Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 TOP

Tip & Shaft: 15 -22 entries expected in two fleets for "The Ocean Race"

by Tip & Shaft 15 Dec 2018 00:56 PST 15 December 2018
The complex stern of an IMOCA60 - Hugo Boss - Rolex Middle Sea Race © Joe Watson / Alex Thomson Racing

In the Espace 2000 at Paris' annual Salon Nautic it was standing room only on Tuesday when further details about The Ocean Race, the son and heir of the Volvo Ocean Race, were announced by co-owners Richard Brisius and Johan Salén long time partners in Atlant Racing, who were supported by key members of their embryonic team.

French sailing newsletter, Tip & Shaft.com were on hand to quiz some of the assembled congregation which, predictably, included a host of IMOCA skippers and ex Volvo sailors, team managers and sponsors.

A new name. A new visual identity soon.

The Volvo Ocean Race is consigned to history. Now it the crewed race around the world will be known simply as The Ocean Race. Even if the Swedish car manufacturer remains the main sponsor of the race around the world for the next edition, Volvo are no longer the title partner. But could they be be replaced by another brand that might be a naming partner? "Our wish is to keep the name as neutral as possible. But at the same time, we don't want to completely close the door to a title sponsor. So the idea would be more to maybe use a formula like The Ocean Race presented by ...", responds Johan Salén who confirmed the visual identity of the race will be revealed soon.

One rule, provision for accommodation for the crew

In the morning before the presentation of The Ocean Race, the General Assembly of Imoca voted almost unanimously (71 for, 4 abstentions, 0 against) in favour of the new version of the rule developed by the president of the class, Antoine Mermod, and the technical committee. "Basically, nothing changes, but the rule is written much simpler, explanatory and informative way so that is easier for people coming into the class for the first time and for those who arbitrate to make clearer decisions." explains Antoine Mermod.

Initially the plan was for a version of the rule specific to The Ocean Race. Now that will not be the case. The measurement rule will be much the same, save for a few adjustments - the main one being the reduction of ballast on the crewed version to take into account the extra weight. "There was a debate between having two documents or just one, but as we want the same boats to compete in all races open to Imoca, it was more consistent to make a single rule covering the two modes. It will make it easier to convert the boats between the two different modes and we see at as more likely to be able to better bring the two worlds together ", continues Mermod.

Past Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou has been involved in the discussions. He says "It was not easy to get everyone together on to the same page on this project, but this way allows dual purpose boats which will costs less money and be more adaptable." Does this mean that a typical Vendée Globe boat will be able to win The Ocean Race? "Winning the race, no, a boat built for the Volvo will maintain an advantage, but podiums or even stage wins, yes," says designer Juan Kouymoudjian.

A course with more downwind and fewer stops

But the thorny question, one which they have been working on since September - is the actual course for the 2021-2022 race. It should be unveiled "before the second quarter of 2019," according to Johan Salén, who continues, "By the end of March we should know the regions we are going to and the order of the stages, then we will have to finalise the contracts with the cities in the knowledge that as it stands today, 45 have expressed their interest."

Salén believes "It is important to uphold the concept of the race going to all the continents". But the course will be in tune with the traditional Imoca designs, "There will be less upwind, more downwind and more in the South. It is always very important to go to Asia, but we want to go there in a less painful way than last time, it took a lot of time to go from Melbourne to Hongkong so we want to find a simpler way. There are other bits of the course where you can also avoid upwind stuff and light winds".

Race Director Phil Lawrence adds, "We are trying design the course with a lot of downwind sailing, evern more than in the traditional course. Asia is important to the sponsors, Asia will be in I think. We are modelling some scenarios with some longer Southern Ocean legs for the downwind element. But it is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. We have the weather constraints, the Atlantic hurricane season, the cyclone season in the Pacific, we have to round Cape Horn before the end of March, it can cold on the east coast of North America. China and the Far East the further you go north you have the north east monsoon, it is freezing and horrible."

