The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most famous ocean yacht races in the world, and completing it widely regarded as one of sailing’s crowning achievements.

Begun as a challenge between a handful of competing yachts in 1925, the Fastnet Race is run every two years by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 600+ nautical mile course traditionally ran from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, west to the Fastnet Rock lighthouse off the south-west corner of Ireland before returning to finish off Plymouth.

However, it was announced in early 2020 that the Rolex Fastnet Race would finish in Cherbourg, France instead of Plymouth in 2021 and 2023.

Thus this year will be the first time the fleet finishes on the French side of the channel.

The Fastnet Race is one of many challenges including negotiating infamous headlands and tidal gates such as St Albans Head, Portland Bill, The Lizard and Land’s End, and facing prevailing south-westerlies and gales in the Celtic Sea. Though by no means the longest offshore race today, it is the least predictable and arguably still the toughest.