RORC Rolex Fastnet Berth

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 7 customer ratings
(7 customer reviews)


Want the adventure of a lifetime? The Fastnet is one of the ultimate offshore yacht races and this is your chance to create a lifetime of memories and lifelong friends. This iconic event in the sailing calendar comes around every two years and tests yachtsmen and women to the best of their abilities. Whilst all necessary training is provided and there’s no specific pre-requisite qualification for this campaign, we do recommend having done at least the Competent Crew course or have similar experience.

Our 2019 Fastnet Campaign is now full.

Check out our other RORC Racing options for 2019

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Fastnet Race 2019 – Check out this short film of the 2017 crew in action!

Fastnet race crew in action, heading for home having rounded the rock

Every other year, RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) runs one of the worlds’ most famous yacht races, the Rolex Fastnet race.

This classic race takes part in some of the most challenging tidal and weather conditions, providing the backdrop for a most memorable experience.

Whilst completing the race is in itself a great achievement, our aim is to compete at the highest level. This is your chance to participate and lay claim to something few people can say they have achieved. This famous race tests yachtsmen and women to the best of their ability with the whole campaign clocking up over 1000 nautical miles of offshore racing & 500 miles of offshore sailing.

Fastnet Route

Polka is a meticulously maintained Beneteau First, fully prepped for racing. More information can be found here.

If you are looking for an experience that will leave you with some unforgettable memories and improve you as a sailor then look no further than doing the Fastnet with Marcus and Polka. Marcus is a brilliant skipper who will instil your confidence in him and the boat from the moment you step aboard.

Chris – 2017 crew

Campaign Schedule (draft)

The campaign will run over the 2019 season and include 2 practical and 1 shore-based training weekend, plus 3 qualifying races, culminating in the 608 nautical mile Rolex Fastnet race itself.

The purpose of the training races is twofold, firstly to gain the necessary RORC qualifying mileage for the Fastnet race and secondly to put into practice those skills worked on during the training weekends. As the qualifying races unfold we will look to hone our skills and will start to work the watch system necessary for offshore racing.

2019 Campaign Schedule:

First Training Weekend – 13th & 14th April 2019

Our first training weekend will give everyone a chance to meet up, get familiar with the boat & safety equipment and start to practice some of the many manoeuvres needed to sail efficiently around the race course. We will likely remain in the Solent (depending on weather) but will clock up a few miles. This is always a good weekend at the start of the campaign and a good forum to ask questions and get to know one another. Just a few weeks before our first race, we’ll get ourselves prepared for the hop across the channel after Easter.

Race One – Cervantes Trophy, Cowes – Le Harve (Approx 95 – 140m) – 4th May 2019

The first race of the RORC offshore season, the Cervantes Trophy starts early Saturday morning and takes us East out of the Solent before heading South to Le Harve. This relatively short race is a great way to get acquainted with offshore racing. Heading back over the channel after a brief stop in France we’ll be back in Hamble on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Second Training Weekend – 18th & 19th May 2019

Getting to the boat on Friday night, this weekend provides a great opportunity to reflect on the first race and to build on the skills learned during our first training weekend. Having completed the campaigns’ first (and for many their first ever) offshore race just a couple of weeks earlier, we’ll be able to focus on specific drills with a sense of context. This gives us a chance to hone our skills as a team and start to think about watches and watch systems.

Race Two – Myth of Malham Race, Cowes – Round Eddystone (Approx – 230m) – 25th May 2019

The second race of the campaign sees us take on the first leg of the Fastnet on the outward section of the Myth of Malham Race. Starting on Friday morning, departing west out of the Solent, we make our way through tidal gates towards the Eddystone Lighthouse, often rounding in darkness and returning to Cowes. This gives us a chance to start a proper watch system and provides a great flavour of what the Fastnet will be like. This is the longest of the qualifying races, finishing in Cowes meaning we’ll be back on terra firma with plenty of time to spare of the bank holiday weekend (depending on weather).

RYA / ISAF Offshore Safety training – Scheduled in based on peoples commitments

The RYA / ISAF offshore safety training will be scheduled around peoples commitment. If we are able to do the weekend course as a group that’s great, however sometimes it’s easier to schedule in around people prior commitments. The timings will be discussed with individual crew members.

Race Three – Morgan Cup Race – St Petersport, Guernsey (Approx 140m) –  21st June 2019

Starting on Friday evening, the course for this race is decided on the day, however, we will end up in Guernsey where a warm welcome awaits us at the Yacht Club. Following a short rest, we’ll head back to Blighty getting back on Sunday evening.

Rolex Fastnet 2019 (approx 608m) – 3rd August 2019

In a break with tradition, the 2019 Fastnet race is being held a week before Cowes week. Join the boat on Friday afternoon to prepare for the c1200 start on Saturday. The 608 mile Fastnet Race will last 5-6 days taking us past Lands End, across the Celtic Sea around the Fastnet Light House and back to Plymouth. The Rolex village (and more importantly the bar) is open 24hrs so no matter what time we arrive in Plymouth we’ll be greeted with the famous finish village atmosphere.

What’s included / what to bring

All our racing options include:

  • Accommodation on board the yacht, including meals, drinks and snack (meals and drinks ashore are not included)
  • Lifejacket and safety harness
  • All race entry fees
  • All yacht expenses (berthing & fuel)
  • Professionally qualified, insured  Skipper
  • Polka Sailing Team Polo shirt

What you’ll need to bring:

  • Enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved!
  • Wet weather gear – An outer, waterproof layer, with a hood

Marine Superstore has good pricing & normally a good ‘Sail Rail‘. We can also secure a discount on full price Musto clothing. Get in touch to find out more.

  • Several warm layers
  • Sailing gloves (not just for warmth, for handling ropes)
  • Waterproof, non-marking boots
  • Non-marking shoes or trainers
  • Sunhat (or cap)
  • Suncream
  • Sleeping bag

For offshore racing, we also recommend:

  • Warm hat for night sailing (in addition to a sunhat)
  • AIS PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) – Click here for options
  • Eye mask and earplugs (may help you sleep better when off watch!)


Polka – GBR912R

Polka is a meticulously maintained Beneteau First 34.7, fully race prepared. She has a carbon mast and rod rigging and flies an asymmetric spinnaker from a retractable carbon bowsprit.
We carry a full race sail inventory including:

  • Carbon Membrane Main Sail
  • Membrane Jibs (No. 1 & No. 3)
  • Heavy Weather Jib
  • Storm Jib
  • TrySail
  • Code 0 Asymmetric
  • A2 Asymmetric
  • A4 Asymmetric

Polka is MCA coded and compliant with ISAF category 1 offshore racing. She carries all the latest safety equipment, above and beyond the requirements of both bodies. All crew whilst onboard have a Spinlock Pro-sensor lifejacket allocated for their use. (The Skippers rules when to wear them will be applied at all times).

We sail from Universal Marina, our adventures start here! Universal offers easy access from the M27, has plenty of parking and on-site facilities including a great restaurant and bar.

There’s plenty of free parking on site.

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What others are saying

  1. Ivan Radountchev

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Ivan Radountchev

    Fastnet 2017! What a memorable experience!
    Thanks to Marcus and Polka Sailing. When I started my personal Fastnet Campaign nearly a year ago I looked at many websites, looked at many boat planning to participate in Fastnet 2017. What made me pick Polka was after a chat with Marcus, he shared his ideas and plans and I was convinced I will join the Polka Team. I was looking for a team I can be member of, where we all will share duties, learn and practice. Marcus delivered his plan very well. His knowledge, attention to details and great personal skills have been exceptional!
    I learned a lot, was involved in every aspect of racing and had a great time. As the rest of the crew. Not only during the Fastnet race itself but during the whole training and preparations.

    If you want to sit on the rails, keep your wellies dry and clean, tick an item off your bucket list look somewhere else.

    If you want to learn new skills, practice and improve your skills and If you want to have the best of knowledge and skills while enjoying every moment on board I recommend contactIng Marcus and Polka Sailing. He is already making plans for Fastnet 2019!

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  2. Chris Lear

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Chris Lear

    If you are looking for an experience that will leave you with some unforgettable memories and improve you as a sailor then look no further than doing the Fastnet with Marcus and Polka. Marcus is a brilliant skipper who will instil your confidence in him and the boat from the moment you step aboard. His passion and talent for teaching will help you develop into a more confident and competent sailor whatever your prior level of experience. Polka is an immaculately maintained yacht and the only real limits on what you can learn on this boat will be what you are prepared to throw yourself into. An incredible experience from start to finish – I’d do it all over again in a heart beat!

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  3. Ewa Franus-Branagan

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Ewa Franus-Branagan

    Completed Fastnet campaign 2017 and it was one of the best sailing experiences in my life. Want to do it again!!! And again!!! Learnt huge amount from Marcus and was super happy to sail on POLKA. Sailing with Marcus gives you an opportunity to do all the jobs on the boat and learn by working and not just …watching. Any team challenges were addressed in a very professional way. Another important hugely possitive thing from female perspective is the fact that all crew was treated equally, no male or female jobs, which was my struggle in the past. The atmosphere on the boat was great! Thank you Marcus for this opportunity and looking forward to sailing with you in the future!Ewa

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  4. Nigel Branagan

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Nigel Branagan

    Sailing with Marcus on Polka is an experience where you will learn a huge amount in a very short time. Sailing is never straight forward especially when racing so having someone with Marcus’s experience is essential. If you’re someone who likes an easy life and let other people do the work for you then Polka and racing is not for you, however if you’re willing to get struck in, learn from your mistakes and be involved in all aspects of the campaign from helming to bow work then you will not be disappointed.

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  5. Steve Bollen

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Steve Bollen

    I was part of the Fastnet 2015 campaign and had a fantastic time with Polka Sailing. Marcus is a great skipper: very experienced, cool under pressure and has an excellent coaching style. If you are new to sailing or have some mileage under belt he is a great skipper to learn more from. I have paid to go sailing with four private schools to date, Marcus has been the best to so far.

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  6. Sam Downs

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Sam Downs

    Completed the Fastnet campaign last year. Sailed to France, sailed to Jersey, sailed to Eddystone, completed an onshore safety course and then Finished the Fastnet Race. Even got the T-shirt! An amazing experience!

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  7. Paul Hughes

    Rated 5 out of 5

    Paul Hughes

    I was fortunate enough to be able to crew in two offshore races on board Polka during 2015, the second one being the Fastnet Race. Both were very professionally run and, though challenging, were fun to do. Marcus is highly recommended as a skipper and instructor. Looking forward to doing the Coastal Skipper theory course with him later in the year.

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