The ultimate test


As Challenge Ventures launch new round the world race
Tired of seeing “nancy boys in yellow oilskins with their satcoms and GPS sets” depart on round the world races Sir Francis Tilman-Rose has announced details of a new back-to-basics singlehanded round the world race that will really test the manhood of competitors. The new Gypsy Moth Challenge to be run by Tilman-Rose’s company Challenge Ventures plc will hark back to the heyday of ocean voyaging and any mod cons will be strictly prohibited. Yachts will be 40 foot long and must be built singlehanded by the competitor using a race committee approved DIY technique such as ferro-cement. A scheme to use recycled fibreglass is also being considered. In an attempt to promote the budget end of yacht development, values which Tilman-Rose believes have been lost in an age of expensive carbon fibre, PBO and “new fangled electronic gadgetry”, competitors are encouraged to use wartime resource to develop equipment for their boats. Ideas mooted include the use of scaffolding or bamboo for spars and an array of holed washing up bottles to make a handy drogue for surviving extreme conditions. With all manner of races now having been held around the world - eastabout, westabout, crewed or singlehanded, amateur or professional crews - the Gypsy Moth Challenge has been conceived to be extra testing for competitors. From the start line in Greenland they will have to sail the length of the Atlantic before hanging a right and making two westabout laps of the Southern Ocean against the prevailing winds before returning up the Atlantic. However in order to reduce the duration of the event, the race committee have done their utmost to shorten the course and have introduced waypoints to keep competitors south of 60degS thereby saving many 1,000s of miles and reducing the time they have to contend with icebergs.

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