Sunday afternoon heralds the start of the infamous Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes - a 600-mile offshore yacht race around Ireland's Fastnet Rock, and back to the finish in Plymouth
Sunday afternoon heralds the start of the infamous Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes – a 600-mile offshore yacht race around Ireland’s Fastnet Rock, and back to the finish in Plymouth.
The race is due to start off the Royal Yacht Squadron at 1600. In the past, the race has taken anything up to six and a half days, this year the leaders are expected to arrive in Plymouth as soon as August 14.
Augmented in 1925 when a number of hardy sailors got together and decided to compete in an offshore yacht race that would be open to serious sailors wishing to test themselves against the challenging British coastline, its tides, unpredictable weather and fellow yachties. With the course decided, in August of the same year, seven yachts sailed from the Isle of Wight, westward down the English coast for two hundred miles to Lands End, before hardening up towards the outer tip of Southern Ireland. After rounding the Fastnet Rock, a large and isolated piece of granite rising almost vertically from the sea some eight miles off the land at Cape Clear, the pioneering yachtsmen reached back with the prevailing wind to Plymouth. The Fastnet has become a race respected as challenging and above all, not to be taken for granted. The 1979 Fastnet race was a testament to that when several sailors lost their lives. The lessons learnt from the mistakes made in the 1979 Fastnet have saved many sailors’ lives since, and are the basis of most sea survival theories and heavy weather tactics.
This year there will be excess of 230 yachts competing in the Rolex Fastnet. Some of the favourites to be first back include a number of Farr 65s, the Ocean 80, Criegtons, owned by Stuart Bowen-Davies. However we all know the quirks of handicapping! Olympic gold medallist, Shirley Robertson will be joining the Nicorette big boat racing team for the Fastnet, and the team that won the 1995 race by the largest margin in history.
ybw.com will be on-hand to follow the start and report on the finish. Also, ybw.com will host an online photo gallery where you can download pictures of your sprinting start and no doubt fantastic finish.