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22 October 2003, 09:24 am
Ports Of Call Announced Today
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Global Challenge 2004/05

The fleet of 12 identical 72' race yachts, each carrying 17 Crew Volunteers and one professional skipper, will set sail from Portsmouth, GBR at the beginning of October 2004 for the first port of call, Buenos Aires (ARG).

At the end of November the yachts will leave the bustling South American marine port and encounter their first Southern Ocean stretch, spending Christmas and New Year at sea and rounding their first great Cape - Cape Horn before racing into Wellington, New Zealand.

Kerry PRENDERGAST, Wellington's Mayor, comments: "The Global Challenge is a fantastic event. I am delighted that Wellington has once again been chosen to host the New Zealand stopover. Wellingtonians absolutely love the Global Challenge and get behind it 100 percent. The next stopover in Wellington won't be any different. In fact, Wellington City is committed to making the next stopover the best yet! I look forward to welcoming all the participants and supporters of the Global Challenge to Wellington next summer."

In Wellington the yachts will undergo a major refit programme over the course of a month before a short sprint at the start of February takes them onto Australia's Sydney harbour, sailing past the imposing Sydney Opera House.

At the end of February 2005 the crews leave Sydney and will encounter the next Southern Ocean leg of their adventure, racing through the icebergs and chilling temperatures and onto the sunshine city of Cape Town, South Africa rounding the Cape of Good Hope en route. Pat LENNOX, directorate of economic development & tourism from the city of Cape Town, comments: "The great ocean races are good business for Cape Town and we in turn strive to make Cape Town a good stopover port for them. The Global Challenge is one of the big two and we will be working closely with the organisers to ensure that they are welcome, we are prepared and that we all benefit."

From Cape Town the yachts will race across the Atlantic, in May 2005, and onto Boston, USA. Ted AGNE, Race Committee liaison for the Corinthian Yacht Club, the official American host club for the event, comments: "The Boston Harbour Hotel and Rowes Wharf provide a magnificent venue for spectators to see close hand these incredible yachts and to meet the men and women who race them.

"We applaud the Corinthian spirit of this race, and our good friend, Sir Chay Blyth, for introducing literally thousands of people, from all walks of life, to yacht racing. We look forward to welcoming the fleet to Boston and the Corinthian Yacht Club."

The fleet will then race back across the Atlantic once again to the final port of call, a Northern European city - yet to be announced - before the homecoming in Portsmouth, UK.

The decision by Challenge Business builds on information from a global port tour by the company, analysis of recent world weather patterns and experience from three previous Global Challenges.

Simon WALKER, managing director for Challenge Business comments: "We've been taken aback by the enthusiasm and commitment that we've received from the ports we've visited.

"Making these final decisions has been extremely tough because each of the ports were eager to be chosen as a race stopover. All of them came back to us with very favourable presentations in order to secure this esteemed yacht race.

"However, after much scrutinising Buenos Aires, Wellington, Sydney, Cape Town, Boston and Portsmouth had what we were looking for and there are already some very exciting plans underfoot for the Global Challenge which has earned itself a prestigious reputation in round-the-world yacht racing."

The route has changed every time in the event's 11-year history, dependent on needs of the sponsors, the crew, the yachts and the event organisers themselves.

"There have been two major changes for the Global Challenge 2004/05," continue Walker. "Primarily we are taking the yachts to Buenos Aires for the first port of call, a decision we've made mainly as a result of safety issues. Having monitored the typical weather conditions over the past few years the pattern has shown an increasing risk of hurricanes, in the North Atlantic, in the autumn months when the race starts.

"During the first leg of the Global Challenge the crew are still early in their experience curve and sending them through the eye of a hurricane so early on is not necessarily the best for them or the yachts. The other change has been the decision to visit Boston as one of the final ports of call. This will make the route back to Europe much more predictable and aids the planning and success of the final stopovers for all concerned."

Global Challenge timetable:

  • Leg 1 starts 3rd October 2004 - Portsmouth to Buenos Aires (31 - 35 days at sea predicted, covering 6200 nmiles)
  • Leg 2 starts 28th November 2004 - Buenos Aires to Wellington (36 - 41 days at sea predicted, covering 6100 nmiles)
  • Leg 3 starts 6th February 2005 - Wellington to Sydney (7 days at sea predicted, covering 1250 nmiles)
  • Leg 4 starts 27th February 2005 - Sydney to Cape Town (35 - 41 days at sea predicted, covering 6200 nmiles)
  • Leg 5 starts 1st May 2005 - Cape Town to Boston (34 - 38 days at sea predicted, covering 6775 nmiles)
  • Leg 6 starts 19th June 2005 - Boston to northern European city (13 - 17 days at sea predicted, covering 3000 nmiles)
  • Leg 7 starts 12th July 2005 - northern European city (4 days at sea predicted, 300 nmiles)

The next decision for race organisers is the skipper selection, which will be announced next month, 12 November 2003, in London at a special ceremony in St Catherines Dock.

Rachel Anning (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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