Return of the Challenge Transat
The inaugural race, which was run in 2002, launched race organiser, Challenge Business’ leap into running shorter events. There has been no going back for the marine events company with The Round Britain and Ireland Challenge and the Ireland Challenge also part of its successful, smaller event portfolio.
“The Challenge Transat was a phenomenal success in 2002,” comments Sir Chay Blyth. “And we’ve come under pressure to run the event again. People crossing across the Channel is now common place. People’s aspirations are now aimed at crossing an ocean. One of the big challenges is the North Atlantic and it’s certainly a pinnacle for many a sailor. It’s a challenge for the adventurous and those wanting to improve their long-distance sailing skills.”
The event will feature six, identical, 72ft-racing yachts and will comprised of two races, with crews able to sign up to one or both. Crews will be required to complete one training session of five days and one of three, each spanning a weekend, which will equip even first time sailors with the skills to take on the elements that the race presents.
The first leg starts for the crews with a team announcement on 5 August 2006, the last Saturday of Cowes Week, enabling crew to soak up some sailing atmosphere during one of the world’s most famous yachting events before embarking on the North Atlantic challenge.
They will then set sail on four days of solid race training with their new crews formulating strategies and decisions, and updating their training skills. After three days of race preparation in port between the 10-12 August crews will gear up for the start on Sunday, 13 August 2006.
The crews will be eager to beat current Leg One Challenge Transat record holders BG, who in 2002 beat off stiff competition and a tropical storm to lift the cup as victors in a time of 18 days, 16 hours, 46 minutes and 38 seconds!
Crews in Leg One will be racing flat out for between 18-21 days and could expect anything along the way with the notorious North Atlantic often conjuring up many unexpected surprises as well as many delights, from unusual weather patterns to marine wildlife!
Once in port crews will be treated to all the razzmatazz synonymous with Challenge Business events including a Prize Giving celebration on Wednesday 6 September. Crews will then be able to unwind in the city of Boston; a popular tourist destination steeped in maritime tradition!
The downwind leg then starts for the crews on Friday, 8 September with crew joining their yachts after a Leg Two crew announcement in the bustling Massachusetts city. Crucial race training will take place once more, around the waters of Boston before they regroup with their new race plans and refreshed camaraderie, to make last minute preparations before the off.
Leg Two of the Challenge Transat will then start on Saturday, 16th September from Boston with a ceremonial send off for the plucky crews. Being a downwind sprint back home the return is traditionally faster with the first yacht expected back after 13 days. On this race their aim will be to beat Vail Williams who hold the Leg Two record of 13 days, 21 hours, 30 minutes and 15 seconds.
A final Prize Giving will take place on Saturday, 7 October in Southampton.