Local sailors will be among a record-breaking 400-yacht fleet that will set off from Cowes next month as part of the world’s largest offshore race.
Around 3,000 crews will strive for the much-coveted Fastnet Challenge Cup as they depart from the Royal Yacht Squadron on the 605-nautical mile adventure on Saturday, August 3.
Teams from as far away as Australia, China, USA and Russia - as well as from almost every county in the British Isles - are drawn by the history and sporting lure of the greatest offshore contest. They will represent 26 different countries.
This biennial pilgrimage attracts crews from all walks of life - from aspiring sailors, to professional crews of all ages and all professions.
Some will race for charity, others for a personal challenge.
For the world’s top professional sailors, it is a ‘must do’ race.
For some it will be their first ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years!
The race course is from Cowes to the Fastnet Rock, off southwest Ireland, and back around the Scilly Isles to Plymouth.
The spectacle of the start showcases the most diverse range of yachts imaginable and is watched by hundreds of spectators who will line the shores of the Solent and beyond to see the fleet off.
Entries opened for the race in January and it was full in under five minutes this year!
The first race took place in 1925 with seven boats, and apart from missing a few during wartime years, it has been run biennially ever since.
Its reputation precedes it as the ‘Everest’ of offshore sailing challenges and 2019 sees the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Fastnet Race in which 15 sailors lost their lives.