by Oliver Dewar
The double-handed Global Ocean Race 2011-12 Class40s are currently picking up speed off Brazil in the 5,700-mile Leg 4 from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Charleston, USA, having completed around 23,000 miles of racing since the start in Palma, Mallorca, last September and have, so far, visited three stopovers in South Africa, New Zealand and South America.
Global Ocean Race 2011-12 fleet
With some skippers racing in the current edition of the GOR already expressing interest in the GOR 2013-14 and with seven serious entries already lining up for the next edition, the GOR Race Organisation is in the process of formalising the next round-the-world challenge. The GOR 2013-14 format was constructed to include a single-handed division and a double-handed division with the same Team Entry option for the duos that is in place for the current race, permitting the opportunity to swap one co-skipper at each of the stopovers – an innovation that has proven appeal in cost-sharing for the circumnavigation.
Following consultation with a selection of round-the-world sailors and international sailing organisations and clubs, the decision has been made to include a third, fully-crewed (four crew) Class40 division for the GOR 2013-14, with up to three crew allowed to be changed in each stopover. There are three fundamental reasons behind this choice. GOR Race Director, Josh Hall, explains: 'It is clear that we and the skippers would like more boats out on the water, regardless of the crew format,' confirms Hall.
There is also the beneficial cost implication of racing four-up with the option of swapping-out crew. 'While we already have confirmed entries in the solo and double-handed divisions for the GOR 2013-14, we were stunned when our list of entries for the current race plummeted from 19 boats to six within two months of the start in Palma,' admits Hall.
'For a class of racing yacht that is predominantly owner-driver, the current economic climate forced many of our potential entries to pull-out and weather the ongoing financial storm onshore, which is disappointing, but totally understandable,' he continues.
Global Ocean Race 2013-14 logo
'Sharing the campaign costs over a fully-crewed team of up to 15 sailors is a further incentive for professional and amateur sailors to fulfil their dreams and the take on the challenge of racing round the world.'
The GOR’s fully-crewed option also plugs a gap in the round-the-world racing circuit. 'With the existing format, our first and second races supplied offshore sailors with the opportunity of an affordable, challenging, safe and rewarding circumnavigation along a classic route including the Southern Ocean,' Hall believes. 'The GOR’s new, fully-crewed option now provides international yacht clubs, racing organisations, sailing associations and even individual countries to enter a competitive round-the-world race in a manner that hasn’t been witnessed since the days of the Whitbread Race,' he explains.
The GOR’s track record for safety and the choice of safe, powerful and reliable Class40 yachts is again proving successful: 'We have driven Class40 safety advances through our adaptations of both Category 0 and the Class40 Box Rule plus a pre-race 180 test,' says Hall. 'Nearly all Class40s launched in the last two years have been built with GOR safety elements included at design stage and the race has attracted new boats and new members to the Class from all over the world,' he adds. 'We plan to build on this expansion.'
Hall is highly sensitive to the current financial climate and the impact upon yacht racing worldwide: 'These are obviously very difficult economic times and sponsorship is extremely hard to secure,' says the Race Director. 'So this evolution of the GOR firmly places participation within the private pocket whereby a team of up to 15 sailors can compete for a net cost of 12-15,000 Euros per person,' he predicts. 'We now have an event for all those sailors around the planet who have ever dreamt of doing either the BOC Challenge or the Whitbread Race – the Provisional NOR is now available and the Entry List is open!'
With 18 months until the start of the GOR 2013-14, Hall and his team believe the event will be well supported. 'We are announcing the format of the next race now because we believe that 18 months is enough time for teams to piece their projects together,' explains Hall. 'The world is changing dynamically and for those who have ever wished to race around the planet, the time is now!' he concluded.
For more information and the Provisional Notice of Race for the Global Ocean Race 2013-14 please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Ocean Race website