One of the options is a first leg between Alicante and Brazil, then a second between Brazil and Australia, the stop in South Africa coming after the passage of the Horn detouring to Asia - before the fleet goes to the United States. One certainty is a reduction in the number of legs. Lawrence says, "We have to find a balance. The IMOCA teams would prefer less crew and fewer legs and the traditional 'Volvo' crews 'get' the commercial value and prefer more stops." The result "There will be seven or eight stages", answers Johan Salén. Will there be one in France? Salén responds: "We know it's important for the French teams, so it's an ambition for us," According to our sources one hypotheses on the table is for a prologue in Marseille, before the fleet heads to Alicante for the October start.

10-15 IMOCA teams expected and 5-7 VO 65

Tuesday's presentation featured a Who's Who of French and international sailing: Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Alain Gautier, Paul Meilhat, Vincent Riou, Fabrice Amedeo, Stewart Hosford and Ross Daniel for Hugo Boss, Sam Davies, Louis Burton and Servane Escoffier, Eric Péron, Boris Herrmann, Conrad Colman, Marcus Hutchinson, Romain Attanasio, Alan Roura, Pierre-François Dargnies for Team Charal, representatives of Offshore Team Germany but also teams from the last Volvo (Dongfeng Race Team, Mapfre, Brunel, AkzoNobel) and Charlie Enright, former skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing ...

How many will actually make it to Alicante in October 2021? Johan Salén hopes for "10-15 Imoca and 5-7 VO65 [the latter being only for young crews, Ed], He says, "Right now, today, no one has a funded project, but we have good levels of interest from the teams who participated in the last Volvo, from completely new teams and we try to work as much as possible with the current Imoca teams ".

For the rest of this story and a round up off the week's news click here for Tip& Shaft Edition 9

Related Articles

The Ocean Race Summits Newport
Bringing leaders together to focus on ocean health Hosted live from Newport, RI, the latest online iteration of The Ocean Race Summits promoted solutions to restore health to the ocean. Posted on 17 Sep
The Ocean Race Summits return to Newport
To shine a light on ocean health The next edition of The Ocean Race Summits will be an engaging, interactive, virtual conference, based out of Newport, RI, where the Summit concept was pioneered over five years ago during a stopover of the 2014-15 edition of The Ocean Race. Posted on 29 Aug
The Ocean Race confirms 12 month postponement
Delayed until 2022/23 with the prospect of a European race in 2021 Organisers of The Ocean Race have confirmed the next edition of the Race will start from Alicante, Spain, in October 2022 and finish in Genova, Italy, in the summer of 2023 during the 50th jubilee anniversary year of the Race. Posted on 16 Jul
The Ocean Race: Major announcement imminent
Major announcement imminent - believed to be 12 month postponement Organisers of The Ocean Race are expected to make a major announcement with the next 24 hours. It is believed to be a postponement of the start of the race, formerly the Volvo Ocean Race for a year. Posted on 15 Jul
The Ocean Race announce Official Logistic Provider
The specialists in global logistics will take up the toughest challenge in sport... Following successful collaborations in the 2014-15 and 2017-18 editions of the Race, GAC Pindar has been appointed Official Logistics Provider to The Ocean Race for an unprecedented third consecutive time. Posted on 14 Jul
2020 Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy overall
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team wins the 2020 Sailing Trophy The inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy has come to a close, with The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team's 'Racing for the Planet' crew taking line honours in both legs this weekend. Posted on 29 Jun
Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy begins
The event is being held to raise awareness and important funds The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy has begun in light wind conditions, as competitors across three classes race two legs between Cascais and Sesimbra hoping to take home the prize pool of over €30,000. Posted on 27 Jun
Extreme Drone Catches
Here are the bits we didn't show you... You've seen our incredible drone footage from the remotest and wildest oceans, but here are the bits we didn't show you... Posted on 20 Jun
VO65 entry and star-studded line-up
50+ boats confirmed for inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy The inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy is set to thrill sailing fans as two VO65 entries are confirmed to join a fleet of over 50 competing boats that will line up on June 27 for the start of a two-leg race to win a share of a €30,000 prize pool. Posted on 19 Jun
VO65 entry and star-studded line-up
Charles Caudrelier will take part in the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team has announced the official entry of its VO65 'Racing for the Planet' boat in next week's inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, crewed by a star-studded team. Posted on 17 Jun
Official-Team-Gear-Red 728x90 BOTTOMC-Tech 2020 C-Tech 728x90 BOTTOMVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1