One of sailing’s most classic and prestigious events, Fastnet is known as one of the most demanding off shore races to be held in British waters. Taking place every two years, it pits the best racing sailors against each other in some of the trickiest sailing conditions imaginable.
First conceived way back in 1925 as a 608 nm challenge ending in Plymouth, 2021 will see the end point of the race move to Cherbourg, France, bringing this testing course up to nearly 700 nautical miles and the first major change to the course for nearly 100 years.
Seen by many veterans as a number of smaller races encompassed by one big race it has played a large role in the growth of offshore racing and it certainly will put all of your skills to the test.
Starting from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, around 300 boats pass the Needles, heading along the southern coast of England towards the Lizard then around the tip of Land’s End. From there it’s north through Celtic Sea waters towards the Fastnet Rock on the southern tip of Ireland. Once around the Rock, it’s back south wards, round the Scilly Isles then south east across the English Channel towards Cherbourg. During this time, sailors can face strong tidal flows, Traffic Separation Schemes and changeable weather, from gales to light winds, in their bid to win the race. Be prepared for anything, as this race will generally throw it all at you!
Due to its demanding reputation, there is strict entry criteria for Fastnet; the yacht and crew must have completed 300 miles in offshore racing, as a team, in the year prior to the race. With this in mind, three pre-races and two training weekends are included in the price.
The choice of pre-races are the De Guingand Bowl, the St Malo Race and the Channel race.