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 603 nautical mile course runs 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 2017 race begins on Sunday, 6 August.

Its challenges include 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.