Around Alone 2002-03 race organisers have announced that renowned French skipper, Marc Thiercelin, has registered his entry into the Open 60 class

Clipper Ventures, Around Alone 2002-03 race organisers, announced today that renowned French skipper, Marc Thiercelin, has registered his entry into the Open 60 class for the 20th anniversary of this historic, solo, round the world yacht race. Thiercelin is the ninth skipper and third Frenchman to sign up in Class I for the sixth edition of Around Alone, which departs from Newport R.I., in the USA, and stops over in Europe for the first time ever. Thiercelin, a skipper and artist by trade, is on his second consecutive attempt to win the Around Alone. In the 1998/9 race, on board his Open 60 Somewhere, Marc dominated the lead during the first three legs, only to be pipped at the post by Golding and Soldini for the top spot. He even broke the world 24-hour distance record, with a 396.5-mile run during the third leg in the Southern Ocean. After rounding Cape Horn in first place, he dismasted in 40-knot headwinds and turbulent seas off the Falkland Islands. However, he fitted a new mast in port, and still finished second overall behind Italian victor, Giovanni Soldini in Fila.

Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was excited to confirm Thiercelin’s entry into Around Alone: “We are delighted that Marc has decided to enter Around Alone again. Marc is a tough and dedicated racer as his performance in the last race showed. His entry effectively throws down the gauntlet for the best of the world’s single-handed sailors to the coveted crown of solo competition.”

Thiercelin is highly focussed on achieving a win this time round: “I am definitely going to be back on the start line for the Around Alone. There’s no other ultimate challenge short of a solo round the world yacht race and Around Alone is unique for its length, its rhythm between land and sea, and the ability for people the world over to experience first-hand the event from the inside. I’m working hard, both in France and abroad, to secure the sponsorship in order to purchase a competitive Open 60 to win the race.”

Around Alone has made heroes out of its victors, and a Frenchman has won this event four times out of five. Vendée Globe founder Philippe Jeantot, won the 1982/3 and 1986/7 editions. Another legendary French skipper, Christophe Auguin, was also a double victor in 1990/1 and 1994/5. Thiercelin is counted in the hall of fame as among only five skippers to achieve a ranking in three solo round the world yacht races, after finishing second in the 1996/7 and fourth in the 2000/1 editions of the solo, non-stop, RTW Vendée Globe yacht race. Will there be a Briton in the Around Alone 2002-03 to challenge this French supremacy?