3.85 m VHF: Channel 69 Report an Incident

News - 24/10/16

RORC relax 100ft limit for 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race

Next summer’s pinnacle of offshore racing, the Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts from Cowes on Sunday, 6th August 2017, is likely to be an even greater spectacle, with the event being opened up to yachts larger than the 100ft Leopard and Commanche.

The biennial event is the world’s biggest offshore race and the last edition attracted a record-sized fleet of 356 starters. The 47th race is expected to be no different, with a diverse fleet of yachts from around the world eager to secure a spot when the online entry system opens at midday (UTC) on 9th January 2017. Such is the draw of this classic 600-mile race, it was oversubscribed in under 24 minutes last time round! 

Following interest from a number of superyacht owners and skippers wishing to take part in this classic offshore race, the RORC Race Committee has elected to lift the 100ft monohull limit, opening the race up to the new breed of fast and agile cruiser/racer designs such as Peter Harrison’s beautiful Farr designed ketch Sojana, the new Swan 115s and Baltic 115s, to name but a few. These yachts are regularly seen on the superyacht race circuit and have always been eligible to race in another RORC classic 600-miler, the annual RORC Caribbean 600 from Antigua.

In the last Rolex Fastnet Race, there were two monohulls at this upper limit of 100ft, Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard, who was competing in his fifth consecutive race and from the United States Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s Maxi, Comanche. The 100ft Comanche was the fastest monohull finisher in 2015, but narrowly missed the chance to break Ian Walker’s VO70 2011 monohull race record of 42 hours, 39 minutes.

Photo: Class Zero and Canting Keel start the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race.  By Rolex/Kurt Arrigo