Merging IMOCA with The Ocean Race

Published on December 14th, 2018

There was a celebration in Paris as the IMOCA world joined forces with The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race) in looking ahead to the start of the next edition in October 2021.

On December 11, the IMOCA General Assembly passed a newly written version of the Class Rule for fully crewed events, defining the characteristics of yachts that will compete in the IMOCA 60 class of the next race.

“This was a big moment for the race,” said Johan Salén, co-President of The Ocean Race. “It’s the first concrete outcome of a collaboration that began this summer as we work towards integrating the IMOCA Class into our event.”

The rule defines a boat that respects the open design philosophy of the IMOCA Class as well as balancing crew safety and performance the same way the short-handed version of the rule does.

“It has been important for us to minimize the changes that would need to be made for boats to compete well in both short-handed and fully crew configurations,” said Antoine Mermod, President of IMOCA.

“We have worked together with current and potential teams, as well as experienced IMOCA designers, to come up with a solution that allows existing boats to race on a competitive basis in a fully crewed event.”

Following the IMOCA General Assembly, Richard Brisius, the President of The Ocean Race, spoke about the next steps.

“We intend to issue the Notice of Race and open the entry period in the coming days,” he said. “The Notice of Race is a technical document, but in reality these rules are an expression of our vision for the event and will affirm our commitment to youth and crew diversity as well as a robust sustainability program.

“We will see two classes in the next race, with the IMOCA 60s pushing the frontiers of design and engineering and bring the larger maritime industry back into the race. And the one-design VO65 class will return, with close racing and a larger crew size that allows for youth rules. Both classes will have women on board.”

Brisius noted the host city procurement process is already underway, with the race route to be defined and host cities announced by the summer of 2019.

While in Paris, representatives from the race had been taking meetings with prospective teams to update on progress and get feedback on how the race should evolve.

“The signs are all very positive,” Salén said. “There is a healthy mix of what I would call the more traditional teams who have done our race before, alongside those who have been more immersed in the short-handed IMOCA world. We know there are still hurdles to overcome, but we are eager to merge these two worlds. We are stronger together.”

“From my side it is encouraging that we have been able to move so far in such a short period of time of working together,” Mermod said. “We have to keep listening so that we understand each other well and we take full advantage of this opportunity and make it a success.”

To view the preliminary Notice of Race, click here.

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Volvo Ocean Race Overall Results (after 11 of 11 legs)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 73 points
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 70
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 69
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 59
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 39
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 32
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 32

In-Port Race Series Overall Results (after 11 of 11 races)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 64 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 56
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 50
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 50
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 35
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 25
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 25

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Source: Volvo Ocean Race

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