Please select your home edition
McConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 LEADERBOARD

The RWYC 'Original Lonely Rock' race course and its colourful history

by Adrian Gray 7 Feb 14:35 GMT 17 July 2022
Jolie Brise, still the most successful Fastnet race course boat ever with 3 wins © Alejandro Arce Herrero

The Original Lonely Rock race was first sailed in 1925, since then the course has enjoyed a very colourful history with some real stand out moments.

The first ever boat to win was called 'Jolie Brise', stamping her name on yachting history in the process. To this date, five boats have won the race outright two times but there is only one who has won three Fastnet Races, that is 'Jolie Brise'.

A number of designers have won the race over the years but the one that stands out by far is Sparkman and Stephens with no fewer than 10 race wins.

One of the smallest boats to have won the Fastnet Challenge Cup was 'Iromiguy', a Nicholson 33 sailed by Jean-Yves Chateau in 2005.

Recent years has seen three different designs from the same drawing board of Jacques Valer with no fewer that three different designs in the past eight years, the JPK1010, the JPK1080 and the JPK1180. Last years winner was also the 2020 winner of the Original Lonely Rock Race and RWYC member, Tom Kneen and his JPK1180 'Sunrise'.

1979 saw the most famous racing disaster in history when two weather systems colliding in the Irish sea causing the fleet to scatter. Many people sadly lost their lives. This was to initiate the turning point in offshore racing safety both in terms of yacht design and safety equipment.

2019 saw the announcement of the race finish being moved from Plymouth to Cherbourg. This was both extraordinary and controversial in equal measure. Whilst RORC saw the colossal commercial gains from the move, many saw this as the end of the Fastnet Race as we know it. Then in 2020 the RWYC decided to honour the race's history. In doing so managed and completed the Original Lonely Rock Race under very testing circumstances during a first wave of the Covid Pandemic.

2022 will see the next episode in the history of the Original Fastnet course when the fleet start in the area of Ryde, as it did in 1925 and 2020. Following this the RWYC will honour and respect all those who have sailed this world-wide recognised classic over the years in running the original course in 2025 to celebrate the 100years of the Original Fastnet course.

Entries for this year are open;

Discounted early entry fees are available up to May 4th.

For further information, please refer to or email

Related Articles

'Original Lonely Rock' race entry set to open
The first start will be 1400hrs on Sunday 17th July 2022 With the Notice of Race being released on Wednesday 4th August, we have pleasure in announcing the second edition of the RWYC 'Original Lonely Rock Race' (OLR2022) in association with the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Posted on 7 Aug 2021
Race Name Change: Plymouth Fastnet 500
Previously known as the Plymouth Lonely Rock Race The RWYC Lonely Rock Race is already synonymous with the 608 miles original Fastnet racecourse starting from Ryde and Finishing in Plymouth. In just 10 days a new race will start and finish in Plymouth. Posted on 23 Jun 2021
Entry extended for the Plymouth Lonely Rock Race
The entry will be limited to the first 70 boats The Royal Western Yacht Club is happy to inform all that the early entry rate will continue up to June 1st for the Plymouth Lonely Rock Race 2021. Posted on 4 Apr 2021
Entry now open for Plymouth Lonely Rock Race 2021
The 508-mile course will start and finish in Plymouth The Royal Western Yacht Club is delighted announce that the entry process is now open for the Plymouth Lonely Rock Race 2021, set to start on 4th July. Posted on 12 Jan 2021
Plymouth Lonely Rock Race 2021 launched
Overwhelming support for the race received from all over the world The Original Lonely Rock Race (OLR) 2020 successfully took place in the most adverse conditions. The race was put together to continue the legacy of the 'Fastnet Race' course, the original classic 600-mile offshore race. Posted on 30 Dec 2020
MailASail OSTAR and TWOSTAR race announcement
8 months to go to the 'original' With eight months to go, the Royal Western Yacht Club would like to formally invite all past competitors and as many new adventurers to enter and join us as we formally celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first race. Posted on 10 Sep 2020
Sunrise wins Lonely Rock Race
Course shortened to get the fleet home ahead of the storms 1000hrs on Sunday 16th August and the first gun fires on the RWYC lonely Rock Race. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club's race starting officer Martin Bedford calls 'line clear' and the race begins. Posted on 22 Aug 2020
All systems go for the Lonely Rock Race!
Just two weeks to go before the start With just 2 weeks to go before the start of the RWYC Lonely Rock Race 2020, we are beyond excited to say that we are going ahead! Posted on 31 Jul 2020
Progress update for the Lonely Rock Race
Royal Western Yacht Club announce where they are with plans For the past four months we have all been faced with a global pandemic which has rocked the world. COVID-19 continues to be in the forefront of people's minds. However, things are improving as we see signs of normality returning to our lives. Posted on 15 Jul 2020
Tracy Edwards MBE confirms Maiden entry
In the Lonely Rock Race 2020 Since her recent full refit, Maiden has been back on the start line of events to raise funds for The Maiden Factor Foundation, but due to COVID the world tour has unfortunately been put on hold and 'Maiden' was shipped back to Southampton. Posted on 16 Jun 2020