The Fastnet Race is run every other year with yachts racing Cowes to the Isle of Wight to the Fastnet Rock off Ireland and back to Plymouth in Devon. The Washington Delaware yacht Nirvana took the line honours in a time of two days twelve hours and thirty-four minutes, a record which remained unbroken until 1999. Its owner was American businessman Marvin Green and the design was by Dave Pedrick who also made yachts for the prestigious America's Cup.
The Fastnet is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and one of the races that although amateur, is at the forefront of the design and technology of new build yachts. The overall winner is calculated by a system of handicaps and in 1985 the crew of Panda lifted the Challenge Cup. Singer with the group Duran Duran Simon Le Bon took part in this Fastnet Race on the Drum and was lucky with his crew to survive a capsizing. The Drum was repaired in time for the Whitbread Round the World Challenge five weeks later. In the 1979 Fastnet, fifteen competing yachtsmen and three rescuers lost their lives after a severe storm sank five yachts and caused at least seventy-five boats out of about three hundred to capsize.