The Barcelona World Race, a two-handed global circuit, was officially announced today

Barcelona Boat Show saw the launch of a brand-new concept today – a two-handed, non-stop round the world race. Bridging the gap between solo and crewed events such as the Vendée Globe and Volvo Ocean Race, the first competitors in the Barcelona World Race will set off from Barcelona in November 2007, sailing 25,000 miles on an eastabout route before returning to their starting point.

Emulating the Vendée, the competitors will sail Open 60s, making this an ideal training event for solo attempts as well as a huge challenge in its own right. The results might be startling – solo Open 60 skipper Nick Moloney enthused: “It’s going to be awesome sailing these boats double-handed, pushing so hard – the times around the world are going to be unbelievable.”

Ellen MacArthur seemed more cautious. “It is hard enough when you are on your own and you’re tired and you’re exhausted and you’re trying to take decisions. If you have got someone else in there, then I think it can be a very interesting story.”