The HUGO BOSS skipper has confirmed he will be taking part in the biennial Fastnet Race, which sees competitors race from Cowes, around Fastnet Rock and back to Plymouth

Alex Thomson will be racing in his local playground in August when he competes in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

He will be battling it out against the other boats as they leave Cowes to race the 605-nautical miles around the Fastnet Rock before finishing at Plymouth.

The race, which is held every two years, has seen record take up for the 2017 edition.

A yacht sails past the Fastnet Rock

Fastnet Rock. Credit: Rolex Fastnet Race

Thomson, who is currently on holiday after coming second in the gruelling 2016-17 Vendée Globe, will no doubt be looking to improve on the time set by Fastnet’s last winners in the IMOCA 60 class.

340 boats register for 2017 Fastnet Race in less than five minutes

2004 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou and America’s Cup helmsman Sebastien Col on PRB set a time of 3d 0h 9’ 53’’ when they crossed the finish line at 12:19:53 BST on 19 August 2015.

The pair managed to claw back the lead set by SMA, the former MACIF – winner of the 2012 Vendée Globe and the IMOCA 60 class in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race – after it rounded the Fastnet Rock first.

However, SMA was forced to retire when it missed the Bishop Rock mark of the course.

The 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, which is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in Cowes, starts on Saturday, 6 August.

For this edition, RORC has relaxed the limit of a maximum monohull length of 100ft (30.48m), following interest from a number of superyacht owners and skippers wishing to take part in the classic offshore race.

In the last Rolex Fastnet Race, there were two monohulls at this upper limit of 100-foot: Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard, who was competing in his 5th consecutive race, and from the United States Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s Maxi, Comanche.

Leopard competing in a race

Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard

The 100ft Comanche was the fastest monohull finisher in 2015, but narrowly missed the chance to break Ian Walker’s VO70’s 2011 monohull race record of 42 hours 39 minutes.

When the entry list opened on 9 January, spaces sold out faster than a Rolling Stones farewell concert. The 340 boat limit reached, incredibly, in just 4 minutes and 24 seconds.

And this figure excludes the non-IRC fleets which will include a giant international turn out of Class40s and significantly, will be the first occasion the eight VO65s, set to compete in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, will line up in anger.

When the Rolex Fastnet Race set sails from Cowes, close to 400 boats will make up the combined IRC and non-IRC fleets – the largest ever entry in the race’s 92 year history and a significant step-up from 356 in the last race.

Meanwhile,  some of the world’s most prominent grand maxis will be competing in the main IRC fleet.

The longest is the Judel Vrolijk 115 Super Maxi, Nikata, while Ludde Ingvall is bringing his radical DSS-equipped 100 footer CQS all the way from Australia.

One of the race favourites will certainly be George David’s Rambler 88, that just missed out on line honours in 2015.

The 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race sets sail from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to the north of Cowes at 1200 BST on 6 August.