The Ocean Race is a fully crewed round the world race originally known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, then the Volvo Ocean Race.

The crewed around the world race with stopovers has always been one of yachting’s premier ocean races and, after several delays this latest edition is set to start on 15 January 2023.

The race organisers are also running a new event designed to showcase top-flight, fully-crewed, competitive offshore racing based around northern Europe: the Ocean Race Europe.

The Ocean Race is scheduled to run every four years, with the Ocean Race Europe also planned to take place every four years, essentially allowing competition between the teams to take place every two years in one form or another.

It’s unusual for IMOCA 60s to race with more than two crew onboard.

What boats compete in The Ocean Race?

For the first time ever IMOCA 60s will be taking part in a fully crewed round the world race this year, with several teams set to take part.

The IMOCA 60 class has long been at the forefront of ocean racing and is used for the solo non-stop round the world epic, the Vendée Globe as well as a number of other premiere short handed ocean events such as the Route du Rhum and Transat Jaques Vabre.

However, the IMOCA 60s have always been designed and built with single and double handed racing in mind, so teams competing will have had to make significant changes to their semi-foiling 60 footers to make them capable of sailing with a full crew.

The IMOCAs are sailed by a complement of five crew, including an onboard reporter (OBR) that takes no part in the sailing. Each IMOCA 60 team has to include at least one female sailor.

VO65s no longer go for a third lap of the planet. Photo: Robin Christol

What is The Ocean Race Sprint Cup?

Initially the intention was for two fleets to take part in The Ocean Race proper with the second fleet consisting on the one design VO65 boats used in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

However, plans have since changed and while the IMOCA 60s will complete a full lap of the planet, including seven legs to finish in Genoa, Italy, the VO65s will sail just the first and last two legs in what the organisers have called The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup.

A new trophy will be awarded to the VO65 team which accumulates the best score across three legs of the race; Alicante, Spain, to Cape Verde; Aarhus, Denmark, to The Hague, the Netherlands; and The Hague to the overall finish in Genoa, Italy.

What is The Ocean Race course?

The course for The Ocean Race has a new first stopover mid-Atlantic at the Cape Verdes, before an extra long Southern Ocean leg of 12,750 miles from Cape Town, South Africa, to Itajai, Brazil. This new stage passes south of all three Great Capes and is expected to take 34 days.

After this mammoth Southern Ocean leg, the fleet then moves onto a series of much shorter legs. From Brazil they head to Newport, USA. They then cross the Atlantic to Aarhus, DEN. After that a very short hop from Aarhus to The Hague, NED fore a race from The Hague back to Genova, ITA.

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