Lack of entries could force postponement of Global Ocean Challenge 8/12/06

Although there has been an amazing amount of interest in the forthcoming inaugural Global Ocean Challenge, lack of entries at this late stage of the race with just 10 months to go to the start is causing a certain amount of concern for the organisers Brian Hancock and Joss Hall.

This solo/doublehanded 40 and 50ft round the world race with stopovers which is scheduled to start next September has attracted 108 formally registered participants, but according to Hancock only eight of them have officially entered.

Although Hancock agrees that the situation is not an ideal he firmly believes that there will be between 20-25 boats on startline next year. Chatting to earlier today Hancock said: “We really hoped by now to have announced our sponsor and the start port. I am confident this will happen soon and we should then start seeing more entries sign up.”

Included in the entry list so far are brothers Lenjohn and Peter Van der Wel, both Superyacht skippers who have made a living as professional sailors. They will be competing in the doublehanded class in an Express 40 which is the first in a series of Owen-Clarke designed Class 40s that UK sailor and entrepreneur Paul Metcalf is building. Metcalf himself is also hoping to sign up having pencilled his name next to Express 40 hull number 6. Other entries so far include Stuart Williams from Newport Rhode Island who’ll be sailing a Roger Martin 40 in the doublehanded class, and Jo Harris who’s opted for a solo campaign in the 50ft class.

Another interesting entry, although not officially confirmed yet, is Scottish sailor John Mackay who hopes to have a new Owen Clarke Open 50 design GOC 50 built. Fifty-four-year-old Mackay says he not only hopes to win the event but aims to bring attention to world poverty through his Sailing for Justice foundation hoping to draw global attention to the fight against poverty.

Commenting on yesterday’s entry announcement Mackay, who’s planning to paint the hull, deck and cockpit as well as the leading edge of the sails of his yachtRainbow Messengertartan said: “My message is about giving 30 million destitute people a year the chance to live. Men, women and children who otherwise are going to die. Each life lost is precious. Each life lost is irreplaceable? I am going to invite a celebrity, a rock star or TV personality to sail a leg with me. Together we will bring focus to this international disgrace of starving children?”

Although it’s not been confirmed yet Hancock did admit that in order to ensure the event runs properly they would need at least 10 boats officially signed up for entry before the Spring, concluding: “We think there is a good market for this race and we’d rather postpone it by a year rather than risk running a poorly-supported event. Basically we need 10 secure entries by next Spring otherwise we might consider postponing the race for a year.”