World Cruising Club has received its first official entry for the Corinthian Challenge 2006/7 round the world yacht race from Hilary COOK and Peter HOPPS, who will race their newly acquired ex-Whitbread yacht, Innovation.
"From the moment we first heard about the Corinthian Challenge last year, when Sir Chay Blyth launched the race we've been looking for a yacht,"
explains Hilary. "I'm hoping to have a career break from my City job with Barclays, who are typically very supportive of this sort of project."
"Both Peter and I have fond memories of the first Whitbreads, which featured our heroes; Sir Chay BLYTH, Sir Peter BLAKE and Claire FRANCIS, and hoped to have the opportunity to compete ourselves in the future. However over time the race grew away from us and evolved out of our league. The concept of the Corinthian Challenge reflects the old Whitbread race ethos and has finally given us the opportunity to do what we've always wanted to do."
Despite being more than two years away, The Corinthian Challenge has attracted attention from around the world. It is expected that the first official entry will now encourage other entries for the race.
Sir Chay BLYTH, executive chairman of Challenge Business, of which World Cruising Club is a part, comments. "The first official entry is a major milestone for this inaugural event and brings it ever closer".
"The race will enable Hilary and Peter to finally fulfil their life long ambition of racing around the world. They have totally grasped the concept of the race and, as keen club racers, have searched diligently to find the right yacht for them and their racing crew."
Hilary and Peter's yacht, Innovation, was built in 1997 at the Kvaerner Shipyard in Norway. Following its Whitbread days, when it raced as Innovation Kvaerner finishing fourth with skipper Knut FROSTAD, it has been well maintained and more recently used for Baltic tours.
"Peter and I belong to the aptly named London Corinthian Sailing Club,"
Cook continues, "and we've already had lots of interest from within the club from potential crew members."
"We wanted the yacht because she was designed and built specifically to race round the world in and hence is safe. She's also relatively easy to sail, although with a low freeboard is extremely wet! I'm now getting teased at the sailing club for having "out toyed" the boys. This whole project is incredibly exciting for us. Personally I've never done anything like this before, so it's a huge challenge. I keep saying that if we can do this anyone can do it."
The Corinthian Challenge 2006/7 was originally inspired by Sir Chay BLYTH'S participation in the original Whitbread of 1974, when he and his crew took line honours in Great Britain II. The race, which starts in September 2006 from the United Kingdom is open to ocean going yachts and is being organised by World Cruising Club in conjunction with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.