Another race round the world? Yes, Bruno Peyron’s The Race Tour will be the fifth running between 2004 and 2005

Less than a month after returning from his record-breaking non-stop circumnavigation, Bruno Peyron has announced plans for a race circuit based on maxi multihulls. Peyron confirmed back in October that The Race, the no-limits round the world event for maxi mulithulls that brought about many of the current generation, will run again in 2004. Now, he has added that this is to be just one element of a new ‘giant class international circuit’.

The non-stop race in 2004 will be followed in 2005 by The Race Tour, which will go round again with four stopovers. The stated purpose is to take the event to ‘strategic markets’. So far, no ports have been announced, although Peyron says the legs will go from Europe to North America, Asia and the South Pacfic. An annual championship will also be based on the ‘giant class’, formed from one of major events of that year, such as The Race, The Race Tour or the Trophée Jules Verne, and between four and six ‘officially sanctioned races or records from either the European circuit or the Pacific circuit’.

Much has been made of the timing of this announcement, which launches a self-contained racing programme similar to the ORMA 60 trimarans or the IMOCA Open 60s, mainly because it has been made just as the much-debated Volvo Ocean Race is finishing and the next is being confirmed. But it’s not just the Volvo that could get squeezed: 2004/5 is going to be very busy. The Race coincides with the run-up to the next Volvo Race, which overlaps with both the newly launched Antarctica Cup round the world race and the Vendée Globe.

Then there’s the Global Challenge (ex ‘BT’ – new title sponsor required), plus the new The Race Tour. All of which means that teams and syndicates – and, indeed, the race organisers themselves – will simultaneously be seeking sponsorship money for no less than five major round the world races within the space of a year.