Nick Moloney completed his first voyage onboard the Open 50 "OC1", arriving at Cowes, UK this weekend at the end of a five-week refit in preparation for the Route du Rhum

Nick Moloney completed his first voyage onboard the Open 50 “OC1”, arriving at the Offshore Challenges base in Cowes, UK this weekend after a five-week refit in at V1D2, northern France. Moloney and his shore support Richard Watkin, will now work on preparing the boat for the Route du Rhum in November, his prime objective with this Finot designed 50-footer. “There is a big list of work to do now, to get her race-ready – and plenty of learning for me as well – but its great to get out on the water with her, she’s a real weapon downwind,” commented a motivated Moloney.

Both Nick’s 50-footer and Ellen MacArthur’s 60-foot ‘Kingfisher’ will be sailing with media and sponsors during Cowes Week, although not joining the racing itself – these solo ocean racing boats are not really designed for around the cans competition!

Following Cowes Week Nick will head off on his 1000-mile mandatory solo qualifier for the trans-Atlantic Route de Rhum race from St Malo to Guadeloupe. This will be followed by an upgrade to the rigging, and work on the pilot and electronics systems onboard, as well as testing of a couple of new downwind sails. A full sail inventory is dependant on sponsorship.

Two weeks ago Moloney became the first official entry into the 2004 Vendée Globe – his project will be managed by Offshore Challenges, the same team behind Ellen MacArthur’s Vendée campaign and ongoing sailing projects. To achieve his third and final goal to sail solo around the globe non-stop – Offshore Challenges have 8 months to secure a sponsor which will then give them substantial time to construct a new Open 60 for the 26,000 mile circumnavigation. The 2000/2001 Vendée Globe attracted huge coverage worldwide and it is anticipated that the next edition in 2004 will attract the biggest international field to date and extensive global coverage.

Moloney has sailed with the world’s greatest names in the sport at the top of the sailing game – John Bertrand (America’s Cup), Dennis Connor (Whitbread Round the World Race), Bruno Peyron (Jules Verne Trophy). Nick became the fastest Australian round the globe as the only non-Frenchman on-board the maxi-catamaran ‘Orange’ that set a new non-stop record of 64 days earlier this year.

OC1, ex-Cray Valley (Around Alone winner Class II 1998/9) is currently based at the GBR Americas Cup UK base in Cowes where the Offshore Challenges Team is situated.