Last week, upwards of 20 registered team projects convened at The Ocean Race headquarters in Alicante for the first of series of meetings designed to keep some of the most important stakeholders in the event – the teams – up to date on the progress of the 2021-22 edition of the Race.
Workshop and information sessions were held on topics such as technology on board the VO65 and IMOCA 60 fleets, rule compliance, commercial and marketing opportunities, sustainability and marketing and communications.
“The idea was to gather all the registered teams in one place for the first time in this race cycle to discuss the future of the event,” said Richard Mason, Teams Director for The Ocean Race.
“There have been a lot of changes implemented since the finish of the last Race and we felt this was a good time to check in, exchange ideas and have some frank and open discussions with the people who are putting together campaigns to compete in the next edition of The Ocean Race.”
While not all registered teams were able to attend in person, the numbers indicate strong team interest in the 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race, which will be the first to include both the one-design VO65 class as well as the foiling IMOCA 60s.
"As a team that just kicked-off our campaign towards the next race a few days ago, this was a great opportunity to hear from both The Ocean Race organisers as well as other IMOCA teams to discuss how we see the next event taking shape,” said Mark Towill of the newly-formed 11th Hour Racing Team.
“It’s important to begin this kind of dialogue early so that we all understand the way the event is evolving to stay at the forefront of fully-crewed offshore racing.”
There was good representation at the meetings from VO65 projects, including Bianca Cook, who raced around the world in the last edition with the Turn the Tide on Plastic team. Cook is now working with veteran Kiwi sailor Tony Rae on a New Zealand flagged campaign for the next Race and both were in Alicante last week.
“These meetings are where we can exchange ideas with other teams as well as race management and participate in a way that’s maybe a bit more significant than when you’re just focussed on racing the boat,” Cook said.
“When you start looking at the big picture, you realise there are a lot of things going on in the background that make it possible for both the teams and the event to succeed and it’s great to be able to contribute to that. So it’s been a very productive couple of days and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
The registered team meetings will be a regular feature on the calendar in the build up to the 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race, which is scheduled to start from Alicante, Spain in Q4 of 2021. The rest of the race route will be announced over the coming weeks, with Aarhus, Denmark, and The Hague in The Netherlands already confirmed as Host Cities.