Don't miss any of the action from the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race with our essential spectator guide, plus follow progress from the race and all the news from the finishers in Plymouth with Yachting World's exclusive coverage

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The 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race is a true blue riband event and offshore classic, attracting a capacity fleet which sells out within minutes, as well as a superstar line up of some of the sport’s biggest names and leading edge race designs.

Here’s how to follow the 2019 Fastnet and keep up-to-date with all the action…

Watch the start

The race starts from one of world’s most famous yachting locations: the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. This year the start has been moved forward, ahead of Cowes Week, to Saturday, 3 August 2019.

Fastnet TV will cover the entire start sequence live. It will be streamed online from the official Fastnet Race website, via Fastnet Radio and on RORC Facebook live with expert commentary of the build up and for the entire start sequence, right through to the fleet leaving the Solent.

Spectators watch the fleet set out from Cowes. Kurt Arrigo/Rolex

Fastnet Radio will be broadcasting on the Cowes Radio frequency 87.7FM on start day, Saturday 3 August, and simulcast with Fastnet Radio in Plymouth on 87.9FM.

There will also be a podcast from the skippers’ briefing, held on Thursday 1 August. This will include a Q&A session with guest skippers from across the fleet.

The start sequence begins at 1300 (BST) for the 48th edition. The multihulls go off first, with an entry list that currently includes three impressive Ultimes: Sodebo, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Macif.

They will be followed by an enormous fleet of IMOCA 60s and Class 40s – 27 of each at last count – including some seriously big names, including the radical foil-assisted Charal of Jérémie Beyou, other foiling designs including PRB, Banque Populaire, and Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur. Yachting World’s very own Pip Hare will also be lining up in her IMOCA Superbigou.

The IRC fleets will be a spectacle in themselves, with 60-80 boats in each division, before the big boats are the last to cross the line at 1400hrs. Among the SuperZero fleet expect the super maxis of Rambler 88 and Scallywag 100 to dominate, along with a big turnout of former Volvo Ocean Race yachts.

Time Class
1230 Multihull
1245 Imoca 60 and Class 40
1300 IRC 4
1315 IRC 3
1330 IRC 2
1345 IRC 1
1400 IRC Z and VO65

Hurst Castle on the mainland can offer a great vantage point of the race start and boats leaving the Solent. Photo: Kurt Arrigo/Rolex Fastnet Race

From the shore

The best vantage points of the start will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade on the Isle of Wight.

The live Fastnet Radio commentary will also be broadcast from speakers along Cowes Parade and The Green.

As the fleet funnels out of the Solent there will also be a good chance to see the yachts from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, and Hurst Castle on the mainland is another traditional spectator point to see the fleet as it heads into open water.

Further along the coast Anvil Point, St Alban’s Head, and Portland Bill should each give a good view of the race on its outbound leg – follow the tracker (below) to know when the race fleet is approaching.

Follow online

Yachting World will be covering the race from Cowes to Plymouth, with rolling news, insight from the skippers, and video updates on our dedicated Rolex Fastnet Race page.

Event organisers RORC have a dedicated Rolex Fastnet Race website where you can find the latest images and positions of the fleet, blogs from the boats, web updates and daily updates. 

Race tracker

You can follow the Rolex Fastnet Race online with the fleet tracker. Yellowbrick trackers are fitted to every yacht so you can see each boat’s position along the course.

View by class or select your favourites to follow friends and family, check out their boat speed and weather conditions in real time.

Social media

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates, and to share your onboard photos and videos from the race.

Virtual race

Armchair sailors will be able to test their skills on the same course as competitors in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race by playing the Virtual Fastnet Race.

At the finish

The first yachts are expected into Plymouth on Monday, 5th August. The Rolex Fastnet Race Village will be next to the Plymouth Yacht Haven marina, and open daily from 1000hrs onwards. There’s live music on Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th, and family activities from 1100-1700 with everything from circus workshops and face painting to paddleboarding sessions. There will also be guided ‘dock walks’ to see the competing yachts.