Catch the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race here.
The first start got underway at 12:00 BST (1100UTC) on Sunday 16 August, in light winds.
Around 390 yachts from over 25 countries are set to take part, representing a new record even for this legendary competition (comfortably surpassing the current best of 336 starters in 2013).
It is a fitting tribute to the biennial race in a year of landmark celebrations: 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the first edition when seven intrepid yachts set sail, the winning yacht Jolie Brise finishing in just over six days; likewise it’s the 90th birthday of race organizers Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), which was founded in the days immediately following the end of the first race. The Royal Yacht Squadron’s bicentenary will also receive a nod, with the start procedures being conducted once again from its clubhouse overlooking the Solent. Both these esteemed yacht clubs enjoy a long association with Rolex, partners of the race since 2001.
Following the departure from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at Cowes, the Rolex Fastnet course takes the fleet down the English Channel ahead of the open water passage across the Celtic Sea and the symbolic turn around the Fastnet Rock off the southern coast of Ireland; a rounding that heralds the race’s emblematic moment as the fleet embark on the long return leg and the finish in Plymouth. 603 nautical miles of tactically challenging sailing in unrelenting conditions await this intrepid fleet.