On Friday, IMOCA class skippers, sponsors, organisers of single-handed and double-handed round the world yacht races, and major international sports bodies gathered in Lausanne to celebrate the winners of the IMOCA World Championship and to officially launch OSM, responsible for the global circuit’s commercial and international development.
François Gabart, the 30 year-old winner of the 2012 IMOCA World Championship and recent winner of the Vendée Globe, was celebrated by fellow skippers and 150 distinguished guests at the Beau Rivage Hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva.
The event was an opportunity for Sir Keith Mills to officially launch OSM, the company created in January 2013 in Lausanne, to manage IMOCA’s commercial rights and international development. Sir Keith Mills, as Chairman of OSM, outlined the ambition for the collaboration between OSM and IMOCA:
'We want to attract the best skippers and teams from around the world. By creating a new World Championship circuit and investing in new technologies, we will be able to bring the inspiring stories from the races to fans, young aspiring skippers and enthusiasts. We have yet to maximise the potential media appeal of these remarkable sailors, who practice a sport that is one of the most respectful of the environment'.
In keeping with the ethos of openness and sharing, the skippers spent the afternoon racing Optimist dinghies with their young fans from the local sailing club, providing plenty of memorable moments for participants and spectators alike.
Luc Talbourdet, president of IMOCA, the association that represents the skippers, commented: 'By celebrating the prize-giving in Lausanne with representatives from the greatest sporting bodies in Europe and a host of international journalists, OSM and Sir Keith Mills are sending a clear signal to the offshore racing community. We knew we had potential, but now we have the means to exploit and develop it'.
2013 Programme August: Fastnet Race November: Transat Jacques Vabre, from Le Havre (France) to Itajai (Brazil)
2014 Race Programme Spring: Double-handed Transat Summer: a 1,000 miles long race November: Route du Rhum 31 December: Barcelona World Race by IMOCA