How to follow the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race

Don’t miss any of the action from the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race with our essential spectator guide, plus follow progress from the race and all the news from the finishers in Cherbourg with Yachting World’s exclusive coverage.

Photo: Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

The newly extended 695-mile Rolex Fastnet Race is a true blue riband event and offshore classic, finishing for the first time in Cherbourg France and attracting a capacity fleet which sells out within minutes.

This edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race brings  a superstar line up of some of the sport’s biggest names and leading edge race designs.

Here’s how to follow the 2021 Fastnet and keep up-to-date with all the action…

How to watch the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race

The race starts from one of the world’s most famous yachting locations: the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, 8th August 2021.

Fastnet TV will cover the entire start sequence live. It will be streamed online from the official Fastnet Race website, via Fastnet Radio and on RORC Facebook live with expert commentary of the build up and for the entire start sequence, right through to the fleet leaving the Solent.

The fleet leaves the Solent at the start of a Rolex Fastnet Race

Fastnet Radio will be broadcasting on the Cowes Radio frequency 87.7FM on start day, Sunday 8th August, and simulcast with Fastnet Radio in Cherbourg on 87.9FM.

Wetwheels offers the opportunity for Rolex Fastnet Race crews’ less able family members to watch the start of the race leaving from either The Hamble or The Solent. Book Here

When does the Rolex Fastnet Race start?

The start sequence begins at 1100 (BST) for the 49th edition, with an entry list that currently includes two time Olympic Gold medalist  Shirley Robertson who is racing double-handed on the Sunfast 3300 Swell; Brian Thompson, who has broken 33 world sailing records, on the Argo MOD70; IMOCA stars such as Sam Davies, Jerémie Beyou and Alex Thomson; and Fernando Echavarri (Olympic Gold medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper) who is skipper of the top-rated yacht in the fleet, the incredible brand-new 43m Club Swan 125 Skorpios. 

Time Class
1100   Multihull
1115   Imoca 60 and Class 40
1130   IRC 4
1145   IRC 3
1200   IRC 2
1215   IRC 1
1230   IRC Z and VO65

How to watch the Rolex Fastnet Race from the shore

Due to the Covid pandemic it is important to observe social distancing regulations when in a group even outside. 

The best vantage points of the start will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade on the Isle of Wight.

The live Fastnet Radio commentary will also be broadcast from speakers along Cowes Parade and The Green.

As the fleet funnels out of the Solent there will also be a good chance to see the yachts from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, and Hurst Castle on the mainland is another traditional spectator point to see the fleet as it heads into open water.

Further along the coast Anvil Point, St Alban’s Head, and Portland Bill should each give a good view of the race on its outbound leg – follow the tracker (below) to know when the race fleet is approaching.

Where does the Rolex Fastnet Race finish?

Cherbourg-en-Cotentin will host the arrival of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time and Port Chanteryne will welcome the fleet.

The new finish across the channel should be a great showcase for Normandy and a first for the race, which has traditionally finished in Plymouth. 

The 2021 Fastnet Prizegiving will take place on Saturday 14 August.

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Rolex Fastnet Race winners

Rolex Fastnet Race winners

The class winners of the Rolex Fastnet race were announced at 1100 Friday 17 August