Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) is delighted to announce that it will be entering the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race – the world’s largest offshore race – with no less than three of its iconic 72ft Challenger yachts, to raise awareness of its vital youth development work.
2023 sees the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race, a biennial, 695-nautical mile race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). The race commences from Cowes, Isle of Wight on Saturday 22 July, concluding in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France via Fastnet Rock, Ireland.
For the race, one of TSYT’s Challengers will be crewed by young people aged 16-25, while the other two vessels will be crewed by adults who are fundraising to enable the young people to participate free of charge.
TSYT CEO, Alastair Floyd, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race. Adventurous racing opportunities like this one are a key part of our new three-voyage programme, which aims to support young people on their journeys into adulthood.
“Our participation in this year’s race is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise the profile of the vital work we do to empower young people from across the UK.”
The youth crew will be made up of young people who have previously voyaged with TSYT and been recommended to return and train as a volunteer Watch Assistant or Watch Leader.
Following overwhelming demand from young people to participate in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race, TSYT will finalise its youth crew following a six-day training and selection voyage in April.
Alastair adds: “As the UK’s oldest and largest youth development sail training charity, we are dedicated to helping young people nationwide to ‘sea beyond their horizon’ as part of a life-changing voyage.
“The Rolex Fastnet Race is not only a once-in-a-lifetime voyage but an incredible test of endurance which is why, when selecting our youth crew for the race, we’ll be giving priority to the young people who can clearly demonstrate that the opportunity would have a significant positive impact on their lives, which they otherwise would not be able to experience.”
In addition to the youth crew, TSYT is collaborating with First Class Sailing (FCS) to offer amateur sailors the opportunity to participate in the prestigious race as part of the adult crew.
This is the latest effort in TSYT’s and FCS’ long-term partnership to bring adventurous and exciting sailing voyages and races to sailors across the UK.
FCS Principal, Charlie Tulloch, said: “We are excited to again be working with Tall Ships Youth Trust to offer our customers what will be our eighth Fastnet campaign with the charity, on a 72ft Challenger yacht.
“The Challengers are an ideal boat for the Rolex Fastnet Race and the RORC qualifying races – a great offshore boat, strong and a lot of fun to sail.
“We have a particular affinity with TSYT as we understand the power of sail training. The work they do is hugely life-changing to young people’s lives.”
In the previous edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2021, Zoë d’Ornano sailed with TSYT and became the youngest ever competitor in the race’s history, at age 12 (above).
Competing alongside her parents, Zoë helmed a 16-strong, internationally formed crew from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the USA. The diverse crew also featured several notable yacht designers.
As part of her efforts in the race, Zoë exceeded her £10,000 fundraising target, raising a total of £10,550 to give 12 disadvantaged young people a life-changing voyage with TSYT.
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