Lake Garda is a very beautiful place an it seems that in this difficult times sail racing is increasing in popularity.
For the Fastnet, in a week they almost run out of inscriptions and they are opening the max number of entries allowing race boats over the 300 limit and even so they have more than a hundred boats on the waiting list
"Early entries for this year's Rolex Fastnet Race have broken all records and we have reached the limit on entry numbers just 10 days after we opened for entries. We are of course delighted that the race is so popular, the places we filled faster than we could ever have imagined.....
In an effort to absorb the large waiting list for the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club have decided to increase the number of places available to IRC yachts by removing the 'professionally' sailed classes from the 300 entry limit. The Volvo Ocean 70s, IMOCA 60s, Class 40s and Multihulls, who will race under their own class rules, will be counted over and above the previous 300 entry limit....
"We had to do something to satisfy the huge interest, and taking the non IRC yachts out of the total is a fair solution allowing more loyal RORC racers to get their boats into the race."
Removing the non-IRC classes will add about 50 more places to the total. "We are delighted that the Volvo's and IMOCA's want to compete in the race and that the Class 40's are coming en-masse," said RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen. "It shows the popularity of the Rolex Fastnet that these professionally sailed boats want to join the race."
Rolex Fastnet Race Homepage
This year's race should be very interesting (14 August).
It is also interesting that RORC starts to qualify IMS and other handicap racing as amateur racing.
It seems that sail racing is finally becoming professional. Not that I have nothing against amateur racing (just great) but all other racing sports have become professional and that is a necessary step for the increase of popularity, not among the ones that race, but among the Public, the ones that in the end pay the needed sponsorship to have great boats and great racing