The Ocean Race to revisit China
Published on December 17th, 2019
The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race has revealed it will make one stop in Asia at the city of Shenzhen, located directly north of Hong Kong, in an area known as the Great Bay.
While the location of the finish line was not shared, the density of marine traffic in the region is significant, and it was on the leg to Hong Kong for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race when there was a fatal collision between a competing team and a fishing vessel east of Waglan Island, just outside Hong Kong waters.
However, The Ocean Race must follow the money, and Shenzhen has been among China’s most prosperous and fastest growing cities for the past 30 years. As a home to many top multinational companies and manufacturers, as well as leading Chinese companies, it is an important hub for many race stakeholders.
“This is the fifth consecutive edition of the race where we have brought a stopover to China,” said Johan Salén, Managing Director of The Ocean Race, noting the route to the region began with the 2008-09 edition.
Shenzhen, also known as China’s Silicon Valley, is home to a population approaching 20-million, ranking it among the top five most populated cities in the country.
As the complete race route is not yet announced, the course angle in and out of Shenzhen is not known. However, to mitigate the dangers from the significant marine traffic in the region, race organizers have as a resource the independent report that was commissioned following the accident.
The Volvo High Traffic Density Report, authored by Chris Oxenbould, Stan Honey and Chuck Hawley, examined ocean racing at night in areas of high vessel traffic density.
The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will feature two classes of boats – the innovative, foiling, IMOCA 60 class, along with the one-design VO65 boats that produced the close and compelling competition of the last race.
“Opening the race to the IMOCA 60 fleet as well as the VO65 means we can have the best of both worlds,” Salén explained. “In the last edition, the VO65s proved to be fast and reliable, and promoted extremely close racing.
“With the IMOCA 60, we bring once again innovation and yacht design as well as an engineering and boat-building element to the race, and the IMOCA boats will be foiling, which puts them at the cutting-edge of the sport.”
The past four editions of the race have featured Chinese-flagged entries, culminating with the inspiring win by Dongfeng Race Team in 2017-18. At least one Chinese entry is expected for the 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race.
The 14th edition of The Ocean Race is scheduled to start from its home port in Alicante, Spain in Q4 of 2021 and finish in Genoa, Italy in June of 2022. The full Race Route will be determined in 2019. Auckland, New Zealand joins Cape Town, South Africa; Itajaí, Brazil; Aarhus, Denmark; and The Hague in The Netherlands as confirmed Host Cities, along with Cabo Verde, which will be the first West African stop in the history of the Race.
The Ocean Race (formerly The Volvo Ocean Race), scheduled to start in 2021, will be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race. Entries in the IMOCA 60 class will compete for The Ocean Race trophy, while those racing the VO65s will chase the Ocean Challenge Trophy.
While we wait for the full race route, organizers had previously revealed there would be up to nine stopover ports. Here’s what has been confirmed so far:
• Alicante, Spain: This historic Mediterranean port will host the start for the fifth consecutive edition in the autumn of 2021.
• Aarhus, Denmark: The course comes to the east coast of the Jutland peninsula during the spring of 2022, following a popular ‘Fly-By’ of the city during the final leg of the 2017-18 edition of the Race. Details.
• The Hague, Netherlands: This city along the North Sea coast will welcome the race for a third consecutive time, first coming as a ‘pitstop’ on the final leg of the 2014-15 edition and as the final finish port for the 2017-18 race. Details.
• Cabo Verde: More accustomed to having offshore teams sail by, or stop for repair, this archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean will become just the second African venue the race has ever visited and the first West African nation to host the event. Details.
• Genoa, Italy: As the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, this first-time race host is Italy’s largest sea port yet remains full of grandeur as the gateway to the Riviera while offering weighty architectural heritage. Details.
• Itajaí, Brazil: To the south of Rio de Janeiro, Itajaí was founded in the mid-19th century by German and Italian colonists, and is now the commercial centre and Atlantic port for an agricultural region drained by the Itajaí River and its tributaries. Details.
• Cape Town, South Africa: Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the United East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Located at latitude 33.55° S, it’s approximately the same as Sydney and Buenos Aires and equivalent to Casablanca and Los Angeles in the northern hemisphere. Details.
• Auckland, New Zealand: European, Polynesian, Asian, and strong Maori heritages give Auckland its distinctive culture. Located in the North Island of New Zealand, it is the most populous urban area in the country with an urban population of around 1,570,100. Details.
• Shenzhen, China: Located in the southeast, the city is a modern metropolis that links Hong Kong to China’s mainland. It’s known for its shopping destinations and features contemporary buildings, such as the 600m-tall skyscraper Ping An International Finance Centre, and a number of amusement parks. The city is a leading global technology hub and was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world in the 1990s and the 2000s. Details.
• IMOCA – Team Malizia (GER)- Boris Herrmann (GER)
• VO65 – Racing For The Planet (POR)
• IMOCA – Paul Meilhat (FRA)
• IMOCA – 11th Hour Racing (USA) – Charlie Enright & Mark Towill (USA)
Source: The Ocean Race