Following the first announcement of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race in July 2019, owners of Whitbread 60s and a few maxis lobbied the organisers for their own modern class to join this 50th anniversary celebration event of the very first Whitbread race.
After months of discussions with interested owners the Classic Challenge was announced, and six teams began planning with two reserving entry positions. While many teams have since demonstrated interest for the Classic Challenge and continue to do so, organisers have not received entry deposits guaranteeing the fleet is sizable enough to provide a competitive, interesting race, alongside the ‘Retro’ class of the OGR.
With time running out for refitting racing yachts ranging from 60 – 80ft, the founder Don McIntyre has decided that the interested entries have until 1 January, 2022 to put in a refundable deposit to secure their place in the classic challenge. Should the race organisers fail to secure four deposits by that date to guarantee a healthy and competitive class, the Classic Challenge will be cancelled.
With a growing list of Mediterranean OGR entries, Don and the team were invited to Marseille last month to discuss with the Société Nautique de Marseille the candidature of the city as home port of the Ocean Globe Race. Marseille is the natural gateway to southern Europe. It is also a premier sailing site for the region, hosting various competitions this year such as the iQFOIL European Championship. The city is also the sailing venuue for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
“Whilst it would alter the traditional ‘Clipper Ship Route’ if selected, the great connection of the city and the natural beauty of the site with world-class sailing infrastructures makes Marseille an interesting option,” said Don McIntyre. “Four EU ports are now considering this opportunity with a decision scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.”