Please select your home edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Biscay Offshore Race at Royal Southern Yacht Club postponed

by Peta Stuart-Hunt on 3 Jul 2012
Biscay 2012 Offshore Race was to be held off the Solent in the UK from 16th to 29th September. The Royal Southern Yacht Club has taken the difficult decision to postpone the staging of its inaugural 950nm Biscay Offshore Race, until 2014. The precise start date will be advised in due course.

Launched in August 2011 and forming a signature event in the Club’s 175th Anniversary year, the Biscay Race was planned to take competitors from the Solent to La Rochelle and Brest, before returning them to Hamble. It had the additional innovation of offering Sunsail Racing’s Beneteau F.40 charter fleet for competitors new to the experience of offshore competition and had been widely heralded for its novelty and opportunity.

The Club, ever-mindful of its race stakeholders, has prudently decided that, despite a healthy interest, owners are continuing to hold back on firming up their entries and it has therefore become impossible to plan the race logistics and stop-overs, or the essential social events and media coverage, to deliver to the high standard required.

Chairman of the Organising Committee, Tom Richardson, expressed the frustration of his team.

'This year, the pattern of converting potential competitors from general interest to committed entrant is noticeably running much closer to the start date of races and regattas than before and we see this mirrored among many other clubs.

'We also suffered the setback of losing a major sponsor within the past two months, when the company concerned withdrew from all yachting sponsorships and, taken together, despite receiving more than 35 expressions of interest and fielding many more enquiries, we have taken the view that everyone involved with this big event needs to be given as much warning as possible of our intentions. As a responsible organiser, we are uncomfortable to let things run any further.'

Race Director, John Walker, cites the Royal Southern Yacht Club's recent experiences running its 175 Regatta, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, as an example of a general dynamic of pre-event commitment from competitors this year.

'We don't know whether this is down to the economy or that there's simply too much going on in the sailing and sporting calendar this year, but people are certainly leaving things to the last possible moment.

'This was mirrored in the build up to the Clubs’ recently completed 16-day 175 Anniversary Regatta. Within the seven days prior to the first weekend, entries rose from 15 to 55 on the line; in the ten days before the second weekend there was an acceleration from 45 entries to a starting fleet of 107, and within five days before the final weekend, entries went from 45 to 86 starters. All were great entries but very late in arriving.

'We could persevere to the bitter end and suddenly find ourselves overcome by the rush of entries but, in reality, we would need extremely strong nerves to follow this course of action,' said Walker.

The Club's planning, logistics and marketing teams have been working on the Biscay 2012 Offshore Race for 18 months and it is with the greatest regret that this decision has been taken. However, a postponement to 2014 ensures that the Club preserves the goodwill and good working relationships with a number of partners going forward.

These include Sunsail Racing, two French Club partners in the Société des Régates Rochelaises in La Rochelle and the Société des Régates de Brest and the Fédération Française de Voile (FFV), Race Ambassador, Sam Davies, the many people involved in the Race planning and, not least, the potential competitors who have expressed their interest.

The City of La Rochelle was quick to offer its support going forward and commenting on behalf of Sunsail Racing, Andy Wallace, Business Development Manager, said:

'Sunsail Racing is also disappointed that the 2012 event has been postponed but we feel that the Olympics has stolen a little of the Corporate thunder for 2012. However we are still very keen to support our Partner, the Royal Southern Yacht Club in this venture and it allows us to provide a bigger, better and more successful bi-annual event for years to come.'

The Biscay Race was created as a legacy to members from the Royal Southern in its 175th Anniversary year and was always planned to run as a biennial and international event. Royal Southern Yacht Club website
Barz Optics - FloatersMackay BoatsNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.
Posted on 25 Mar
Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she’s set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.
Posted on 24 Mar
Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in St. Thomas International Regatta. Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
Posted on 23 Mar
Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
With 29 skippers setting sail and 10 nations represented, the eighth edition offered a wide range of projects The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.
Posted on 23 Mar
RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.
Posted on 23 Mar
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
One great challenge for Transatlantic Race 2019
Greatest challenge has confirmed the start date for its next edition; and this time every competitor will depart Newport A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.
Posted on 22 Mar
Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
To date, 66 teams have signed up for the event, which bodes well for an exceptional vintage Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.
Posted on 22 Mar
Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
The new campaign is the latest stage of the relationship between Al Hasni, one of Oman's most promising sailors Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail’s most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.
Posted on 22 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
A coach can optimise practice time, provide detailed analysis via both stats and video, can examine specific issues If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.
Posted on 22 Mar