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For the very first time, the port town of Cherbourg hosted the finish of the famous biennial Rolex Fastnet Race in August 2021.

For this year, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has big plans afoot for the Rolex Fastnet Race which celebrates its 50th edition. The world’s largest offshore race starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Saturday 22nd July, 2023, prior to the annual Cowes Week festivities (first week of August).

A challenging world-class offshore race

From seven participants in its first edition in 1925, the Fastnet Race is now held every two years and gathered more than 400 boats in 2021. The race starts off the Royal Yacht Squadron start line of Cowes on the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England. Leaving the Solent, the race follows the southern coastline of England westward down the English Channel, before rounding Land’s End. After crossing the Celtic Sea, the race rounds the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland. Returning on a largely reciprocal course, the race rounds the Isles of Scilly before finishing at Cherbourg.

The Rolex Fastnet Race 2023 will finish in Cherbourg, so let the countdown begin!

A first for the port town of Cherbourg

In August 2021, the finish was changed to Cherbourg from Plymouth in order to accommodate increased fleet sizes. Cherbourg is one of France’s greatchannel ports, closely linked to naval history and transatlantic adventures, and the Cotentin Coast is home to the many prominent water sports events. Bringing the Rolex Fastnet Race finish to Cherbourg means that the town and surrounding Cotentin peninsula are now part of a group of coastal territories linked to this legendary offshore race. Welcoming hundreds of sailors and hosting some entertainment throughout the town, Cherbourg is ready to put on a real show for the public!

La plage à Cherbourg
© Cotentin Tourisme

PLANNED festivities

A Race Village and other festivities have already been planned in Cherbourg so both locals and sailing enthusiasts from all over the world can enjoy the maritime festival. A giant screen will also be set up on the ‘Plage Verte’ (Green Beach) so that visitors can follow the race live.

DEPART OF THE RACE FROM COWES (isle of Wight) – Saturday 22nd July 2023


July 17-21, 2023: Preview week: Come and cheer on the sailors present in the port of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin before they leave for England for the start of the race.

20 July 2023: The sailors’ evening

22 July 2023: Opening of the finish village on the day of the race start, ideal for watching the start on the giant screens in the village

July 23-29, 2023: Arrival Week: Come and cheer on the race participants and take part in many activities.

Starting with the first arrivals from the 23rd of July, the daily influx of international competitors on a diverse range of boats, culminates in a memorable prizegiving to mark the 50th Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg on Friday 28th July 2023.

See you in July 2023 for the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race! While you wait for this edition, you can relive the excitement of this incredible week with the 2021 best-of video:

Useful information

Rolex Fastnet Race

How to follow the race: rolexfastnetrace.com/en/follow


17 – 29 July 2023

Coasteering in the Cotentin

Coasteering in the Cotentin

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Watersports with kids