Nick Moloney has become the first official entry in the 2004/2005 Vendée Globe race

Nick Moloney has become the first official entry in the 2004/2005 Vendée Globe race, the solo around the world race that made Ellen MacArthur and Kingfisher a household name in 2001. The next edition of the Vendée Globe is expected to attract the biggest international field since it began, and its simple format – non-stop, solo, around the world, without assistance – has maintained it as the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

Nick Moloney is one of the world’s top grand prix sailors having competed in the America’s Cup, Whitbread (now Volvo Ocean Race) with Dennis Conner and the Open 60 circuit as a winning co-skipper of Kingfisher. Moloney was the only non-French crewman on board ‘Orange’ recently setting a new Jules Verne record, for the fastest all out lap of the planet.

Moloney’s first big solo test will be a Class II entry in the transatlantic race, the Route Du Rhum, in November – signalling the start of his build-up campaign to the Vendée. With the support of Offshore Challenges and its Global and Performance Partners, 60pc of the sponsorship is now in place for the Rhum – leaving a discounted Title sponsorship package available for a French or International company to take up. He will race on the ex-‘Cray Valley’, the Finot 50 that won the Around Alone race class II in 1998.

As part of Ellen MacArthur’s Offshore Challenges Sailing Team, the Moloney package comes with the full backup, support and media team that helped guide Ellen to her Vendée success.

He has just 8 months to secure a Title sponsor, and build an Open 60 race boat to qualify for the 26,000-mile marathon.

“I’m stoked to be the first official entry – this is the third big goal for me in my sailing career, and I really feel like we are on our way. Finding the title sponsorship will of course be as challenging as ever, but with the backup of Offshore Challenges and the existing Sailing Team Partners we are already a long way along the road to the start line. The Route du Rhum is of course going to be a big test for me, one that I’m really looking forward to.”

The Open 50, temporarily referred to as “OC1”, is currently completing a refit at V1D2 yard in Caen, northern France. She will then return to the new OC centre of excellence in Cowes (at GBR Challenge Base), England where she will based during the summer. After sailing during Cowes Week, it is planned that Nick will undertake the stringent 1,000 mile qualifier required by Rhum race rules.