A British team has signed up for a place in the Antarctica Cup

A British team has signed up for a place in the Antarctica Cup, bringing the number of entries in this “dash for cash” through the Southern Ocean to five, and adding one of the world’s premier ocean racing nations to the line-up.

The team, Brit XL, is represented by John Quigley, who has been involved with offshore and ocean racing for a number years, and includes renowned British navigator Mike Broughton, and former BT Global Challenge skipper Manley Hopkinson.

John Quigley commented about Brit XL’s ambitions, “our aim is to foster British excellence in offshore racing at an international level, this new race has appeared on the horizon, and it’s interesting, so we’re keen to get a British team involved.”

Expanding on this theme John Quigley continued, “Brit XL sees the Antarctica Cup as an interesting and exciting formula.

“The boat concept seems to make a lot of commercial, and competitive sense just as long as they are quick, spectactular and challenging, not forgetting safe!”

Referring to the likely sailing team he added, “announcement of names will follow selection. In the meantime a number of our people are still under contract elsewhere.”

Brit XL are building on the growing popularity of sailing in Britain, following the outstanding success of their team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and what sailors in Britain are calling the “Ellen factor”, referring to the success of Ellen MacArthur.

“We’ve got some outstanding people,” said Quigley, “and that is the key thing as far was we are concerned, if you take a step back and look, we’ve got some really top people, but they don’t make quite as much noise as other nationalities.”

The Antarctica Cup is scheduled to start from Fremantle, Western Australia, in December 2004, and is a non-stop race around Antarctica, with US$6.4 million in prize money, the most ever offered for a sailing race.

A fleet of identical Ron Holland designed 82 foot yachts is being built for the race.