Rolex Fastnet Race 2023
Ever since Nic was young he has always wanted to compete in the Fastnet race. This year the Fastnet celebrates its 50th anniversary and with Nic swiftly approaching his 50th year, it was time to tick this adventure off the bucket list.
The Rolex Fastnet Race takes place every two years, attracting both seasoned professionals and enthusiastic amateurs. It’s considered one of the toughest offshore races held around UK waters. This prestigious race has always been extremely demanding but in 2021 the finish line was moved to Cherbourg – adding nearly 100 extra nm and making the race 695 miles long.
On Saturday 22nd July 2023 at 13:00, 485 vessels will start the 50th edition of the world’s largest offshore race from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes.
Nic will be racing on a Volvo 70 called Green Dragon. She is no stranger to races and came 5th in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race when captained by Ian Walker.
In mid-July, Nic will be joining the rest of the crew onboard Green Dragon in Vigo, Spain for a 640-mile qualifying passage to Portsmouth.
Green Dragon boat specifications
Builder: McConaghy Boats
Hull Designer: Reichel Puch
Model: Volvo 70
Year Built: 2007
LOA: 21.5m / 70.5ft
Beam: 5.70m / 18.70ft
Draft: 4.50m / 14.76ft
Displacement: 14500kg / 31967lbs
Engine: 1 Volvo D2 (75hp) Diesel
Top speed: +30 knots
Sail area: up to 770m2 consisting of a 3Di main and J2
In 2016 the underwater ship was completely stripped down to the original hull filler and was built up with a new system of Veneziani’s Speedy Carbonium. 2018 she was repainted and had new hydro turf in the cockpit and a new mast in 2018. 2019 she had a new vinyl wrap.
Hull: Carbon composite
Superstructure: Carbon composite
Deck: Carbon composite
Keel: canting keel with hydraulic rams
Dagger boards : 2 (+ 2 spares)
History of the Fastnet Race
The Fastnet Race is a famous offshore yacht race that takes place biannually in the waters off the south coast of England and Ireland. It is considered one of the most challenging and prestigious sailing events in the world. The race covers a distance of approximately 695 nautical miles (1,287 kilometres) and attracts sailors from around the globe.
The origins of the Fastnet Race can be traced back to the late 19th century when the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) was founded in London in 1925. The RORC aimed to promote offshore racing and organised its first major event, the Fastnet Race, in 1925. The race was named after the Fastnet Rock, a rugged islet off the southwest coast of Ireland, which serves as a turning point in the race.
The inaugural Fastnet Race saw a fleet of seven yachts participating, with Jolie Brise emerging as the winner. Over the years, the race grew in popularity, attracting more participants and international attention. It quickly gained a reputation for its demanding nature, characterised by challenging weather conditions, strong tides, and the potential for gale-force winds in the Celtic Sea.
1979 Fastnet Race
In 1979, the Fastnet Race faced a tragic turn of events. That year, a severe storm with hurricane-force winds struck the fleet. This caused the loss of several boats and the lives of 15 sailors. The disaster led to significant changes in safety regulations and the development of new safety equipment and practices within the sailing community.
Despite the tragedy, the Fastnet Race continued to grow and evolve. It became a highly regarded event, attracting both professional and amateur sailors, as well as world-class racing yachts. The Fastnet has witnessed numerous technological advancements, in both yacht design and navigation systems which reflect the continuous progress in offshore sailing.
In recent years, the Fastnet Race has seen record-breaking performances. 2011, the 100-foot maxi yacht “Rambler 100” set a new course record, completing the race in just 1 day, 16 hours, 38 minutes, and 36 seconds. The race is not all about breaking records but the spirit of adventure, camaraderie, and seamanship.
The Fastnet Race today
Today, the Fastnet Race continues to captivate the sailing community. It attracts a diverse range of participants, from seasoned professionals to passionate amateurs. A challenging and unpredictable race which tests the skills, endurance, and resilience of sailors. As they navigate the waters of the English Channel and the Celtic Sea on their journey to the iconic Fastnet Rock and back to Cherbourg.
The Fastnet Race holds a special place in the history of offshore sailing, with its rich heritage, triumphs, and tragedies. It stands as a testament to the courage and determination of sailors who have embraced the challenge of conquering the elements and pushing the limits of human achievement in the world of yacht racing.