RORC Racing Manager Nick Elliott predicted 'a scramble for places' last October when it was announced that priority would be given to RORC members wishing to secure a place in the historic race celebrating its 90th year. He wasn't wrong. Just 24 minutes after the online entry system opened at midday on 12th January, over 300 boats had registered for the Rolex Fastnet Race. The frenetic trend continued and by the end of the afternoon, 375 boats had signed up for the biennial 608-nautical miler, which has been an established fixture on the ocean racing circuit since 1925.
"Within 24 hours of online entries opening in the race two years ago it was oversubscribed, and with a waiting list. We thought that was remarkable, but yesterday we reached the same number in 24 minutes! The Rolex Fastnet Race has great reverence with sailors worldwide wishing to compete in this iconic race and add it to their bucket list," says Elliott.
Welcome to the new Rolex Fastnet Race guide. This guide is intended to de-mystify the entry process and to help make your entry into the Rolex Fastnet Race as easy as possible. It is not to be treated as a replacement for the Rolex Fastnet Race Notice of Race which will be available on the RORC website.
The guide is based around you, the competitor, and we will be updating it frequently to reflect your feedback so as to improve the experience for everyone. If you have further questions or suggestions then please email the Race Team at
(please put the Sail Number and Boat Name in the subject field).
To help you access the information you need please choose below which description suits you best.
RORC expects another fantastic fleet for the 90th Anniversary of the Fastnet Race and is anticipating the entry limit of 340 boats to be reached quickly, just as in 2013 when the race filled up in less than 24 hours.
As the Rolex Fastnet Race has been oversubscribed for the last four editions, with some RORC members struggling to get a place in the race, the RORC has made the decision to give preference to entries from RORC Members for the first week of the entry list being open.
Registration will open at 1200 (UTC) on Monday 12th January, when everyone will be able to register their interest. At the end of the first week the RORC will allocate all RORC Members a place on the race, as long as they are able to show that they will be able to meet the entry qualifying criteria, as per the 2015 Notice of Race. The remaining places will be allocated in the order in which they registered.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to help our members participate in the club's founding event in such a special year. In the past it has been extremely hard to tell a member of the club that unfortunately they have been put on the Waiting List as the race is full," commented Nick Elliott RORC Racing Manager.
The entries will again be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure their place in the race and submit a proposal for how they intend to satisfy the experience qualification criteria of the race.
Registration is done via the RORC Online Entry System, REMUS. Competitors are advised to make sure their boats are already registered on REMUS prior to the Registration List for the Rolex Fastnet Race being opened on the 12th January.
The 100 foot (30.47m) LOA monohull limit set by a number of the classic 600 mile races such as the Fastnet, Sydney Hobart and Middle Sea races has been lifted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Malta Yacht Club for the 2015 editions of the Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Middle Sea Races. This will allow superyachts participating in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series to compete.
The AORS consists of four events: the RORC Caribbean 600, the 2015 Transatlantic Race from Newport to the Lizard, the Rolex Fastnet Race and Rolex Middle Sea Race. Superyachts have always been eligible to race in the RORC Caribbean 600 and a number have entered for the west to east Transatlantic Race at the end of June/July 2015, organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron and New York Yacht Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club.
The Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 concluded today in classic style with the final finisher, Duet, crossing the line and arriving in Plymouth in the early evening. Christopher Courtauld's 101 year old gaff yawl, sailed by David Cannell, tackled the 608 nm course in 6 days, 6 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds.
Whilst they have missed the Friday Prizegiving, they and other competitors are invited to attend a second Prizegiving at the RORC Clubhouse, St James's Place on Tuesday 10th September 2013.
Competitors enjoyed a fitting finale to the Rolex Fastnet Race with the prizegiving for the world's largest offshore yacht race being held on Mountbatten Green.
With a backdrop of the Citadel and Plymouth Hoe, the setting where history has it that Sir Francis Drake first spied the Spanish Armada while playing a game of bowls, prizegiving attendees were treated to their own piece of Fastnet history. Almost completely unchoreographed, proceedings coincided with the arrival of the gaff pilot cutter, Jolie Brise, the winner of first ever Fastnet Race in 1925 and still the only boat to have won the race on three occasions.
Since 1977, Dauntsey's School in Wiltshire gained use of the boat and in 2003 finally acquired her. According to her skipper Toby Maris, Jolie Brise last competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race during the 1990s and prior to that not since prior to World War Two.
"We are making very good progress towards the things we want to achieve," Maris said en route to the Rock. "The students have been having a very good sail, we want to complete the race and finish ahead of Duet and we want to enjoy ourselves. It will be an iconic moment when we get around the Rock."
However the 50 tonne pilot cutter is some way from being a state of the art racing yacht. "It is like taking a soggy 50 tonne log upwind!" Maris jokes.
Jolie Brise's fly-by up the Cattewater, en route to the Rolex Fastnet Race hub at Plymouth Yacht Haven, was followed by a magnificent display by the Aerostars Aerobatic Display Team.
The Rolex Fastnet Race has had more than its fair share of high profile female sailors this year.
Of course Dona Bertarelli was the first to finish into Plymouth as the new co-skipper of the world's largest racing trimaran and fastest offshore race boat, the 40m long, Spindrift II. This boat won Rolex Fastnet Race line honours for a second consecutive time.
24 minutes later the Sidney Gavignet-skippered MOD 70 trimaran, Oman Air-Musandam, finished with a crew including not only round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari, the only woman to have sailed around the world the wrong way, but young Omani sailor, Raiya Al Habsi (25). In a Muslim country where traditionally women haven't been encouraged to take part in sport, the women's squad of sailors at Oman Sail has been both breaking new ground culturally as well as being an inspiration to other young Omani women.
"I can hardly believe I finished the Rolex Fastnet Race," Raiya said on finishing. "It was a little bit tough but the guys were amazing - they took good care of me and taught me a lot and it felt good to be part of such a successful team," said just after they crossed the finish line."
Top sailors including Dee Caffari, as well as America's Cup sailor Katy Pettibone and Liz Rushall have been among those mentoring the Oman Sail women's squad, but Al Habsi's participation in the Rolex Fastnet Race has taken Omani women's sailing to a new level. Team SCA is fielding the first women's team in the Volvo Ocean Race since the Amer Sport campaign in the 2001-2 round the world race. They were competing on board their VO70 training boat in the Rolex Fastnet Race, their first official competitive outing since the sailing team was set up earlier this year. The crew includes British sailor Vendée Globe skipper Sam Davies and Olympic women's match racer Annie Lush, however for the Rolex Fastnet Race it had three male crew acting as coaches.
In total nine women have skippered boats in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, while there have been three all-women teams, including Girls for Sail, led by Susan Glenny, on the Elan 37, Jumbuck, and Captain Lucinda Allaway on the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre's Sigma 38, Redcoat.
However the winner of this unofficial championship has been Lucy Reynolds' team on the First 40, Southern Child.
While Lucy and her husband Christian normally run the Swan 51 Northern Child, for the Rolex Fastnet Race Lucy put together an all-female crew, mostly comprising paying guests. For this they chartered a First 40, Southern Child.
Southern Child arrived at 0847 BST on Thursday. "We had a slow last half hour to the race - we drifted across the finish line and then 18 knots immediately kicked in!" recounted Reynolds.