Please select your home edition
Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

On course for record entry in 50th Rolex Fastnet Race

by James Boyd / RORC 11 Jan 2023 19:09 GMT 22 July 2023
The 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race is on course for record entry © Kurt Arrigo / ROLEX

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's new race entry system has been burning red hot since 1200 UTC today when registration opened for the 50th edition of the club's flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race.

By 1300 entries were up to 433, with 300 signing up via the RORC's new SailRaceHQ entry system in the first ten minutes and 400 within 30 minutes (a similar number took more than an hour to register prior to the last edition in 2021).

Given that the record number of boats on the start line of what is certainly the 'world's largest offshore yacht race' peaked at 388 in pre-pandemic 2019, this is promising sign that the fleet size will reach a new record when it departs the Solent on Saturday, 22 July this summer, bound for the Fastnet Rock and then on to the finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. This is especially likely given that today's figures will be by no means the final entry size: RORC members not only receive priority entry but still have until 25 January to sign up; competitors in the RORC's new Roschier Baltic Sea Race last year, and as well those en route to Grenada in the current RORC Transatlantic Race, get guaranteed entry. But the largest group still to register are the 'pro' classes racing outside of the IRC fleet, ie the Ultim, IMOCA; Ocean 50; Class40 and Figaro 3, as well as the multihull classes. They have until 14 April to register. For many of this latter group, the Rolex Fastnet Race will be one of the few races they will get to compete in during this season prior to the start of the autumn's Transat Jacques Vabre.

First to burst through the door in the RORC's equivalent of the Harrod's Sale, entering as the clock struck 1200, was Rolex Fastnet Race regular, Chris Choules and his faithful With Alacrity (GBR), top Sigma 38 in the race's last three editions and fourth of 70 boats in IRC 4 in 2021. Neck and neck with them, though from the opposite side of the Channel, was another regular in Guy Sallenave's X-442 Ster Wenn 5 (FRA). Second in IRC 1 in the 2005 Rolex Fastnet Race, Ster Wenn 5 was campaigned by Sallenave's son Pierre in 2021, who has entered her again for this special half century edition.

By 1300 today, as usual the biggest contingent among those registered was from the UK with 166 signed up, followed by France with 118. Yachts ranged in size from a 6.5m Classe Mini to several at 9m, to Lucky, the former Rambler 88, American George David's serial monohull line honours winner, now in the hands of Bryon Ehrhart. The longest was the first Ultim entry, the 30m trimaran Banque Populaire skippered by 2016-17 Vendée Globe winner Armel le Cleac'h.

"We're delighted by the response. It's especially good to see so many old friends and regular participants who seem to be making an extra effort to join us for the special 50th edition Rolex Fastnet Race," said the RORC's newly appointed Racing Manager and Race Director Steve Cole.

"Obviously from here, yachts still need to qualify and log the required number of race miles. But it seems highly likely that when the remaining RORC members and the pro classes have signed up by April, we will top 500 boats which should translate into a record turn-out come start day in July."

The RORC Race Team in Cowes is currently processing the entries, but a preliminary look at the line-up shows especially large turn-outs from manufacturer classes such as the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 and 3600, plus various JPKs, including 10.10s, 10.80s and 11.80s that have won three of the race's last five editions overall under IRC corrected time.

For further information, please go to the Rolex Fastnet Race website:

Related Articles

A worthy 50th Rolex Fastnet Race
As ever, the fleet was hugely diverse The 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race proved near perfect as a celebration of the 50th running of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event. As a reminder of what a brutal race it can be, its giant fleet set off from the Solent into a southwesterly gale. Posted on 3 Aug 2023
Rolex Fastnet Race 2023 - Pip Hare
The inspirational Pip Hare sailed the Fastnet with NIck Bubb in her Open 60, Medallia British sailor Pip Hare has long been an inspiration to the Bow Caddy team, so it was a real pleasure to meet her briefly in Cowes, just before she set off with Mini sailor NIck Bubb on the Fastnet Race in her recently modified IMOCA 60, Medallia. Posted on 29 Jul 2023
Rolex Fastnet Race: 50th edition grows the legacy
Crews were set an immediate and extreme examination of boat-handling and resilience 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 tested preparation, determination and expertise. Posted on 29 Jul 2023
Doublehanded domination at 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race
Les P'tits Doudous en Duo finished first in IRC Two-Handed One of the strongest competitions within the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 50th Rolex Fastnet Race was in the ever-swelling ranks of IRC Two-Handed, mostly populated from IRC Two and IRC Three. Posted on 28 Jul 2023
Les P'Tits Doudous en Duo save their best to last
Winning IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race 81 teams from all over the world entered IRC Three for the Rolex Fastnet Race. The podium was dominated by the French JPK 1010s, but up to the Fastnet Rock it was Cora, the British Sun Fast 3200, which held pole position since the brutal start in Cowes. 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. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
Juzzy comes good in Rolex Fastnet Race IRC Two
The outcome of IRC Two hung in the balance until the very end The outcome of IRC Two hung in the balance until the very end, but it was Juzzy who came through to win at the end, as the fleet arrived in a wet, wild and windy Cherbourg early on Thursday morning. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
Fournier fires Pintia to victory in IRC One
After a close battle with Sunrise III in the Rolex Fastnet Race Gilles Fournier and his family and friends on Pintia couldn't quite believe they had managed to win IRC One after such a close battle with Sunrise III. Posted on 27 Jul 2023
2023 Rolex Fastnet Race: Caro etched into history
Remaining focused and committed throughout takes passion, belief and determination The Fastnet Challenge Cup is awarded to the overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race on time correction. Success is dependent upon possessing the skills and ability to race one's yacht at its full potential, whatever the weather or sea conditions. Posted on 26 Jul 2023
Worthy Class40 winners in the Rolex Fastnet Race
Some of the most impressive offshore racers of this size were competing While there was some serious 40ft competition and much new hardware in IRC Zero, some of the most impressive offshore racers of this size were competing in the Class40. Posted on 26 Jul 2023