The first two entries for the inaugural Global Ocean Challenge 2007/08 have been announced 2/3/06

Global Ocean Sailing Ventures, the organisers of the first ever solo-double global ocean race have announced the first two entries of the Global Ocean Challenge 2007/08 (GOC).

Boston businessman Joe Harris will race solo in the 50ft division and Australian Sibby MacFadyen will enter the 50ft double-handed division.

The inaugural running of the event will mark the first time an around-the-world yacht race has both a single-handed and double-handed division in the same event. The race will start from a European port and sail a traditional course around the world stopping in South Africa, New Zealand, South America and the United States.

Seventy-two competitors have registered their interest to be on the start line, including entrants from as far away as Japan and Poland.

Joe Harris, one of America’s top solo offshore sailors, will race his Finot designed Open 50 Gryphon Solo, the same boat that won class two of the last Around Alone race. Gryphon Solo has undergone a series of optimization changes since the Around Alone and will be one of the most competitive Open 50s in the Global Ocean Challenge.

Joe Harris said: “I am thrilled to be signing up for this great new race. The race route and format is fantastic. I have been planning my entry for many years and dreaming of doing a circumnavigation that takes in some of the world’s great cities as well as traversing some of the toughest sailing waters on the planet. I look forward to some intense competition.”

Australian based offshore racer Sibby MacFadyen will compete double-handed with her ex-husband Ivan McFadyen aboard their Robert Hick designed 50-footer Team Funnel-Web. The duo have raced successfully in a number of major Southern Hemisphere races including the Sydney to Hobart and the Melbourne to Osaka race.

“The format of the Global Ocean Challenge is perfect for us,” said Sibby MacFadyen. “We have long dreamed of racing around the world and stopping in some great places, and the Global Ocean Challenge does just that. Ivan and I look forward to being on the start line in September 2007 and racing against some of the top shorthanded sailors in the world.”