Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

5 Oceans - First solo race around the world with equal chances

by 5 Oceans on 29 Aug 2014
A triumphant Brad Van Liew wins the Velux 5 Oceans, having won 5 out of 5 legs, as he crossed the finish line in this evening in La Rochelle, France. Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, President of Clipper Ventures who organised the 5 Oceans, confirmed that the ninth edition in 2014-15 will welcome not only the successful Eco 60 Class, which has shown its durability during the 2010-11 race, but will also welcome the SolOceans One Design Class. It will allow sailors, both men and women, to race solo around the world on a level playing field. Thanks to its reasonable and controlled budgets, a good number of skippers and sponsors of all nationalities will therefore be able to take each other on using the same weapons in this unique adventure around the world.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the British sailing legend, remains without doubt the great pioneer of international offshore racing. He was the first man to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation (1968-69). 42 years later, innovating once again, Sir Robin continues his work as a pioneer and leaves his indelible mark in the history of international offshore racing. In 1982, 13 years after his unbelievable exploits on his 32 foot boat, Sir Robin created the first true solo race around the world (the BOC Challenge which has now become the 5 Oceans) and competed on Open 40, 50 and 60 foot monohulls, which gave birth to the IMOCA 60, 50 and the Class 40.


Four years ago, Sir Robin created the Eco 60 Class in response to the difficulties encountered by international skippers faced with budget restrictions with sponsors. It gave a new lease of life to the old, but reliable and proven, prototypes. It is a novel concept of sustainable development in the world of ocean sailing. And despite a small field of entries, the 2010-11 5 Oceans has proven that the Eco 60 Class can produce exciting and fast top-level racing.

Today, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston goes even further in his efforts to open up racing solo around the world to aspiring solo skippers. He welcomes the SolOceans One Design Class on the start line of the 5 Oceans 2014-15 alongside the Eco 60 Class, believing the lighter, smaller 52.5-foot machines will complement the larger Eco 60s.

The SolOceans Class is a 52.5 foot high-tech carbon one-design yacht (16 meters), which has been designed by Jean-Marie Finot and Pascal Conq, with Michel Desjoyeaux as Technical Consultant of the Class. This monohull, imagined by Yvan Griboval (SailingOne), was conceived and developed between 2006 and 2010, thanks to the feedback provided by 25 leading offshore skippers who sailed onboard the first boat during the course of the 30,000 nautical miles covered in its test circumnavigation of the planet.


'The 5 Oceans has an incredible 29 year heritage. It is the oldest solo race around the world still in existence today' said Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. 'Like the America's Cup and the Whitbread (which became the Volvo Ocean Race), we are adapting to the global economic environment in evolving the type of boat we accept to compete. In the America's Cup, the J Class took the place of the 12M JI, which then became the America Class and now the AC72 catamarans. The Whitbread-Volvo Ocean Race also adapted itself in changing its classes over time. From our side, we innovated with the Eco 60 Class. We started this approach to favour more modest budgets from 2005, even before the financial crisis hit in the summer of 2008. We are now taking this strategy even further in launching this new category of high tech round the world boats in collaboration with Yvan Griboval (SailingOne) and Jean-Pierre Champion (FFVoile).'

'The SolOceans One Design Class will offer skippers and their sponsors a fantastic opportunity to race around the world on an equal footing, increasing further the emotional intensity of the adventure to the benefit of the general public.' explains Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the French Sailing Federation (FFVoile) has achieved one of his major objectives for international offshore racing: 'I am delighted that the 5 Oceans is opening its start line to the SolOceans One Design Class. It will offer young skippers coming out of our centres of excellence of training for solo offshore racing a future thanks to a series of high tech, one design boats which are financially, technically and competitively accessible.' 

'One design racing allows costs to be controlled. The Figaro Class has shown this each season. It is a philosophy that our federation encourages. It allows not only young racers to build their sporting career, but equally for small-medium size companies to engage sustainably in our sport with a real visibility on budget. In these times of economic crisis, this element takes on even more significance. The 5 Oceans therefore has the support of the FFVoile in this approach which marks a major evolution in oceanic racing.'

Yvan Griboval, President of SailingOne, creator of the SolOceans Class, has also achieved an important objective: 'After five years of hard work and more than €4.5 million invested, the integration of the SolOceans One Design Class to the prestigious 5 Oceans is a recognition which opens a new page in international offshore sailing, in the tradition of great maritime adventures which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has maintained since his first circumnavigation in 1968. We are proud to participate in this new approach for the future. It is the culmination of an immense amount of work.' 

'The offshore sailor I was and the businessman that I have become can only rejoice that today there is the possibility to offer young skippers and small companies the opportunity to access the highest sporting level: competition on a level playing field on the one hand and one of the hardest ocean routes in the world on the other. Three boats of the SolOceans One Design Class are already built. Construction will recommence again at the start of next year to ensure that five to eight boats are on the start line of the 5 Oceans 2014-15.'

In its 29-year history the 5 Oceans race has given rise to some of the world's most respected solo sailors including Philippe Jeantot, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Isabelle Autissier, Christophe Auguin, Giovanni Soldini, Mike Golding and Bernard Stamm, as well as welcoming international skippers from all corners of the globe. Highlights of the 2010-11 edition include the closest ever finish in solo ocean racing history, with just 40 seconds separating Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski and Chris Stanmore-Major at the end of 7,000 miles of racing through the Southern Ocean from Wellington (New Zealand) to Punta del Este (Uruguay). Brad Van Liew became the first American to race round Cape Horn solo three times and the first non-European to win the class for 60 footers, while Gutek became the first Pole to race solo around the world. 


In total, of the 128 people who have set off on this solo circumnavigation of the world, only 77 finished and two who never returned. During the eighth edition, which just finished, 80% of the competitors finished the route - a record for solo round the world racing.

The route and the host ports for the 2014 edition of the 5 Oceans, formerly the Velux 5 Oceans, will be announced at a later 5 Oceans website

Barz Optics - FloatersBakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring J-class

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted today at 3:19 am
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr