The Ocean Race launches virtual pilot
Published on March 28th, 2023
(March 28, 2023) – The Ocean Race launched a metaverse experience pilot today with Virtual Regatta and Accenture to engage fans and businesses in a new way with the world-renowned, global yacht race. The virtual reality pilot is meant to enhance fan experiences, enable new e-commerce opportunities and inspire people to protect the ocean.
The companies developed a metaverse environment that allows gamers and enthusiasts of the race’s official e-sailing game, Virtual Regatta, to take part in exclusive online events, interact with other fans and get access to team stats.
“We are entering the metaverse and our collaboration with Virtual Regatta and Accenture because we are explorers and pioneers,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race. “Since 1973 we have sought new ways for people to engage with what is happening in the ocean.”
Philippe Guigné, founder and CEO of Virtual Regatta, added, “The metaverse is a new experience provided by Virtual Regatta and TheOcean Race that will allow people to follow the physical and virtual race in an all-digital race village. Gamers and enthusiasts will be able to meet each other, watch the physical and digital event, and much more. This virtual reality setup will further enhance the fan experience.”
Accenture, The Ocean Race and Virtual Regatta are also providing e-commerce opportunities for brands to showcase their digital goods and services in the metaverse space, such as active apparel retailer and official clothing partner of the race Helly Hansen.
Additionally, The Ocean Race’s mission to protect the seas is incorporated in the metaverse strategy and content. The Racing with Purpose tent, named after the organization’s sustainability program, is an interactive space where visitors can explore how the race supports this goal and how they can get involved.
The area features a science station, which highlights how race teams are gathering vital data about the ocean, and a learning corner where visitors can discover and download learning programs to inspire youth between 6–16 years old to protect the seas. Also showcased is the Blue Voice campaign, which gives an opportunity for visitors to show their support by signing the petition for ocean rights.
“The metaverse will usher in a new era of our digital lives, overcoming the limitations of the physical world and creating new opportunities to immerse in issues and connect as communities,” said David Treat, who is the co-lead of Accenture’s Metaverse Continuum business group. “Our collaboration with The Ocean Race and Virtual Regatta is helping reinvent how people engage with the race and protect our oceans while creating value for all stakeholders.”
Richard Brisius added, “Purpose drives The Ocean Race. Protecting our racetrack and restoring the health of the ocean is vital, and the metaverse can be a fantastic tool for helping give the ocean a voice. It is even more important for us to continue to explore new ways to engage and educate. We recognize that it is the young generation where we need to focus our efforts to build ocean literacy, as the metaverse is likely to attract many young users.
“In addition, we believe in the merits of Web 3.0 with a metaverse which will represent a fair internet controlled by the users, compared to the current Web 2.0 which is centralized and run by a few entities.”
More than 200,000 players are expected to take part in the Virtual Regatta Offshore and Inshore versions of the race. There are seven International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) legs and three VO65 Sprint stages on Virtual Regatta Offshore, with new features for an expanded virtual experience; mimicking the real race the crews are undertaking.
The Ocean Race metaverse pilot experience, in collaboration with Virtual Regatta and Accenture, will be available to users on a limited basis starting with the last week of Leg 3 of the race from Cape Town to Itajaí, Brazil.
Request your Metaverse access code here:
Race details – Route – Tracker – Teams – Content from the boats – YouTube
IMOCA: Boat, Design, Skipper, Launch date
• Guyot Environnement – Team Europe (VPLP Verdier); Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)/Robert Stanjek (GER); September 1, 2015
• 11th Hour Racing Team (Guillaume Verdier); Charlie Enright (USA); August 24, 2021
• Holcim-PRB (Guillaume Verdier); Kevin Escoffier (FRA); May 8, 2022
• Team Malizia (VPLP); Boris Herrmann (GER); July 19, 2022
• Biotherm (Guillaume Verdier); Paul Meilhat (FRA); August 31 2022
The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 (1900 nm) start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 (4600 nm) start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 (12750 nm) start: February 26
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 (5500 nm) start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 (3500 nm) start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 (800 nm) start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 (2200 nm) 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.
Additionally, The Ocean Race also features the In-Port Series with races at seven of the course’s stopover cities around the world which allow local fans to get up close and personal to the teams as they battle it out around a short inshore course.
Although in-port races do not count towards a team’s overall points score, they do play an important part in the overall rankings as the In-Port Race Series standings are used to break any points ties that occur during the race around the world.
The 14th edition of The Ocean Race was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic, with the first leg starting on January 15, 2023.
Source: The Ocean Race