at sea on the race website: Here you will find blogs from the sailors, news reports and can also follow the progress of the fleet via the Tracking page as each yacht is fitted with a GPS tracking device which regularly updates a yachts position on the race course. Fans can also join the Facebook page and Twitter.

For the first time, there will also be Fastnet Radio to listen to. Broadcasting on 87.9FM, there’s full coverage for a flavour of the race and an update on the progress of arrivals. Listen to Fastnet Radio 87.9FM for interviews with winners and competitors as they arrive in Plymouth. Their presenters will also be live from the docks with all the breaking race news, features, and link-ups with race teams out on the course.

More info:

FASTNET RADIO ONLINE: Beginning with live commentary from the Cowes startline on Sunday, 14 August, Fastnet Radio will be broadcast 24 hours a day in Plymouth and online (see

A truly spectacular fleet of yachts and their sea-weary crews will gather in Plymouth as they complete the Rolex Fastnet Race. After crossing the Irish Sea, the yachts will reach their finish line from the west as they arrive in Plymouth Sound so watch out for the winners from Plymouth Hoe. The majority of the fleet will moor up in a special competitors’ village at Sutton Harbour Marina in The Barbican. Visitors can see the huge variety of racing boats which have completed the course on additional pontoons created to accommodate the giant fleet.

Armchair enthusiasts can negotiate the 608-mile course from the safety of their living room by playing the Virtual Fastnet Game. Choose your yacht name, plan your strategy and see how you fare against a huge fleet. The last edition of the race attracted an incredible 27,000 virtual entries, with the winner completing the course in an impressive three days and 18 hours. Course weather forecasts will be updated twice daily at 0700 and 1900 so be warned: this game is very addictive! To start the game, visit:


Trish Jenkins, Event Press Officer
Mb: 07880 518689

Photo Credits: Rolex Fastnet Race

The Rolex Fastnet Race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in
association with the Royal Western Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron and
has been sponsored by Rolex SA of Geneva since 2001.

First sailed in 1925 and run biennially since the early 1930s, the 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race has captured the imagination of sailors the world over. It was one of the first true tests of offshore sailing skill and to win this race is an ambition of every racing sailor.

The course starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, races out of the Solent down the English Channel to Land’s End and across the often tempestuous Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock, before returning on a reciprocal course to the finish off Plymouth.

Rolex Fastnet Race 2011 –

The Marina is owned by the Sutton Harbour Group, which is the official berth provider for the Rolex Fastnet Race and is an Official Supporter:

Pantaenius Yacht Insurance
Pantaenius sponsor the Pantaenius Buoy and the Crew Bar in Plymouth


· A record fleet of 350 yachts have entered the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race
(Previous record ’79 – 303 boats)
· This is the 44th edition of the Fastnet Race
· The ‘professional’ and Non-IRC classes: Volvo Open 70s, IMOCA 60s, Class 40s and Multihulls have been counted above the initial cut-off mark of 300
· The race started in 1925 with just 7 boats!
· 608 nautical mile non-stop race
· 19 nations represented
· 1 day, 20 hours, 18 minutes is the current monohull course record to beat set by ICAP Leopard (GBR) in 2007
· The largest boat is the 140ft trimaran – Maxi Banque Populaire (FRA)
· 2 giant 100ft yachts go head to head – Rambler 100 (USA),
ICAP Leopard (GBR)
· Smallest boat in the fleet just 30ft – Bernie Bingham’s Rogers 30,
Brightwork (GBR)
· 34 boats sailing with only 2 crew
· Yacht range from 30ft to 140ft
· 10 classes in total
· First start 1100, RYS line, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK
· Listen on the day of the start: Fastnet Radio 87.7FM
· + Twitter
· The main trophy for overall victory is the Fastnet Challenge Cup. In addition, there are more than 30 additional trophies
· Next Edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race: 11th August, 2013
· The Rolex Fastnet Race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in association with the Royal Western Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron and has been sponsored by Rolex SA of Geneva since 2001.

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