Tracy EDWARDS MBE (GBR) has, yesterday morning, announced a £38 million four-year sailing sponsorship deal with the Gulf State of Qatar to be known as Quest International Sports Events.
In this, possibly the largest ever sailing sponsorship deal in the UK, Edwards not only secures funding for her own maxi cat challenge, which includes another attempt at the Jules Verne early next year, but ensures the entire financial backing for two new sailing events.
The first new event scheduled for January 2005, is the Oryx Cup - a non-stop, global race for giant multihulls starting and finishing in the UK with a US1million prize for the overall winner. Plus there'll be a special prize for anyone breaking the Jules Verne.
The second, the Qatar Sports Global Challenge, open to ocean-going multihulls and monohulls over 100ft and 110ft respectively, will start from Doha in December 2006. And although this event will have a total of five stopovers including locations in the Far East and America and countries that haven't necessarily been involved in ocean racing before, Edwards says she will announce the exact venues at the Schroder London Boat Show in January 2004.
Interestingly, and not surprisingly owing to the fact the event and announcement's been kept under wraps until now, there are no other confirmed entries. Edwards did however, point out there was interest from other teams but couldn't say who at this stage.
To encourage a decent entry, there'll be free entry for the first year of the Qatar Sports Global Challenge. Edwards commented: "We've decided to waive the entry for the first year to give people time to find sponsorship and make it as easy as possible to enter."
In addition to this race, in the build up to the Global Challenge, all participating yachts will take place in the first ever Suez Parade from the UK to Qatar, arriving in Doha at the beginning of December 2006, this will coincide with the staging of the 15th Asian Games which runs from 1-15 December.
For the full Article, please visit www.ybw.com at the address below.