Four confirmed entries to the Barcelona World Race with just one year to go 13/11/06
Just over a year ago in the Catalonian city of Barcelona, OC Events launched a new double-handed, non-stop round the world race, simply called the Barcelona World Race.
An entirely new event but to be raced over the classic, east-about non-stop route around the world via the three great Capes, onboard IMOCA Open 60 monohulls. It was a new and significant addition to the IMOCA Ocean Racing World Championship calendar that runs on a four-year cycle, and which remains dominated by the Everest of the short-handed sailing, the Vendée Globe. It was an ambitious step for ocean racing and for the organising company, OC Events, which is part of the OC Group owned by Mark Turner and Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Now a year on and with only a year to go until the start of the race on
Sunday 11 November 2007, things are looking good for this new race. Mark Turner – OC Group CEO – commented: “It was a key objective of this new race to attract both the traditional solo sailor as well as sailors from the world of crewed racing, such as, the Volvo Ocean Race, and we have begun to see that effect in the entries we have received since we opened the entry list in September.” Case in point being the UK entry of Hugo Boss skippered by Alex Thomson and co-skippered by Andrew Cape recent navigator on Volvo 70 Movistar and previously Alinghi in the America’s Cup, and the French entry of PRB with Vincent Riou (winner of the last solo Vendée Globe) and Sébastien Josse (skipper Volvo 70 ABN AMRO TWO). “Our focus has been 100 per cent on entry acquisition to ensure we have a decent number of IMOCA Open 60 boats on the start line by next November.”
With around 21 IMOCA 60s actively racing, five of them new boats including Vincent Riou’s PRB, and nine new builds already confirmed for next year, the IMOCA class can now claim to be the largest professional ocean class in the world today, even surpassing the Whitbread Maxi days of 1989. Official entry for the Barcelona World Race opened in September after the publication of the Notice of Race, and since then four teams have officially confirmed their entry. PRB, Hugo Boss, Temenos II (Dominique Wavre/Michèle Paret), Virbac-Paprec (Jean-Pierre Dick) with Roland Jourdain, skipper of Sill et Veolia, declaring his intention to race.
OC Events, and the Organising Authority of the Catalan-based FNO, are expecting a further five or more teams to submit their entry forms by early 2007 and there is the potential for at least 15 IMOCA Open 60s to be crossing the Barcelona start line come next November. Turner concluded: “The very first edition of the Vendée Globe in 1989/90 began with seven entries, the edition in 2008 is already over-subscribed as the organisers cap the entry level at 30 boats. Ten high quality campaigns competing in the inaugural Barcelona World Race will be a job well done for us, and we will have set the standard for the future editions.”
Some outside observers believe they will achieve this and more, and those few skippers currently reticent about competing in a non-stop around the world race one year before the solo Vendée Globe, may find they cannot afford to be left behind. As PRB skipper Vincent Riou claimed: “The pace of reference for the next Vendée Globe, will not be the one from the Vendée Globe 2004, but the pace from the Barcelona World Race.” For more news about the race go to www.barcelonaworldrace.com