L to R: Benoît Arrive, Marc Lefevre, Steven Anderson, Jean-Louis Valentin, Isabelle Vandenberghe and Geneviève Gosselin-Fleury


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The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, have announced that the City of Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the 2021 and 2023 editions of the biennial race, with Cowes once again hosting the start of the world-famous event.

The move of the finish from Plymouth to France encourages and secures the future development of the race and will open it to more competitors; in 2019 the race had a waiting list of 150 boats.

The City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, The Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Normandy Region have come together to support the race finish with a package that will enhance the competitors experience with increased berthing, enhanced shoreside facilities, competitor functions and events in this exciting development for the race.

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Since the first race in 1925, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has continued to push the boundaries of participation in offshore racing. This year’s Race had 388 yachts on the start line from 27 different nations. RORC’s aim is to foster greater participation and improve access to the race and enhanced facilities offered by Cherbourg will give the opportunity for more boats and sailors to take part in future years. The course will increase by 90 miles to 695 miles meaning for some boats an extra day or two at sea to finish the race plus the 70 miles back to home ports for those based in the UK.

Photos: RORC

Speaking about the benefits of Cherbourg as the finish venue, RORC Commodore, Steven Anderson, said:

“It is an exciting time for this iconic and extremely successful race. Finishing the Race in Cherbourg will encourage and secure the continued growth of the Club’s most prestigious event and provide an enhanced competitor experience. Enthusiasm of the French for offshore racing is legendary, and the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, The Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Normandy Region have been hugely passionate and committed partners in this initiative.”

Over the years there have been several French winners of the race. In 2013 ‘Night and Day’ with Pascal Loison were winners followed in 2015 by ‘Courrier Du Leon’ with Géry Trentesaux and in 2017 ‘Lann Ael 2’ with Didier Gaudoux.

RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen commented:

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“This is an exciting chapter in the history of the Fastnet Race and the founding fathers who competed in the very first race in 1925 will be proud that the race has survived all these years and seen unprecedented growth. City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, The Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Normandy Region will give the sailors a warm welcome. The French are known for their passion for offshore racing and French sailors regularly compete in and have won the Rolex Fastnet Race. These are exciting times for the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Rolex Fastnet Race as we continue to evolve and expand for the benefit of our members and offshore racing sailors worldwide.”

Final start dates for the 2021 & 2023 races will be confirmed soon, but could be either side of Cowes Week.


The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Something I’m not understanding here, the 2019 race had a ‘waiting list’ of 150 boats, there was obviously no shortage of prospective competitors ! So changing the finish to Cherbourg would presumably allow those 150 to take part and many more entries would be attracted, ?? I’m definitely missing the logic of this.

Also it won’t be ‘The Fastnet Race’ it will be ‘A Fastnet Race’


Why not start and finish the race in Cowes. If you can cater for the extra yachts at the start you can obviously do it at the finish and why go to France. Typical of RORC and yachting fraternity as a whole bugger tradition. They move Cowes Week to wherever they want and now this absolutely pathetic

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