Six teams to compete in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint

Published on December 22nd, 2022

While five IMOCA teams are set to race around the world in The Ocean Race 2023, there are six confirmed VO65 entries for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which will compete in three of the legs.

The Ocean Race Sprint Cup*
Leg 1: Alicante, Spain to Cabo Verde
Leg 2: Aarhus, Denmark to The Hague, the Netherlands
Leg 3: The Hague to Genova, Italy
* These legs coincide with Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course

Representing North America in this shorter race is team Viva México led by Mexican skipper Erik Brockmann, which will compete against Ambersail 2 (LTU), Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team (POR), Team JAJO (NED), WindWhisper Racing Team (POL), and Austrian Ocean Racing – Team Genova (AUT/ITA).

According to Brockmann – an accomplished Mexican yachtsman and past world champion skipper who also led the team in The Ocean Race Europe – taking part in the new sprint event is another significant step towards a Mexican crew racing around the world in The Ocean Race for the first time since his countryman Ramón Carlín won the first ever edition in 1973-74 aboard Sayula II.

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“In 2019 we set ourselves the goal to bring Mexico back to The Ocean Race – 50 years after our friends onboard Sayula II won the first edition,” Brockmann said. “We are proud to represent Mexico again, like we did in The Ocean Race Europe, and we are raring to go to try to win The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup.

“Getting to the start has been a huge challenge and the toughest race of my life so far, but I am 100 percent sure it has all been worth it – so thanks to everyone who has made this possible. We can’t wait to be back doing what we enjoy the most out on the ocean.”

The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint is for the one design VO65s which competed in the two prior editions of The Ocean Race (called the Volvo Ocean Race), and will be raced by a mixed gender 10-person crew which must include three female and three under-30 sailors

The VO65 teams will also take part in their own four-heat in-port race series with inshore races held during the stopovers in Alicante, Cabo Verde, The Hague, and Genova.

Brockmann said he was honoured to once again be skippering the Mexican crew and vowed to do his best to follow in the late Ramón Carlín’s footsteps.

In particular he said the team was looking forward to the build up to the start of the race in Alicante – site of The Ocean Race headquarters – which begins with the opening of the Ocean Live Park race village on January 7, 2023 ahead of the Alicante in-port race on January 8, and the start of leg 1 on January 15.

“Alicante will be very special for us being a Latin Spanish-speaking team,” he said. “We are hoping we will get the support of the home crowd.”

The team is still finalizing its sailing team line-up but Brockmann revealed a few names already, including race veteran Chuny Bermudez de Castro who will join along with his son Carlos Bermudez de Castro for the opening stage.

Two-time The Ocean Race competitor Jaime Arbones from Spain, a four time Olympian and former top ranked Laser sailor Tania Elias Calles from Mexico will be on the crew too along with Juan Varela and Juan Luis Medina from Mexico who were part of The Ocean Race Europe team. More crew announcements will follow.

NOTE: This report has been revised to reflect the late entry of Austrian Ocean Racing – Team Genova (AUT/ITA) in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint.


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The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 start: February 26 or 27 (TBC)
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 start: June 15
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: June 25, 2023; Final In-Port Race: July 1, 2023

The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread Round the World Race) was initially to 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. However, only the IMOCAs will be racing round the world while the VO65s will race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which competes in Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course. The 14th edition was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic.

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