Fastnet Race 2017

Mention to any serious sailor that you’ve competed in the RORC Rolex Fastnet Race and they’ll likely have something to say. Some will claim to have done it themselves, more will be planning to do it “some time soon” and a few will simply smile respectfully and nod, acknowledging a kindred spirit and adventurous soul. 

Why not make 2017 your year to do something truly remarkable?

We still have places available on our stunning 46ft race yacht 'Impulse'. 


‘The Fastnet,’ is known by a select band of hardy sailors that successfully complete the rigorous selection process, including the completion of several RORC offshore qualifying races before they even get to the start line. It’s run just once every two years and organised by The Royal Ocean Racing Club. It’s run every other year (save the war) since 1925 and anyone that completes in the near 608 mile offshore race should be rightly proud of their achievement. As bucket lists go, it’s near the very top for every offshore sailor.

The race is held in the week following Cowes Week Regatta, in early August. Competing in the Fastnet Race is not for the faint-hearted. But like all things that are worth doing, the satisfaction to be gained from successfully competing in probably the oldest, most iconic offshore yacht race in the World, makes the effort and physical hardships worthwhile.

"It's hard to explain the sheer nervous energy and excitement of your first Fastnet start. The atmosphere is just electric..."

Fastnet 2015 Crew Member 

A series of cannon shots release more than 350 small - and not so small - sail boats and high tech, carbon fibre race machines from the Royal Yacht Squadron’s start line in the Solent, just off Cowes. They scramble and fight their way through the Western Solent before squirting out of the Needles Channel and into the English Channel on the ebb tide.

The RORC Rolex Fastnet is an extremely tough race, both physically and tactically. It runs over a course of 608 miles, much of it offshore and in some of the most challenging coastal waters in the World.

The fleet first strikes out across Christchurch Bay, past Swanage, in a desperate attempt to round St Alban’s Ledge before the tidal gate slams shut trapping the unfortunate stragglers and damaging their chances of silverware and glory a few days later. Portland Bill is the next navigational challenge for the leading boats before tactics really come into play. Tidal hopping in and out of the South Coast’s many bays in an attempt to harness the benefits and mitigate the penalties meted out by the enormous tidal flows that surge through the English Channel to and from the vast North Atlantic every 12 and a bit hours.

The fleet rounds Land’s End before striking Northwest and West across busy shipping lanes, then leaping off the continental shelf and over the infamous Labadie Bank, spearing deep into the vast North Atlantic swell. There’s no going back now. Next landfall is the stark outline of the Fastnet Rock with its haunting light piercing the late summer mist off the green and wreck-laden shores of Southern Ireland.

The familiar North Atlantic swell will soon become a surfer’s paradise as the faster, lighter downwind machinery take full advantage of a large following sea and a high octane spinnaker-powered sleigh ride back home, via Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse and the Scilly Isles.  A final sprint down the Channel and into Plymouth Sound marks the end of another Fastnet Race and a well-earned party and perhaps a cold beer!

Why not make 2017 your year to do something truly remarkable? We still have places available on our stunning 46ft race yacht ‘Impulse’.

2017 Fastnet Race Package
We offer a comprehensive programme covering classroom safety training, survival training, race training, 3 offshore qualifying races and the Fastnet race. 

Price: £3,990 or 12 x £350 per month

What's included:
• You'll be racing our stunning X-Yacht 46 'Impulse' for the 2017 Fastnet Race. She comes with a full wardrobe of North race sails and whilst big enough to offer exhilarating performance, she is still small enough to be really engaging to sail.
• Experienced professional race skipper and mate
• Race entry fees and on board expenses (berthing, diesel, gas etc)
• Loan of a fully compliant life jacket & all vessel’s safety equipment
• You are welcome to sleep on board the yacht during the training days or may choose to book a hotel locally.

Shorebased training – (pick from the following dates)
• 20th May, ISAF offshore safety
• 21st May, Sea Survival

Qualifying Races
• 29th-30th April,  Cervantes Trophy  Cowes – Le Harve.    
• 26th-28th May, Myth of Malham,  Cowes – Eddystone – Solent.     
• 22nd-23rd July,  Channel Race,  Cowes – Mid Channel – Solent.    

Fastnet Race   6th-12th August Cowes – Fastnet – Plymouth. 
Optional additional races (charges apply)
• 13th-14th May, De Guingand Bowl, Cowes – Channel – Solent.  
• 9th-11th June, Morgan Cup, Cowes – St Peter Port.                  
• 7th-9th July, St Malo Race, Cowes – Dinard/St Malo.  

What's not included:
• Wet weather gear
• Meals taken ashore
• Your travel

The Fastnet Race  is not a race for beginners, but with the training and the qualifying races included in our package you will have the experience necessary, not only to compete in this classic offshore race but to excel in it. What’s more, you’ll be competing on an X-yacht with a full wardrobe of high performance racing sails by North.

To book your berth or simply to find out a little more, please call us for a chat on 02380 001234 or email

Click here to watch the Channel 4 documentary featuring our victory in the 2016 Three Peaks Challenge. We’re looking forward to more silverware this year on our new X-46, Impulse.