Cornell launches global race for amateurs
Round the world race for production boats in 2016 will be a Corinthian event
Jimmy Cornell, the founder of the ARC, has launched a global race for amateur sailors. The World Odyssey will take competitors eastabout via the three great capes of the Southern Ocean in 2016/17. “I want to give ordinary sailors the opportunity to race on their own terms,” declares the three times circumnavigator who says he is responding to the aims and interests of amateur sailors.
“In recent years I have spoken to many owners of production boats who are keen to race around the world in a competitive event but see themselves excluded by the dominance of all current offshore races by sponsored high-tech yachts sailed by professional crews,” said Jimmy Cornell, who referred to this group as “the silent majority”. “The World Odyssey will answer this demand by bringing back the Corinthian spirit of earlier round the world races,” said Cornell.
In order to keep costs at a reasonable level, only production mono-hulled boats between 40ft and 60ft will be eligible, with no performance enhancing modifications being allowed to the standard design. Yachts will be rated under IRC and crews will have to prove themselves by undertaking qualifying passages. The only modifications to yachts might involve the addition of collision bulkheads and rudder strengthening. Cornell told Yachting World that the organisation could cope with up to 40 entries and depending on the level of interest a double-handed class might be considered. He said the race is scheduled to take place every two years.
The cost of the eleven-leg race has yet to be confirmed but Jimmy Cornell suggested that it could be around Euros 20,000 per entry with a flat rate across the fleet. Yachts carrying sponsorship, which will be allowed, may be charged more but the fees will include some free berthing and administration costs in ports of call.
The ten-month-long Odyssey will start in summer 2016 from a port in Atlantic France, possibly Bordeaux, and follow the traditional sailing route around the three great capes of the Southern Ocean, Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn. The 28,300 mile route has been divided into 11 legs, with stopovers in ports with good yachting facilities that are also attractive destinations. A longer stop has been planned in the New Zealand capital Wellington for families and friends to join the crews for the Christmas holiday season. Having successfully weathered the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn, an extended sojourn in Ushuaia will allow the crews to enjoy Patagonia during the austral summer.
During the circumnavigation, which will be ‘viewable’ via a tracking system, participants will take part in a number of oceanographic and meteorological projects by deploying autonomous scientific instruments, gathering and transmitting data from remote ocean areas from where there is an acute absence of up-to-date information on climatic conditions. In recognition for this contribution to scientific research, the World Odyssey will be run under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The idea of ‘citizen scientists’ appealed strongly to UNESCO said Jimmy Cornell.