June 2001 may mark the end of the BT Global Challenge for the 300 or so crew in this race, but for the yachts the New World Challenge is in the offing

Shortly after the end of the BT Global Challenge finish in Southampton in June 2001, the fleet of 72-footers will undergo a complete refit before being shipped to San Franscico for the start of the New World Challenge in the spring of 2002.

In Southampton for Sunday’s start will be Julie Lehman of the Corsi Agency in San Francisco who is tasked with spreading the word about the new Challenge Business initiative in America. “The course for the event hasn’t been finalised yet but it will, of course, start and finish in San Franscico with the final stopover likely to be San Diego,” said Julie.

Simon Walker, chief executive of the Challenge Business, said that the fleet would visit Yokohama in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore and would round the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn via Buenos Airies before turning north for the finish. “They will be sailing the wrong way round but on a completely different route – one we have not taken before,” he says.

“We already have 150 American crew in training 20 Canadians and 20-30 Europeans,” said Simon Walker. “One hundred of the American crew will get a chance to sail the new 72-footers in the middle week end of the Boston stopover,” he adds. So far crew have only been introduced to the old 67-footer.

As soon as the BT Global Challenge gets underway, the call will go out for skippers for the New World Challenge. “The emphasis will be on a cosmopolitan group,” says Julie Lehman.