The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the world’s best-known offshore races. Conceived by British sailor Weston Martyr in 1925, it’s organised every two years by the famous English yacht club Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), in collaboration with the Royal Yacht Squadron of Cowes, and in 2023 it celebrates its 50th edition. Since its beginnings, this legendary regatta has attracted elite sailors and enthusiasts from all over the world. With its rich history, its breath-taking course and the intense competitiveness, it’s one of the most iconic and prestigious events on the sailing calendar.
Named after the Fastnet Rock, off the south coast of Ireland, the regatta presents a formidable challenge, spanning 695 nautical miles. Departing from Cowes, Isle of Wight, the route follows the south coast of England westward, along the English Channel, crosses the Celtic Sea to reach the iconic Fastnet Rock, off the south-west coast of Ireland, then turns back, clearing Bishop Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, and setting course for the finish in Cherbourg, France.
The course record for monohulls is 42 hours 39 minutes, set by the VO70 Abu Dhabi in 2011, while for multihulls it’s currently 28 hours 2 minutes 26 seconds, set by Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. In 2021, the World Speed Sailing Record Council awarded Giovanni Soldini, aboard his Maserati70, the distance record on the Fastnet course, with a time of 23 hours, 51 minutes and 16 seconds.
For the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Class40 IBSA counts on a crew of four: Alberto Bona and Luca Bertacchi will be supported by expert offshore sailor Andrea Caracci and by Francesca Clapcich, who boasts two participations in the Olympics and two round-the-worlds with the prestigious Ocean Race.