Open 60s in 2002

James Boyd looks at what happening in the Open monohull circuit this year
Despite the next Vendee Globe being some way off still, the Open 60 class seems to be as buoyant as ever with at least 10 boats taking part in the fully crewed regattas and the major offshore events this year. To blow the cobwebs off, the first event in this year's calendar is a fully crewed regatta in Lorient, running from 1-4 May. This event will be a prelude to a new offshore event, the Regate de Rubicon. This starts from St Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire river and will visit Yaiza on Lanzarote for a brief stop before continuing on to Santa Margherita, near Genoa in Italy. Again all the boats must be sailed with a full crew, which in the case of Open 60s amounts to five. 12 Open 60s are currently entered, although there is a question mark over at least one boat. For example British sailor Josh Hall, who now lives in France, is entered but is in final negotiations with a sponsor and is uncertain about whether he will be taking part. Three new faces to the class this year are Jean-Pierre Dick, Antoine Koch and Antoine Cornic. Dick won the Tour de France a la Voile last year and much to everyone in the class' envy has managed to get Michel Desjoyeaux's Vendee Globe winner, PRB. Dick is soon to announce his sponsor. Aged just 23, Antoine Koch has spent four years on the Figaro circuit and has bought Giovanni Soldini's Fila Open 60, that won the last Around Alone. Similarly Antoine Cornic, has Philippe Monnet's former UUNET which Simone Bianchetti raced in the last Vendee Globe and which in a previous life was Philippe Poupon's Fleury Michon ketch. Monnet is currently having a new Nigel Irens-designed trimaran built. Italian sailor Simone