CEO Knut Frostad comments on the state of the current race and changes for 2011-2012

Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, has made the first in a series of presentations covering the current state of the race, and looking forward to the next edition – 2011-12.

A mid-race report showed this Volvo Ocean Race was on track to be the most widely covered edition in its 35-year history.

“As modern communications evolve, so too does the Volvo Ocean Race,” Frostad said. “For this edition we introduced many innovations: the on board media crew member, shooting footage on board in HD, is at the core of everything we do; our mobile channel is a great success – in January the mobile site was hit every single second, for example; and I don’t think any of us anticipated the success of the Virtual Game, which will soon surpass 200 000 players, from nearly 200 countries around the world.”

Highlights from the Mid Race Report included:
? 811,677 – the number of visitors to the race village in Cochin, India
? 2,350,392 spectators in the Volvo Ocean Race villages to date
? 547,251,706 cumulative TV audience
? 319 broadcast media outlets from 55 countries taking news feeds
? 2,410,000 unique visitors to

The Next Race
“As healthy as the race is now, we know that things are changing all the time, and the Volvo Ocean Race has to evolve if it is to remain at the pinnacle of the professional sailing world,” Frostad added. “Our goal is to increase participation and get more boats into the next race. What we have come up with, I believe, are the right changes at the right time.”

In the current economic climate, increasing the value of the race is critical. Cost-cutting measures are being evaluated as are changes that will increase the return on investment to sponsors.

For the 2011-12 edition, there will be a tighter restriction on the number of sails the teams are allowed to use. Sail inventory will be reduced by nearly 40 percent, and furling headsails will be introduced.

That in turn will make the boats easier to handle and so the crew on board has been reduced by one. It was also announced that each team will be required to have three crew members who are under 30 years of age when the race starts, compared to the current requirement for two.

“These changes?and the ones still to come, have come to fruition following an extensive consultation process. Each one is measured against three criteria: to make and keep the race attractive for sailors, to reduce the cost for teams significantly, and to increase the return on investment for team sponsors. If a proposed change doesn’t measure up against one of those yardsticks, we won’t make it.”

The Route:
Although a route has yet to be finalised, the next edition of the race will start and finish in Europe, should have two or three less stopovers compared to the current race, and the total time for the race should be about one month shorter. It is expected that the full route for 2011-12 will be announced in the first quarter of 2010.

The next presentation is scheduled to take place in Boston on 10 May, during the In-Port Race weekend.

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