Et ce n'est pas encore le first of April!

After trying to get the first event for Open 60s based in the UK off the ground, Challenge Business has ceded its Round Britain and Ireland race to France. The event will now start and finish in Calais rather than the Solent, and is to be organised by Royale Production, the French production and film-making company involved in the ORMA 60 trimaran circuit. The event is being supported by the Calais Chamber of Commerce ‘to highlight the privileged position of Calais as a gateway between the British Isles and the European continent’.

The race, which is non-stop round the British Isles, was to have been sponsored by IT services company EDS, however the company pulled out in February. Since then Challenge Business has been seeking alternative support, but while the class flourishes in France, it is not well-developed elsewhere.

In an indication that the climate is not yet right for that to change, Challenge Business seems to have bid Open 60s farewell for the time being. “We are delighted that Calais are supporting this fantastic race with opportunities both in France and England,” commented company spokesman Anne-Marie Wood, adding: “We look forward to working again with the IMOCA Class and the Open 60s in the future.”