Record Open 60 entries but trouble for Velux 5 Oceans

Highs and lows for British ocean racers

A record number of British skippers have signed up for next year’s non-stop Vendée Globe round the world race. Six UK yachtsmen are among the 25 sailors who have already committed to race and more may join the fleet before the start next autumn. 2008 will mark the event’s 20th anniversary.

The UK sailors are Steve White, Alex Thomson, Jonny Malbon, Mike Golding, Samantha Davies and Dee Caffari.

Ocean racing in Open 60 yachts is going from strength to strength but there has been bad news for the Velux 5 Oceans race.

IMOCA, the class association for Open 60s, has published its list of recognised events for 2008-2012 and has not included the Velux 5 Oceans that is scheduled to start in 2010.

The 2008-2012 IMOCA event calendar will be based around:

– Vendée Globe in 2008
– Barcelona World Race on December 31st 2010
– Vendée Globe in 2012

Responding to the announcement by IMOCA, David Adams, Race Director of the VELUX 5 OCEANS commented, “The Race Management Team supports IMOCA’s move to better organise the class. We struggle however with the idea that there is only room across four years for two round the world races, and that both should be non stop. We also believe that the Barcelona and Velux 5 Oceans races are fundamentally different events and appeal to different skippers and their sponsors.”

Meanwhile, the Transat Jacques Vabres is due to start on 3 and 4 November. The two-handed race runs from Le Havre to Bahia, Brazil. Among the British sailors competeing are Dee Caffari and Nigel King, Jonny Malbon and Graham Tourell, Mike Golding (with Bruno Dubois), Samantha Davis (with Jeanne Grégoire).