This race is the last one the class is backing. What's the future for this great race?

For the first time ever, the Open 60 fleet is taking centre stage in the Transat Jacques Vabre race, eclipsing the moribund ORMA 60 trimarans. The irony is that this it will be a short-lived glory. In two years’ time, the Open 60 class is deserting this great race, and its future as a classic – if it has one – will take an unexpected twist.

A massive growth spurt has encouraged the IMOCA class association to flex its muscles and from now on, instead of entering events because they already take place, IMOCA will choose the type of races skippers and sponsors want to take part in. Either an existing event meets these criteria or the class will invite organisers to create one that does.

So, out went the Velux 5 Oceans, whose race organisers skippers felt had not been listening. So, too, has the Transat Jacques Vabre, for many of the same reasons. In 2009, the class is backing a yet-to-be-arranged race round Europe.

Read more about the future of the Transat Jacques Vabre on Elaine Bunting’s blog 

Photo by Thierry Martinez