Fastnet fans dismayed at finish move

The finish of the Fastnet Race is moving from Plymouth to Cherbourg Photo: RORC The finish of the Fastnet Race is moving from Plymouth to Cherbourg Photo: RORC
Industry Database

Supporters of the Fastnet Race have expressed dismay that the iconic race’s finish will move from Plymouth to Cherbourg in France.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, has announced that Cherbourg will host the finish for the 2021 and 2023 editions of the biennial race.

The French city is putting in place a package that includes increased birthing, enhanced shoreside facilities along with new competitor functions and events. RORC Commodore, Steven Anderson, said that it was an exciting time for the race. “Finishing the race in Cherbourg will encourage and secure continued growth of the Club’s must prestigious event and provide an enhanced competitor experience,” he said.

“The race has grown steadily over the past two decades and more and more people want to take part. We have had to limit entries in recent years because of berthing constraints, but Cherbourg offers significant additional berthing and improved facilities for competitors, so we will be able to take a larger number of entries and give more sailors the opportunity to compete in this very special race."

British tradition

The new course will be 90 nautical miles longer and RORC says there is no decision yet on whether or not it will run before or after Cowes Week in 2021. Details of the announcement were made online in a Facebook Live broadcast with many watching opposing the decision.

Fastnet is “a British tradition and British race,” said Gareth Evans. “It should really finish in Great Britain.” Adrian Gray agreed, calling the news ‘stomach-churning’ whilst Paul Browning called it a ‘sell out of the many for the vested interest of the elite.”

The comments continued with Paul Cunningham saying that ‘a precedent has now been set; that the race finish can be moved to anywhere that is approximately 600-plus nautical miles from Cowes after rounding the Fastnet rock’ and Nick Barlow stating that the ‘additional distance will definitely favour the larger boats'.

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