Here's the latest missive from Global Ocean Race organisers to prospective skippers of the forthcoming race 12/3/07

The latest missive to prospective skippers of the forthcoming Global Ocean Race from organisers announces the postponement of the start of the first race. This solo/doublehanded 40 and 50ft round the world race with stopovers was scheduled to start this September.

We apologise for the period of silence from ourselves over the past few weeks but we have been involved in some fundamental issues regarding the GOC.

We have some good news and some, depending on your perspective, less than great news to relay to you now and would ask that you regard this information as confidential for all the obvious reasons.

As many of you know we have been in protracted discussions with the Portuguese city of Lisbon for the last 10 months and we have traveled there for meetings on 8 different occasions.

Our most recent visit was two weeks ago and despite our best efforts we were informed that due to a local government corruption scandal that occurred there in early February (that involved specifically the Vice-Mayor with whom we had been dealing) that they were unsure if they could carry out their sponsorship of the event. This of course was shocking news to us.

The good news is that our plan B is rapidly bearing fruit. We have been holding concurrent talks with the city of Portimao in the Algarve region of Portugal. After Lisbon delivered their news we immediately contacted them and have been in negotiation with them for the last two weeks.

We plan to make a formal announcement in mid-March, but normally in the very next few days we will be contracting with Portimao to host the start and finish of the race and be the title sponsor. There is one major change to the event which is one of the reasons that we are contacting you now with his information and we sincerely hope that it does not have an adverse impact on your participation.

Due to a busy event calendar in 2007 and for budgetary reasons, we have agreed with Portimao that the GOC will in fact be postponed one year and the start will now be in September 2008.

Having also been contacted by many potential entries requesting a delayed start to allow more time for sponsorship seeking and boat construction/preparation, we expect the fleet to be even larger in 2008 than in 2007. For one it does not conflict with the Route du Rhum, an event that has attracted many Class 40 entries.

As soon as we have announced this deal with Portimao we will be issuing our Notice of Race which has been ready for a while now and we will be formally opening up the entry inscription.