Ludde Ingvall, a skipper in the Grand Mistral round-the-world race, yesterday set the organisers a deadline of 1 May for assurances that the race will go ahead with sufficient boats in September.
"If there are not enough, then it might be better to postpone for a year, though that would mean clashing with another round-the-world race, the Whitbread, which begins in September 1997," Ingvall said.
Alternatively Ingvall, who was yesterday showing off Nicorette, his Grand Mistral 80-footer, in Southampton Water, may link up with Grant Dalton, Marc Pajot and Loick Peyron, to bring pressure on the race director, Pierre Fehlmann. They want him and his backers to fund enough entries to make a minimum fleet of eight.
Seven of the identical yachts have been built with backing from the French regional government and Swiss banks, while Fehlmann's ally, Philip Morris, has been supporting his organisation of the race. Ingvall speculated on the Grand Mistral and Whitbread joining forces, but this seems unlikely at present.
Today in Moscow, Tamil Tarpichev, chairman of the presidential committee for physical culture and sport, will announce backing for Russia 300 in the seventh Whitbread race. It will be skippered by Eugene Platon, who led the Hetman Sahaidachny campaign in the last race and is trying to sell the boat to the Sussex 2000 syndicate headed by Jackie MacGillivary.Reuse content