Hundreds of motorboats at the start of the Fastnet

The Solent was packed full of motorboats to watch the starting of the Fastnet at Cowes

It may be a sailing event, but hundreds of motorboats were at the start line to watch the incredible multi-hull racers set off. Once the race started, the RIBs and powerboats were cruising at speeds of more than 20 knots just to keep up with the fastest boats, although Spindrift 2, which is likely to win the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race, is capable of hitting nearly 50 knots.
Heading down the busy Solent, a police boat escorted the pack leaders, with each of the huge trimarans having at least one RIB per sailing boat to keep spectators out of the way of the 130ft (40m) long 80ft (24.5m) wide boats, which at 20 knots, could do some serious damage to any unsuspecting boaters.
With helicopters flying just a few feet above the water, the Solent was alive with excitement, bridging the gap between power and sail.  

Most boats will take six days to complete the 600-mile course, although after just 24 hours, the fastest boats are around halfway. Keep up to date with their progress here.