A WORLD famous offshore sailing challenge that starts from in the Solent has secured backing from its sponsor until 2021.

Rolex has confirmed there is plenty of time left in its relationship with the Fastnet Race, a bi-annual 608 nautical mile race from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, round the notorious Fastnet Rock to Plymouth.

Race Commodore Mike Greville said: "Our relationship with Rolex is a true partnership and in the past 11 years, we have seen the Rolex Fastnet grow in international stature, strength and popularity.

“Together with Rolex, we look forward to further developing one of the toughest challenges in offshore yacht-racing for the benefit of the participants and spectators alike."

The next Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday, August 11, from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. Entries for the race open in January 2013.