Organisers of the 47th Rolex Fastnet Race saw record breaking take up, with the 340-boat limit reached in just 4 minutes and 24 seconds

Entry into the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race has surpassed expectations in record-breaking time, with the 340-boat limit reached in just 4 minutes and 24 seconds of registration opening.

The biennial 603-nautical mile race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

“The take-up of entries for the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race has been incredible. We expected to better the time it took to reach the limit in the last race of 24 minutes, but this is amazing,” explained RORC Racing’s Nick Elliott.

“It just exemplifies how sought after the places in the race are and confirms that it is a real sporting institution; one which every sailor wants to tick off their personal ‘bucket list’,” he stated.

The 47th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start in the Solent from Cowes, Isle of Wight, on Sunday 6 August, finishing in Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, the symbol of the race, located off the southern coast of Ireland.

“Seven boats raced in the first race in 1925 and the founding members of the RORC and its flagship event would have been in awe of their creation with 340 boats signing up so quickly today (9 January 2017),” continued Elliot.

“With all this interest, we expect a record-sized fleet to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, making the Rolex Fastnet Race by far the largest of the world’s classic 600-mile offshore races, in terms of participation. One not to be missed,” he added.

The First 40, Lancelot II was the first boat to enter the race, signing up just 12 seconds after the online entry system opened.

The next four boats entered shortly after: Arthur Logic, Pelgrim, Jolly Jack Tar and Moana.

Entries from 28 different nations have signed up and include; Great Britain, France (who have dominated the event in the recent years), Netherlands, Germany and USA, with an entry from Korea as well as from Australia and New Zealand.

The race has attracted the usual diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classics to some of the world’s fastest racing machines – and everything in between, racing in IRC or selected offshore classes such as IMOCA60, VOR65, Class40 and MOCRA Multihull.