Opening a new visitor centre at Baltic Wharf boatyard in Totnes, Devon, where his 120ft catamaran is being built, Goss said: "This is the day the project has come of age. It is a significant milestone and we have tremendous commercial backing."
The Race is a no limits, non-stop race around the world celebrating the millennium and is due to start from Gibraltar at midnight on 31 December 2000. It was devised by the Frenchman Bruno Peyron, the first man to break the 80-day barrier for sailing around the world in spring 1993, who said yesterday: "Pete has a special aura as far as France is concerned because of his fantastic and courageous rescue of Raphael Dinelli in the Vendee Globe singlehanded round the world race. Today, Pete is a serious contender for victory in The Race."
Adrian Thompson has designed the twin-hulled yacht for Goss. It is expected to be launched in mid-1999 and will, before taking on The Race, attempt to win the Jules Verne Trophy by setting a new record time for sailing around the world, at present held by the Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson.