- 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will be 8 August 2021 at 1:30 PM (Central European Time)
The Rolex Fastnet Race is a classic offshore event that has been in existence since 1925. Nick-named the ‘teardrop of Ireland,’ it tests both inshore and offshore skills of participants.
Here are five things you probably did not know about the Rolex Fastnet Race:
The idea of the Rolex Fastnet Race was initially conceived by British yachtsman Weston Martyr, in 1925, after having competed in the Bermudan yacht races. Jolie Brise won the first ever competition. In 1973, yachts and crews were allowed to take sponsorships following the introduction of the International Offshore Rule (IOR).
Who Runs the Race?
The race is organized by the United Kingdom’s Royal Ocean Racing Club. Since 2001, Rolex, a watch manufacturing company from Switzerland, has been sponsoring the race. The organizers and other key stakeholders support advances in sailing technique, yacht design, and safety equipment.
Usually held after every two years, the race starts at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes at the Isle of Wight which lies along the Southern Coast of England. It then follows the coastline westward through the Needles Channel, crosses the Celtic Sea, and heads towards the southern coast of Ireland. It returns on a reciprocal course and finishes at Plymouth.
1979 goes down as the saddest year in the history of the event. A ferocious storm claimed the lives of 18 people, including 15 competitors and three rescuers. More than 75 boats flipped upside down while five of them sank. The tragedy prompted a major overhaul of the competition’s rules and acceptable equipment.
Winning the Race
The overall winner of the race is awarded the prestigious prize called the Fastnet Challenge Cup. However, there are 30 more additional trophies for various categories and competencies at the prize giving.