French city gets solo race start and finish

The organisers of the Velux 5 Oceans yacht race have confirmed that the French city of La Rochelle will host the start and finish of famous solo ocean race. The news comes two years ahead of the official start date now confirmed as October 17, 2010, which will see the race set off from La Rochelle before returning to the historic maritime city in May 2011.

The city has an ideal geographical position for solo skippers to begin their amazing journey around the world, taking on the infamous Bay of Biscay before stopping at different cities throughout Africa, Australasia, South America and North America and then returning to France.

Race Director David Adams commented, “La Rochelle was always our number one target to host the start and finish of the Velux 5 Oceans. We wanted to come here as the city and the team on the ground met all of our criteria. It is an historical port city with strong ties to the sea, professional ocean racing and has an ideal geographical position. The skippers will benefit from world class dock facilities in the heart of the city and local expertise in all services for preparing racing yachts for this classic event.”

Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston concluded, “Legendary skippers from France have shaped the amazing history of the Velux 5 Oceans race and yet the event has never started or even visited these shores. We want to establish a close link to France and La Rochelle boasts a number of leading Open 60 sailors. Not only is the city such a beautiful backdrop, but we are also confident that the people of the city and its surrounding community will embrace this event and celebrate the amazing achievements of the competitors of The Ultimate Solo Challenge.”