With 4 days until the start of the fifth edition of the Vendée Globe, IMOCA (International Association for 60 foot Monohulls) presented their programme for 2005/06.
French yachting legend, Laurent BOURGNON will be naming Norbert SEDLACEK'S Brother this afternoon at 1400 GMT. Nick MOLONEY discusses his plans to race around the world to raise money for cancer research, in his Sail for Cancer campaign. The presenter of Big Brother, Davina MCCALL will be in Les Sables D'Olonne for tomorrow's naming ceremony of Alex THOMSON'S Hugo Boss, alongside Formula 1 racing driver David COULTHARD.
During a press conference held this Wednesday morning, IMOCA (the international association of 60 foot monohulls) announced the programme for the coming years. One of their aims is to accentuate the international aspect of the class, to make the boats as homogenous as possible by keeping a simple class measurement and creating two major events per year (one at the start of the year and another at the end of the year - with an emphasis on single and double-handed races). In 2005, three months after the finish of the Vendée Globe, the sailors will begin with a double-handed race (as opposed to crewed 2 years ago) around Great Britain, the Calais Round Britain Race (22 May), prior to the Transat Jacques Vabre in November. For 2006, the programme is not yet fixed. The double-handed race from the start of the season could be the Lorient-Les Bermudes-Lorient or even La Route de la Chine, before Five Oceans (ex-Around Alone) and/or La Route du Rhum.
Twice winner of the Route du Rhum from France to the West Indies, Laurent Bourgnon, will be naming the Austrian Norbert Sedlacek's monohull Brother at 1400 GMT today. Laurent will share this honour with Louis Cordier (8) and Arnaud Collot (28), who are both suffering from cancer and members of the charity «A chacun son Everest» (To each his Everest).
Keen to be racing for a similar cause, Nick Moloney aboard Skandia will be raising funds for the Sail 4 Cancer movement. Nick´s target is to make 42,000 pounds sterling which symbolises a pound for each of the approximate number of kilometres that he will cover. The campaign has recently become even dearer to Nick now that his father is suffering from the disease.
Continuing the run of naming events tomorrow, the presenter of the popular British emission, Big Brother, Davina McCall will be at the naming ceremony of Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss at 1600 GMT tomorrow. Joining her will be the Scottish Formula 1 driver David Coulthard. In addition to his race programme, Alex Thomson has racked up a fair number of miles aboard his Hugo Boss and for his sponsor's account. Some promotional campaigns are scheduled after the Vendée Globe in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean (Grand Prix in Monaco). These Public Relations operations may take the young Brit as far as Australia.
Amidst all this activity on the pontoons of the Vendée Globe 2004, Californian Bruce Schwab is still awaiting his sails. He is hoping that they will arrive this evening so that he can make some sea trials before the Thursday evening deadline for such trips.