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Details revealed about crewed round-the-world race aboard IMOCAs

by IMOCA Globe Series 5 Oct 2018 07:21 PDT
Fleet in action © Thierry Martinez / Sea&Co

Accessible to interested teams since 1st October, the preliminary version of the Sailing Instructions for the next crewed round the world race with stopovers (previously known as the Volvo Ocean Race) has given us an insight into this event, which will take place in 2021-2022.

The race will include two types of boat: IMOCAs with foils (launched after 2010 and which will be sailed by five or six people) for the overall title and one-design VO65s competing for the Youth Challenge Trophy, which will reward the top youngsters.

"The Fully Crewed Around the World Race (FCAWR) is the working name for the event, which will take over from the Volvo Ocean Race (the former Whitbread Round the World Race)." This is how the preliminary version of the Sailing Instructions begins for the next crewed round the world race with stopovers, which will be raced both on IMOCAs with foils and one-design VO65s.

"This draft document marks the first stage of many. It will allow us to open discussions with the interested teams," explained Antoine Mermod, President of the IMOCA class. "We can't wait to continue our work with the organisers of the race to create a fantastic event. In the coming weeks and months, we will in particular be working on controlling costs, which is a key problem that needs to be discussed,"

A general idea of the calendar and the course have been revealed

While we are going to have to wait a while to find out all the details concerning the dates of the various legs and where the stopovers will take place, the preliminary Notice of Race presents the general outline. The first thing we learn is that registrations open on 11th December 2018. As for the race calendar itself, we have learnt that the first in-port races and the start of the first leg will take place in Alicante (Spain) in late autumn 2021. The race will include a maximum of nine legs. Up to eight intermediate stopovers may be organised with at least one stopover in the following countries: South America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia, the United States and Europe (where the event will finish early in the autumn of 2022).

IMOCAs launched since 2010 and fitted with foils with crews of five or six people

The teams racing aboard the IMOCAs will be competing for the overall title. Only boats launched after 2010 will be admitted and they will have to be fitted with foils and a standard wing mast. "In a race with stopovers, because of the constraints imposed by the schedule, it is necessary to ensure the boats in the fleet are similar to each other to avoid large gaps developing at the finish. That is why we have published this rule concerning the launch date On top of that, thanks to that limit, all of the teams will be in with a chance of performing well," explained Antoine Mermod.

For the in-port races, as for the offshore legs, the crew (excluding the media man) will be comprised of five people, including at least one woman. It will be possible to take six aboard, as long as there are at least four women on board. "Here too, we had to find the right balance," stressed Antoine Mermod. "Sailors from the Volvo Ocean Race wanted larger crews, while those from IMOCA racing would have liked to see fewer people on board. We think we have found the perfect compromise."

16 to 18 IMOCAs eligible, 10 to 15 hopefully at the start

Looking at the existing IMOCAs and those currently being built, between sixteen and eighteen boats will meet the conditions to be able to compete in the 2021-2022 edition of the crewed race around the world. "Our aim is to bring together a fleet of between ten and fifteen IMOCAs for this event," announced Antoine Mermod. "We are working hand in hand with the various teams. Everyone is getting very excited and that should pay off."

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