2013 ROLEX FASTNET RACE
COWES/PLYMOUTH, UK - August 11 - 16, 2013
One of sailingís greatest contests reconvenes in August in the shape of the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. A sporting institution, Europeís oldest offshore race entails a gripping and punishing 608-nautical mile journey from Cowes, Isle of Wight to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.
An incredible - and record - 380 yachts could start the biennial race. In response to the immense demand and popularity of the event, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) increased the limit for this yearís fleet after the entry list was filled within 24 hours of opening. Over twenty countries and territories from five continents will be represented, with crews comprising both fully professional and amateur.
The Rolex Fastnet is a genuine rite of passage for any sailor. Conditions can be harsh and are always changeable. The race is as notoriously difficult to finish, as it is to win. The competition is democratic: the handicap system applied to the main body of the fleet means the overall winner can spring from any size of yacht. Niklas ZennstrŲmís 21.94m/72-foot British Mini Maxi RŠn 2 is the defending champion and is seeking to make history by becoming the first boat to win the race three times in a row: an achievement that would border on the miraculous.
Current race record holder, the Volvo Open 70 Abu Dhabi from the United Arab Emirates, skippered by Ian Walker, will set out to defend her line honours title and to better the benchmark monohull time of 42 hours, 39 minutes she set in 2011. Abu Dhabi will be wary of her competition. Igor Simcicís 30.48m/100-ft pan-European Maxi Esimit Europa 2, the undisputed fastest boat in the Mediterranean, is taking part for the first time. Mike Sladeís primarily British crewed 100-ft Maxi ICAP Leopard, twice the eventís fastest finisher (2007, 2009), will be tough to beat given the right mix of conditions.
How to follow the Rolex Fastnet Race
For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Rolex Fastnet Race, please visit http://www.rorc.org