Apivia, IMOCA 60 sailing double-handed in the 2021 Rolex 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 handful of competing yachts in 1925, the Fastnet Race is run every two years by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 600+ 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.

However, it was announced in early 2020 that the Rolex Fastnet Race would finish in Cherbourg, France instead of Plymouth in 2021 and 2023.

Thus this year will be the second time the fleet finishes on the French side of the channel.

The Fastnet Race is one of many challenges including negotiating infamous headlands and tidal gates such as St Albans Head, Portland Bill, The Lizard and Land’s End, and facing prevailing south-westerlies and gales in the Celtic Sea. Though by no means the longest offshore race today, it is the least predictable and arguably still the toughest.

When is the Fastnet Race 2023?

2023 marks the 50th editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race and the event, has once again attracted a significant number of entries.

The start of the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race will take place 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 show on the RORC Youtube channel.

The show will feature expert commentary from commentators on the Royal Yacht Squadron Platform for the start, along with on-the-water commentators and guests.

Live start coverage begins from the first class start at 1300 BST, until after the final start at 1520 BST.