Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster GETSEASMART 728x90

The Ocean Race enters new era with global launch event

by The Ocean Race 21 Mar 2019 13:10 PDT
Boris Herrmann, skipper of IMOCA MALIZIA II. Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe 2018. © Malizia / Yacht Club de Monaco

The Ocean Race revealed its new brand identity and confirmed two team entries during an online launch event hosted in Alicante, Spain.

Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race (1973 to 1997) and the Volvo Ocean Race (2001 to 2018), The Ocean Race is the premiere, fully-crewed, offshore race in the world, and a pinnacle event in the sport of sailing.

Although now under new ownership, The Ocean Race retains Volvo as a premier race partner.

"This is a big moment for The Ocean Race," said Managing Director Johan Salén. "We are excited to be moving forward with a new identity that reflects the best of our heritage human ambition, technology, competition and teamwork while adding in new elements, like our core focus on sustainability."

The next edition of The Ocean Race will start in 2021 from Alicante, Spain, with two classes of boats racing: the high-tech, foiling IMOCA 60s and the one-design VO65 fleet that provided the closest race in the history of the event in the last edition.

"Opening up The Ocean Race to the IMOCA class isn't just exciting for the sailors. It puts us back at the forefront of technology and gets the entire marine sector from designers and engineers, to boatbuilders and sailmakers involved in the race again," said Executive Director Richard Mason.

"There are nine new IMOCA 60s in build across the world and we know several of them are being prepared as projects for our race. And on the other side, we already have six of the eight VO65s that are essentially spoken for by campaigns planning to be on the start line in 2021."

Two VO65 campaigns were announced on Thursday

Paulo Mirpuri, the chairman of the Mirpuri Foundation, who was a founding partner of Turn the Tide on Plastic in the last race, announced he would have at least one team competing in The Ocean Race.

"I'm delighted to announce that the Mirpuri Foundation will be a part of the next edition of the Race," Mirpuri said by video link from Lisbon, Portugal. "Our intention is to build a campaign in the VO65 boat the one-design class that produced such thrillingly close racing last time out to take our sustainability message around the globe."

Mirpuri added that he was intrigued by the technology challenge posed by the IMOCA 60 and was considering a second entry in that class.

"I'm extremely interested in the IMOCA class, which will showcase the best in technology and innovation. Alongside sustainability, these are both values we hold dearly at the Mirpuri Foundation. As such, I'm also exploring the possibility of an IMOCA campaign that would make a strong challenge for The Ocean Race trophy."

Connecting to Alicante from Auckland, New Zealand, Bianca Cook, who raced on board Turn the Tide on Plastic in the 2017-18 event, announced she would be spearheading a New Zealand flagged team.

Tony Rae (Trae), a veteran of six editions of the race, twice as a winner, as well as seven America's Cup teams, is on board to manage the campaign.

"After the race finished in The Hague, I was ready to go again and since then I've been working with Trae to put together a team for the next Ocean Race," Cook said.

"We have a deep pool of New Zealand sailors to draw from as we put together the crew I can't mention any names just yet but watch this space."

According to Mason, further team announcements are likely over the coming weeks and months, despite the start being over 2.5 years away.

Xabi Fernández, who skippered MAPFRE to a second place finish in the last race, the best ever result for a Spanish team, was in Alicante for the launch event and said he is working hard to have a competitive entry in the next race.

"Of course it's very tempting and hopefully we will be there again as a team. It's been five in a row, not just for me but for the whole team," Fernández said. "The IMOCA 60 is very different; it's a much faster boat, much less people on board.

"There's a lot of technology and development, a lot of design, and the earlier you start the better, so that's why we want to get going as soon as we can."

Also in Alicante was Brazil's Olympic gold medallist Martine Grael, who raced on board team AkzoNobel in 2017-18. Talking about the evolution of the race she said: "In the last edition, the boats were pushed to the limit and in 2021 there will be less crew on board the IMOCAs with faster racing. I think it will be more extreme than ever before. The boat has a very big appeal."

In Lorient, France, Paul Meilhat, the winner of the 2018 Route du Rhum, said getting an IMOCA 60 team on the start line in Alicante is his goal.

"The Ocean Race is my priority," Meilhat confirmed. "It's a big opportunity for me and for French sailors and companies to do this race and to be more international. The Ocean Race is a big, global event, taking place over nearly one year, so different than what we normally do and it gives us a great opportunity.

