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There are several around the world yacht races. They range from singlehanded to fully crewed from pay to sail to paid to sail in format. The one thing they have in common is a northern hemisphere start and finish.
Together Alone plans to be the first Southern Hemisphere around the world race starting in October of 2001. Race Director Don Macintyre plans to have 3 classes that combine elements found in the other around the world races.
Due to the below the equator start the course will be different than other races. The start will be in Hobart. The first leg will take the fleet to Punta Del Este Uruguay which has previously seen the Around Alone and Whitbread fleets visit. Leg 1 will cover a distance of 7700 miles. The 7100 mile Leg 2 will take the fleet north to round the St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks just north of the equator. Crossing the equator is a requirement for any vessel that wishes to officially sail around the world. From there the fleet dips back to the Southern Hemisphere and visits Cape Town another popular stop for around the world races. Leg 3 is from Cape Town back to Hobart, Australia and will be the shortest at 6900 miles.
Class I will be a one design class. Boats sailed will be the International Open One Design 50 designed by Graham Redford. Open style boats have never before raced on a one design basis. Macintrye also hopes that these IOOD 50's will be able to sail as a one design class in events such as Around Alone and the Vendee Globe. Single handed sailors wishing to enter Together Alone will pay AUD$5000 for management fees + cost of materials and labor for their IOOD 50.
Although Class I should be very interesting it seems that a one design boat built to the rules of the Open class is a bit of an oxymoron. According to Robin Knox Johnston, "The objective of the Open class was to have simple rules that left as much scope as possible for experimentation and innovation." The IOOD 50 surely is a different interpretation of the Open class than any previous effort.
Class II will be open to 45-50 foot entries sailed in doublehanded fashion. The doublehanded aspect of Class II will make it the first doublehanded race to sail around the world.
Class III will sail Macintyre 55's. These 55 footers will have crews who pay to sail in the fashion of the British Steel Challenge. Cost of Together Alone for these sailors will be AUD$45,000. Together Alone hopes to see 5 Macintyre 55's each sailing with a crew of 9 headed by professional skippers.
Together Alone is an ambitious undertaking. According to the Together Alone Website 15 boats in Classes I and II plus 5 boats in Class III are expected.
Together Alone sailors will sail on a course unique to around the world racing and in boat types and crew formats that are also unique. Perhaps by drawing on successful ideas from other races and adding in new ones like a One Design Open Class Together Alone will become a success.