Yacht Racing: The 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race

The 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race will begin in August. A biennial offshore yacht race organised by the UK's Royal Ocean Racing Club, the event is named after Ireland's Fastnet Rock, around which the course of the race is plotted. Here we present some facts about this exciting sailing event.


  • Due to its distinctive shape, Fastnet Rock is known as the 'teardrop of Ireland'
  • The first edition of the Fastnet Race took place in 1925. Gaff-rigger pilot cutter 'Jolie Brise', one of only seven boats competing, was the winner, with a time of 147 hours.
  • In testament massively-improved sailing and yacht-building technology, the current monohull record for completing the Fastnet Race stands at just 42 hours and 39 minutes. This time was set  in 2011 by Volvo 70 yacht 'Abu Dhabi'
  • Several classes of boat compete, including Class 40, Volvo Ocean 65, IMOCA 60 and multihull. The predominant class is IRC, with 340 of a total of 478 boats competing belonging to this class
  • There are 30 trophies available to win, with the main award being the Fastnet Challenger Cup. Other prizes include two Rolex Chronometer watches, one to be presented to the winner of the Challenger Cup and the other to the line honours monohull winner
  • Along the route are eight famous landmarks. These are: Plymouth breakwater, Bishop's Rock, Land's End, the Lizard, Start Point, Portland Bill, the Needles and Fastnet Rock itself
  • The course has its hazards and 1979's race had a tragic outcome. A ferocious storm meant that less than a third of the fleet finished the race. 18 people lost their lives in the tragedy, after which many changes were implemented, including VHF radio provision and mandatory storm sails
  • In the eight-decade history of the event, starting has only been delayed once, in 2007. A severe weather warning was to blame and caused a delay of 24 hours to the start time
  • At least 26 countries will be represented at the event. Great Britain accounts for 39% of the fleet

Here at Bachmann Group, we are all looking forward with excited anticipation to the Rolex Fastnet Race. We will be publishing updates and news about the event on our website: to be among the first to receive these updates, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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