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CoastWaterSports 2014

Ultra 30 Circuit on hold for Year 2000

by Sue Warden-Owen 4 May 2000 17:31 BST

Warden Owen Associates, organisers of the Ultra 30 Grand Prix Circuit, have today put on hold plans for this year’s series which was due to start on May 13th and 14th in Sunderland. Despite the addition of two new boat sponsors, ‘Abbott Joinery’ and ‘’, negotiations with a new title sponsor did not conclude in sufficient time in order to commit to the obligations of the circuit.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me to make”, said Eddie Warden Owen MD of Warden Owen Associates. “We have big plans for the Ultra 30 circuit as it is the only series of its kind that appeals to both Television and the general public. Title sponsorship would have allowed us to implement those plans so waiting a year will be a healthy option for the class”

The Ultra 30’s have been in existence for over ten years and in that time have captured the imagination of TV audiences both in the UK and world-wide. For the past five years the series has been shown on BBC Grandstand and in excess of 8 million people watched the programmes in 1998 and 1999.

Warden Owen Associates initiated a number of changes when they took over the running of the circuit in 1998, one of which was the addition of trapezes for all nine crew. This transformed the boat making it more powerful, visually more exciting and much harder to race. Also the addition of an on-board cameraman changed the quality of the TV programmes allowing the ability to focus on the on-board action.

This year’s Grand Prix Circuit was due to participate for the first time in the HOYA Round the Island Race which is taking place on June 10th. This is the first time that that the Island Sailing Club have allowed the Ultra 30’s to join in the racing and it is still hoped that some of the boats will compete. Another first for this year’s circuit was the plan to hold an event in Cork, the weekend before Cork Week in July.

“It is disappointing that we have had to shelve the plans for this year,” said Warden Owen. “We had negotiated twice as much TV coverage as in previous years and had big plans to develop our website ( This is not the end of the Ultra 30’s, just a hiccup in its commercial development. There is nothing in the sailing world that can replace the Ultra 30. It is not bound by politics or idealism and provides sailing at a level that the general public have come to understand and like. We will be back next year.”

Warden Owen has already received the continued support of the boat sponsors United Airlines, Hoya Lens UK Ltd and Abbott Joinery. Both Guernsey Tourism, who have supported the Ultra series for the last five years, and Sunderland City Council are disappointed that the Ultra 30s will not be racing off their shores this year and would welcome the opportunity to have the circuit back in 2001.

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