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.
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.
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 is based on everyone’s availability
The RYA / ISAF offshore safety training will be scheduled around peoples availability. 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 – Cowes to Dieppe (Approx 130m) – 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)
Sunglasses – polarised are best as they got glare
Quick drying towel
For offshore racing, we also recommend:
Warm hat for night sailing (in addition to a sunhat)
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
Code 0 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 Hamble Yacht Services. Our adventures start here! Hamble Yacht Services offers easy access from the M27, has plenty of parking and nearby access to the bars and restaurants of Hamble.