On 6 August 2017, the starting gun will be fired from the Royal Yacht Squadron, one of the world’s most revered yacht clubs, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. It’s respect for the ideals and traditions of the sport offer a beacon for others to follow. In recognition of its privileged relationship, which began back in 1983, and to mark the special anniversary, Rolex presented the Squadron with a unique clock that does more than simply tell the time – it gives details about the state of the tide and barometric pressure: essential information for race officers and sailors alike. The club’s present headquarters at Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight is a true landmark, and “The Squadron Line”, an imaginary line stretching from the Castle northwards across the Solent towards the mainland shore, is used for the start of major races such as the Rolex Fastnet.
The Rolex Fastnet is an arduous yet absorbing adventure. During the month of August, the Atlantic shores of northern Europe, and particularly the British Isles, regularly witness westerly winds reaching gale force; harsh conditions are almost guaranteed for one or more stages of the race. The event’s history pays stark testament to the potential severity of the challenge. During the 1979 edition, a ferocious storm cost the lives of 15 sailors. The RORC reacted decisively and effectively promoting significant improvements in yacht design, safety equipment, the qualification process and race management. These advancements continue to resonate around the world today, and the RORC remains a leading reference within the sport.
The Rolex Fastnet Race is legendary within the world of ocean racing. First run in 1925 and held biennially since the 1930s, the 605 nautical mile race is one of the true tests of offshore sailing. Rolex has been a committed partner of the organizers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), for over 20 years and in 2001 became the first ever Title Sponsor of this pioneering race, which to this day continues to perform a pivotal role in the growth and evolution of the sport. The Rolex Fastnet, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, sits alongside the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as one of the pillars of Rolex’s unique and privileged relationship with yachting. The 47th edition will be held from 6 to 11 August 2017, and is set to welcome an impressive international fleet of over 350 yachts