Global Ocean Race 2013-2014 will now have a division for double-handed Class40s. The decision arose after a consultation with the Class40 Association in which numerous serious entry enquiries were discussed.
When the Global Solo Race 2013-14 format was announced in February this year, the decision for a single-handed race was driven by offshore yachtsmen and Class40 sailors. 'There is a clear desire from sailors worldwide for an affordable and highly competitive solo round the world race,' explains Race Director, Josh Hall.
'As the exclusive, official organisers of Class40 round the world races, we were extremely pleased to issue the provisional NOR for just such an event,' he continues. 'However, the Global Solo Race’s format was always open to discussion and input from the Class40 Association and the yachtsmen and women who are keen to compete in the event, hence this new format and the name of the race will now be the Global Ocean Race 2013-14.'
Hall and the GOR Race Organisation also found that a number of teams entered in the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 have been unable to source the appropriate levels of sponsorship funding to support a competitive and secure, double-handed campaign in the given time-frame.
'It is certain that the continuing, worldwide economic crisis is having an impact on sports sponsorship, even at the relatively inexpensive scale of a GOR campaign - no-one is immune to this situation,' Hall explains. 'This has led to an unavoidable reduction of our projected fleet size for 2011-12, but virtually all of the teams that are unable to compete this time around have, in fact, confirmed their entry in the GOR 2013-14,' he continues. 'We are in the very fortunate position of already having solo sailors and double-handed teams reserving places on the start line for 10th November 2013.'
Initially, the 2013-14 event, starting from a European port, included just two stopovers in Cape Town, South Africa, and Punta del Este, Uruguay: a format that would regroup the fleet in Cape Town before the Southern Ocean leg, preventing any individual boats becoming isolated and exposed through fleet separation, and gather the fleet in the South America, limiting the chance of a procession of boats through the South and North Atlantic.
The decision has now been made to include a third stopover port in Oceania:
'A pit stop at the halfway point of the circumnavigation in either Australia or New Zealand is an option that we had held back on, but will now be a reality,' Hall confirms. 'We are in the business of building the Global Ocean Race format in line with the aspirations of both the Class40 Association and the sailors who wish to compete,' he continues. 'We now believe that a Global Ocean Race with solo and double-handed divisions starting every two years is the correct profile to permit sustainable growth for the event and mirror the desires of the sailors,' confirms the GOR Race Director.
'The fleet for the race this year remains extremely healthy with highly-committed and very competitive Class40 teams and - even in these economically testing times - the Global Ocean Race is one of the very few serious offshore events to be in expansion.' Global Ocean Race website