Asian Yachts in Record Rolex Fastnet Fleet

92nd Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes, UK; August 6 (start), 2017

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

92nd Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes, UK; August 6 (start), 2017


YACHTS FROM CHINA, KOREA AND JAPAN are among the record-breaking 390 entries from 25 nations that have entered the 92nd Rolex Fastnet Race. The 605-mile race, which featured 356 yachts last year, starts at Cowes on August 6, rounds the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland and finishes just off Plymouth. 

Ark323, skippered by Li Yun, is a well campaigned Chinese entry in this year’s race. In 2015, this Botin & Carkeek-designed TP52 (ex-Sled/ Warpath) was the first yacht to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart with an all-Chinese crew. 

The GP42 Sonic, campaigned by Andrew Rho, is Korea’s first entry in the Rolex Fastnet Race. 

In the Class40, by far the biggest non-IRC class, Japan’s Hiroshi Kitada returns to the UK with his Pogo40 S3 Kiho, having competed in the 3,050nm Transat bakerly and the 2,897nm Transat Quebec St Malo in 2016. 

Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of race organiser RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club), said: “It is brilliant to see such a diverse fleet with huge international representation. The Rolex Fastnet Race is recognised worldwide as one of the most challenging 600-mile offshore races. 

“It combines the tidal challenges of the Channel, with headlands to negotiate on the English South Coast, with open ocean racing in the Celtic Sea going to and from that iconic landmark, the Fastnet lighthouse off southern Ireland. Add to these navigational challenges typically unpredictable English weather, which tests the seamanship and stamina of all the crew. This is why serious offshore sailors from all over the world want to take part.” 

When the entry list opened on January 9, the 340-boat limit for IRC entries was reached in 4mins 24secs. The non-IRC fleets will include over 30 Class40s, supermaxis including the 115ft Nikata, 100ft ‘Ultime’ class trimarans, Volvo Ocean 65s preparing to compete in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race and IMOCA 60s used in the Vendee Globe. 

More: rolex