50th Anniversary Rolex Fastnet Race Entry Period Is on the Horizon

Fastnet Race 8 photos
Photo: RORC
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As all eyes in offshore yacht racing are focused on Boxing Day's start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, one cannot forget to mark their calendar for yacht racing's biggest event entry start date.
Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced today that registration for the 50th Rolex Fastnet race is set for 1200 UTC on January 11, 2023, according to Sail-World. The date and time are critical for those seeking to participate in the club's flagship event.

The last Fastnet race in 2019 reached its entry capacity in just four minutes and 37 seconds, 13 seconds shy of the record set two years earlier in the biennial event. Entrants will be on a first-come first-serve basis and latecomers beyond the RORC entry limit will be placed on a waiting list.

As a special anniversary date for the world's largest offshore sailing race, officials are expecting more than 450 vessels of every size between maxi monohulls, multis, and cruisers.

RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton advises: "The message is: Get your entry in immediately registration opens, otherwise you will end up on the waiting list. If the Rolex Fastnet Race is going to be the highlight of your 2023 season, why take the risk that you might not get in at this first stage?"

The 695-nautical mile (800 mi; 1,287 km) race is organized by the RORC and the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and the city of Cherbourg, France and is named after the Fastnet Rock that sits off the shore of Southern Ireland. Along with the Sydney to Hobart race and the Newport-Bermuda race, the Fastnet completes 'The Big Three' in terms of difficulty in offshore yacht racing.

The race begins at the Royal Yacht Squadron start line of Cowes on the Isle of Wright with the fleet navigating southwest through The Solent (a narrow channel between the Isle of Wright and Great Britain). The race follows the southern coastline of England down the English Channel before rounding Land's End.

The fleet then traverses the Celtic Sea to round the Fastnet Rock before returning on the same course rounding the Isles of Scilly and finishing at Cherbourg.

In addition to favorable tides, the early start time is to allow the entrants to complete the race and return to The Solent for Cowes week (one of the longest running regular regattas in the world with over 1,000 boats competing in over 40 daily races).

The Fastnet Race is often met with westerly winds that are strong to gale force and a succession of low-pressure systems that converge on Ireland and Great Britain from the North Atlantic. Success in the race depends on navigational skills in changing meteorological conditions just as much as seamanship skills and perseverance.

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