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The Transat: Last Minute Deal

The long, unbroken ten-day period of fine weather conditions in Plymouth finally changed late yesterday (Thursday) afternoon bringing overcast, breezy conditions and the imminent threat of rain. Although the official, local forecast predicts twenty-four hours of heavy rain and around 15 knots of breeze, some members of the local security team hired by the race organisation to patrol Plymouth Yacht Haven using their local knowledge feel that such a bleak outlook is unlikely and that much of the rain will be pushed further north allowing shore crews to continue pre-race preparations relatively unhindered.

Mike Birch, veteran Transat competitor and last minute entry to the race, has just secured a sponsorship deal with Omega – the official principle partner to the race. This will assist the Canadian in paying the race entry fee for his 50 foot trimaran, Nootka. Until yesterday Birch was intending to fund his entry in the race personally.

Yesterday French skipper, Anne Liardet, was given the green light to compete in The Transat race after her Open 60, Quiksilver Edition, underwent a 90 incline test in Corporation Wharf near the race marina – under the IMOCA Class rules all the Open 60′s must complete this test. Timing was essential as the dock provides only 4.6 metres of depth at high water and Liardet’s yacht draws 4.5 metres, requiring that the test was postponed until high water at 23:00 UTC. One of the race officials conducting the test remarked that this was possibly the first time such a complex examination had been undertaken in pitch darkness. Although, technically, Quiksilver Edition failed the test by a very narrow margin, it was felt that the boat was undoubtedly capable of racing in The Transat and the issue was subsequently put before the other IMOCA skippers in the fleet. After a vote was taken and it was decided that Liardet should be allowed to race; an indication of the esteem and support felt for this experienced, forty-three year old skipper.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004 at 10:46 am and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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