First of fifteen Beneteau First 47.7 yachts arrives in UK for OKI European Challenge

The first of fifteen Beneteau First 47.7 yachts ordered for the new OKI European Challenge has arrived in Southampton. The race, billed as the first ‘democratic’ yacht race, aims to open yacht racing to people of all backgrounds and abilities through business funding. Each yacht, sailed by a qualified skipper, will undertake a 5,000 mile course from Poland to Monaco, calling at ports in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The yachts will be manned with a crew of nine, each of whom will pay less than £100 per day.

The yacht is expected to be joined by two more of the fleet in late April. These three yachts will form the core of the event’s training, corporate and promotional programmes for 2004, preparatory to the race in 2005. The remainder of the fleet will be delivered during the next year.