The next Around Alone Race (formerly known as the BOC Chal-lenge), which will once again be based in Charleston, S.C., is expected to be more popular and competitive than ever before. High-tech boats are being built at a furious rate, both abroad and in the U.S. The race is scheduled to start in September 1998. Although the official entry deadline is not until March 1998, race administrators are hopeful that the race will have 30 participants. "Just judging from the number of boats that are being built, the race should be just as large, ifnotlarger, thanthelast one,"saidMark Schrader, the race director. "We’re expecting the 50-foot class to be especially competitive. I think a lot of people are looking at what Giovanni Soldini and David Adams did last time and are thinking that in a well-built and well-sailed 50-footer they can be right up there with the big boys." Adams and Soldini, both in 50s, defeated six of the nine 60-footers in the last BOC Challenge.
J.P. Mouligné will be entering his successful 50-foot CCP/Cray Valley, the boat he sailed to break the Newport to Bermuda record last winter. "I think the 50-footer is more popular because it’s only about 4% slower than the 60, but about 40% cheaper in terms of construction, campaign, and running the boat," said Mouligné.
Many entrants, Mouligné included, are signed up for a July 1998 qualifying race from Falmouth, England, to Charleston.
City officials and local businessmen in Charleston are euphoric that the race will remain in their town. "When they selected us this time they told us that the race really needed a home," said Robby Freeman, chairman of the Charleston Maritime Commission, an organization established to coordinate shore-side events and support for Around Alone skippers.