Registration for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, start August 3, 340 spots available for the various classes, has been sold out in just over 4 minutes since the online form opened. This is enough to make one realize how iconic is what is considered as one of the most important peaks of the world’s highlands. First held in 1925, the regatta is now run biennially, and the one now starting is the 48th edition, 40 years after the tragic 1979 regatta that is remembered for being plagued by one of the most intense storms in the history of offshore sailing.
Countless points of interest for this 2019 edition, starting with important Italian presences: Pietro Moschini’s Cookson 50 Endlessgame in IRC 0 (where he will have as his opponent the twin Kuka 3 of Italian-Swiss Franco Nieggeler), Michele Antonini on a 20-meter Baltic (lehhi HERE his story) and Giancarlo Pedote with the Imoca 60 Prysmian group who will sail in tandem with Anthony Marchand.
The IMOCA 60 class itself is another big reason for interest: 20 boats entered, eyes on some of the new designs in the race such as Jérémie Beyou’s Charal and Sebastien Simon’s Arkea Paprec.
Instead, there will be 22 Class 40s, and among the sailors engaged in this class will be Andrea Fornaro on the Dutch 40 Moonpalace paired with Adriaan van Oord. Prominent among the maxi trimarans chasing the regatta record, 5 entries, are François Gabart on Macif, Thomas Coville on Sodebo and Franck Cammas on Edmond de Rothschild.
Among the monohulls in the hunt for real-time victory, eyes are on George David’s Rambler 88.
Departure will, as always, be from Cowes, in the Solent Channel, then course along the English Channel, on both sides of the prohibited traffic separation zone between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly, up through the Celtic Sea to Fastnet Rock, four miles off southwestern Ireland, then back south leaving Bishop Rock and the Isles of Scilly to the left and to the finish line in Plymouth for a total 605 nautical miles.