Tracy Edwards and her crew have decided against another Jules Verne attempt in Maiden II next year in favour of preparing the boat for The Oryx Cup
Tracy Edwards and her crew have decided against another Jules Verne attempt in Maiden II next year in favour of preparing the boat for The Oryx Cup in 2005 and a special trip to the home of her new sponsor, the Gulf State of Qatar.
The boat, which set the world 24 hour distance record of 694 miles in 2002, is undergoing a complete refit to be ready for launch in new colours and under a new name in February next year. It will then sail from Cowes to Doha, the capital of Qatar, to establish an inaugural record for the distance.
When launching her new £38 million sponsorship programme last October, Edwards said that she wanted to make another attempt on the Jules Verne, before concentrating her efforts to stage The Oryx Cup non-stop race in 2005 and The Qatar Sports International Challenge in 2006. In the last Jules Verne attempt in 1998, Royal & Sun Alliance’s mast was shattered along with Edwards’s dream to set a new circumnavigation record.
Commenting on the change of plan, Edwards said: “Although I had always dreamt of taking part in another Jules Verne attempt, I soon realised when looking at the timescales involved that we need more time to prepare the boat for the start of The Oryx Cup in January 2005 – just 12 months away.”
Instead, the former Maiden II will undertake a series of record attempts in the Middle East next year that will provide the boat and the crew with the ideal preparation for the more demanding round-the-world challenge of The Oryx Cup.
Edwards continued: “I am happy to put my unfinished business with the Jules Verne to one side for the sake of the new races and to establish the Formula One of ocean racing.”
Brian Thompson, the new skipper of the boat, added: “Our priority must be to get the boat in the best possible shape for the start of The Oryx Cup in 2005. The crew understands the situation and we will combine some good ocean sailing with visits to show our sponsors just what a good investment they have made.”