IIRC the boats (yes Farr Design 309) were a blown up Volvo 60 more or less, water ballasted fixed keel. Maybe 7 or 8 were built?
Does anyone remember that fleet of 80 footers that were built in Europe the 90's which was meant to race around the world? I think one of them bacame the first Nicorette. That failed. There was also the Antatrica Cup from the early/mid 2000's which was meant to have a fleet of 70 footers made from Fiberglass to make budgets lower, that failed.
Where did that fleet go wrong? I remember that being put together by Pierre Fehlmann- The boats (designed by Farr?) looked pretty cool and the idea seemed to make sense... What happened?
I think I recall the planned global ocean race being dropped as it couldn't get support alongside the WOR / VOR but I'm a little surprised they didn't get picked up for some sort of Clipper Style race later on - maybe too high maintenance?
Pierre Fehlmann's Grand Mistral organisation went bust & the boats were bought by none other than Ernesto Bertarelli. The circuit operated for a while, before the boats were sold off;
MAXI ONE-DESIGN RACING
(The following is an excerpt from a feature by Barry Pickthall in the December issue of Seahorse magazine.) The world of sailing has had its fair share of big hitters, but none perhaps with the ambitions of Ernesto Bertarelli, the 34-year-old head of Swiss pharmaceutical group Ares-Serono SA, who has taken a controlling interest in developing a Formula One-style world series for an eight-strong fleet of 80ft one-design maxis.
There was Mike Vanderbilt, the American railroad heir whose wealth and drive kept the America's Cup firmly bolted down with the magnificent - and definitive - J Class defenders Enterprise, Rainbow and Ranger. Then there were the British, aircraft manufacturer Thomas Sopwith, with two Endeavours, and tea baron Thomas Lipton, who made no fewer than five (failed) attempts on the Holy Grail with a succession of Shamrocks. But none could ever boast having eight maxi yachts at their disposal.
Bertarelli, the major shareholder in the $5 billion publically quoted Ares-Serono, has no such interest in the America's Cup, but he does have plans to make an impressive splash by taking his fleet of yachts to prestigious corners of the world and put on a headline grabbing spectacle. 'These boats are very exciting to sail, and because they are all equal they can generate extremely close racing. They produce a spectacle, and, with on-board cameras, helicopter coverage and top names at the wheel, it's a perfect sport for TV,' says Bertarelli.
Putting money where the proverbial mouth lies, he paid to bring 100 or more top sailors from the America's Cup, Admiral's Cup and Whitbread Race to compete on five of the Bruce Farr Maxi One-designs (formerly Grand Mistral/Ericsson 80s) at the recent Sardinia Cup series at Porto Cervo. And to underline his own competitive streak, he beat them all in a tightly fought six-race series. It was no walk-over, however, for though his Swiss team won three of the heats, the final result went to the wire. 'The Swiss sailed extremely well. The boats are very close in speed and Ernesto and his crew were simply the most consistent. They deserved to win,' conceded Silk Cut skipper Lawrie Smith, whose British entry won the first race but faded thereafter.
Bertarelli was ecstatic, not only with winning, but with the support he gained during the week for the series of major regattas and long-distance races planned for next year. Having bought the five-strong former Grand Mistral fleet from BIL, the original Grand Mistral bank, that had developed cold feet over another revival scheme proposed by Pierre Fehlmann, Bertarelli has funded the completion of the three boats left part-built near Marseilles and has guaranteed a multi-million dollar world championship series in 1999.
The World Series kicks off with the Caribbean Cup; Key West in January, the 500-mile Montego Bay Race in February, the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, and the Heineken International Cup in Puerto Rico in March . This will be followed by a fleet race to break the transatlantic monohull record from New York to the Lizard in April, when the weather promises its worst.
The new class' world championship, now ratified by ISAF, is made up of the North Sea Race and North Sea Regatta in May, Kiel Week and a 300-mile race on to Stockholm in June - in time to compete in the Round Gotland Race on 4 July. Then, at the end of July, and with a nod to tradition, the fleet will congregate at Cowes for the 220-mile Channel Race and four races within Skandia Cowes Week, before setting off on the decider: the Fastnet classic. The year rounds off with four separate seven-race series, in Lisbon at the end of August, Porto Cervo and Cannes in September, finishing at Monaco in early October. -- Barry Pickthall
For the full story: http://www.seahorse....dec/default.htm
Not around the world but I got part correct...well I was 15 when this was all happening and they were the most spectacular things in yachting mags....floating things that is.