"In the last race, The Ocean Race did a really good job with sustainability it's a priority. I'm convinced this is the future of sailing and for me it's a big challenge I want to be a part of."

The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will feature up to nine stopover ports, with the Host City procurement process now under way with site visits to candidate cities.

One of the iconic host cities of the last two editions of the race has been Newport, Rhode Island. Brad Read led the stopover delivery team in 2015 and 2018.

"Newport has been welcoming sailors for centuries... and having The Ocean Race come to town is an iconic moment for an iconic city and port of call," Read said from Sail Newport where he is the Executive Director.

"We're proud of the history that Newport has with the race and our accomplishments and those of our partners over the course of the last two stopovers."

After welcoming the fleet back into the northern hemisphere in the last two races, Newport is among the cities currently engaged in a Host City procurement process that will result in the full race route being announced before the end of the summer, one of the organisational milestones for the race and competitors alike.

"It's an exciting time," concluded Antoine Mermod, the President of IMOCA. "For a few months we've been working together with The Ocean Race to organise the best event we can. What The Ocean Race is building is really something that will change the offshore sailing world in the future."

www.theoceanrace.com

Related Articles

The Ocean Race: 20 teams registered in two fleets
There's a total of 20 teams registered on The Ocean Race website, paying an initial €5000 fee Two divisions have been announced for the 2021/22 race, now The Ocean Race. There's a total of 20 teams registered on The Ocean Race website, each paying an initial registration fee of €5,000. Posted on 31 Mar
The Whitbread Round the World Race 1977-78
The Official Film of the second edition where 15 yachts completed the four-leg course The second edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race cemented the race's place as a fixture and pillar event in the sport of sailing. Dutchman Conny van Rietschoten would claim the race on corrected time in Flyer. Posted on 29 Mar
The Ocean Race: "Which side of the Big Island?"
Part 1 of an update on The Ocean Race - this one looking at the course and Australia's influence Three weeks ago, at the end of February, Sail-World.com's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, spoke with Richard Mason, Race Director and Peter Rusch, PR Director, of The Ocean Race for an update on the race. Here's how the course is shaping up. Posted on 27 Mar
Tribute to John Fisher lost in the Southern Ocean
From the crew of Scallywag, remembering their crew member and dear friend, John Fisher From the crew of Scallywag, remembering their crew member and dear friend, John Fisher, lost in the Southern Ocean this day March 26 in 2018. Posted on 26 Mar
Yoann Richomme responds to route announcement
The Ocean Race route for the 2021-22 edition confirmed It is great to get The Ocean Race route for the 2021-22 edition confirmed. We are out on the water already in the Racing for the Planet boat Posted on 12 Mar
The Ocean Race 2021-22 route is announced
The race will visit 10 iconic cities around the world For the first time, The Ocean Race is now open to the high-tech, foiling IMOCA 60 class, in addition to the one-design VO65 boats that provided record-breaking performance and such close, compelling racing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. Posted on 12 Mar
America's sailing capital to host The Ocean Race
Only North American stopover at Newport, Rhode Island Sail Newport and The Ocean Race announced today that for the third consecutive edition of the competition, The Ocean Race will make its only North American stopover in Newport, Rhode Island, in the spring of 2022. Posted on 10 Mar
Watch Gatorade compete in Round the World Race
The boats may have changed, but the challenge is the same... What a difference 30 years makes! Take a look at life on board the Italian entry Gatorade during the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Posted on 23 Feb
The Ocean Race: Biggest waves and wettest moments
Appetiser from the The Ocean Race featuring some of the biggest waves and wettest moments Appetiser from the The Ocean Race featuring some of the biggest waves and wettest moments from the previous edition of the 45,000nm Round the World classic conducted under the banner of the Volvo Ocean Race. Posted on 17 Feb
The Ocean Race: MFRT announces its skipper
Team continues to set preparation benchmark for 2021-22 race The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team has today announced that Yoann Richomme will skipper the team's 'Racing for the Planet' boat in the 2021 edition of The Ocean Race, the world's longest and toughest sporting event. Posted on 4 Feb
Melges IC37 2019 FooterSOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 BottomETNZShop-Merch-728x90 HR Bottom