Bilou wins IMOCA championship

At an awards dinner in Brest tonight the Open 60 class president will award himself the prize

Friday January 17th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
The IMOCA Open 60 class, MMA World Championship prizegiving is to be held tonight (17 Jan) in Brest - the home town of winner for the second year in a row, Roland Jourdain, skipper of Sill Plein Fruit.

Ellen MacArthur, who is about to take part in the Jules Verne Trophy on a totally different type of boat, secured second place in the Championship thanks to her magnificent victory in the Route du Rhum. Close runner-up in the Rhum, Mike Golding, completes the podium for 2003.

In the Open 50 class, Patrice Carpentier will receive the World Champion title, followed by Pasquale Di Gregorio, winner last year and Brad van Liew in third position, the American skipper who is participating in the Around Alone race.

The Open 50 and 60 monohull ranking is based on the 2001 and 2002 seasons combined (notably this includes the Vendee Globe 2000/1). Points are scored in all the official IMOCA events, and significant prize money is distributed at the end of each year.

As we start the 2003 World Championship, the ranking is already set to change very quickly. The championship points cover a rolling two years of racing, and the 2003 points will include the Around Alone currently being dominated by Bernard Stamm (6th in 2002), and Thierry Dubois (10th in 2002). The Vendee Globe will also disappear from the point count, which will see MichDesj, Thomas Coville and Marc Thiercelin disappear from the top ten.

37 skippers from 11 nations are classified in the 2002 championship, and this will increase again with the inclusion of the Around Alone in to the 2003 points.

"The IMOCA class continues to go from strength to strength" commented Class President Roland Jourdain, "there are a number of new boats in construction already for the Vendée Globe, and many projects underway. The existing boats remain more competitive than ever, as the IMOCA rule has remained stable since 2000 now. 2003 will be an excellent year of racing, building up to the 2004 Vendee year. It is also encouraging to see the number of Open 50s competing in events like the Route du Rhum - the 50s remain an important entry level class and stepping stone to the IMOCA circuit."

The 2003 season is already in full swing with the Around Alone event. The other main events of the IMOCA 2003 calendar are the fully crewed (5 up) EDS Round Britain Challenge in July, the Fastnet race in August and the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre in November.

A solo qualifer for the Vendee race to bring the boats back from Brazil after the TJV is also being studied by the IMOCA events committee.

Final top ten for IMOCA Championship 2002 :

1. Jourdain 202.5 points
2. MacArthur 153
3. Golding 129
4. Desjoyeaux 107
5. Wavre 93
6. Stamm 92
7. Thiercelin 70
8. Coville 50
9. Seeten 48
10. Dubois 48.

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