Cherbourg to host finish of prestigious yacht race for the first time

PUBLISHED: 11:05 30 July 2021 | UPDATED: 11:05 30 July 2021

Cherbourg has an impressive seafaring history © rdou Getty Images

Cherbourg has an impressive seafaring history © rdou Getty Images

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The Normandy port town will host the finish of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race in 2021 and again in 2023

The Normandy port town of Cherbourg will host the finish of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time in the event’s history this summer. First established in 1925 and now held every two years in August, the famous race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), usually finishes in Plymouth after departing from Cowes on the Isle of Wight. From there the over 600-mile course follows the southern coastline of England before crossing the Celtic Sea and rounding the Fastnet Rock off the south-west coast of Ireland. However, this year, after setting sail from Cowes on 8th August, participants will have their sights set across the Channel as they make their way to the finish line in Cherbourg.

Located at the northern end of the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy’s Manche department, Cherbourg was chosen to host the finish in 2021 in order to open up the race to more competitors and accommodate increased fleet sizes. The 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race had 388 yachts on the start line from 27 different nations and a waiting list of 150 boats. Cherbourg will also fulfil the same role in 2023.

The Rolex Fastnet Race will finish in Cherbourg for the first time in summer 201 © Rolex/Kurt ArrigoThe Rolex Fastnet Race will finish in Cherbourg for the first time in summer 201 © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Sailing enthusiasts can enjoy the lively atmosphere in the race village as well as a programme of festivities organised by both the festival and the town of Cherbourg. With its impressive seafaring history, the Normandy port’s rich maritime heritage means there are plenty more attractions on offer too, from the Cité de la Mer museum set in the former Art Deco transatlantic terminal building to La Redoutable, a disused French nuclear submarine and the world’s largest submarine open to the public.

“Our port is used to hosting major sailing events and is looking forward to being the arrival city for the next two editions of the Fastnet Race,” said Benoît Arrivé, mayor of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin.

“Finishing the Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg will encourage and secure the continued growth of the Club’s most prestigious event and provide an enhanced competitor experience. The enthusiasm of the French for offshore racing is also legendary,” added Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Commodore Steven Anderson.

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