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French skipper Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) has dismasted on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe while lying in ninth place on the solo race from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe which started on Wednesday at 1415hrs.

He reported the accident at 1700hrs this afternoon. He is uninjured and his team are in contact with him.

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There have never been so many IMOCA class entries in the La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe in the IMOCA class. With 37 boats set to take the start line, there are certainly more contenders for the podium than in any previous edition and there is strength and depth all the way through the field.

For the top IMOCA skippers, winning this mythical solo race is the obvious goal. It is very much an extended sprint. It is contested at a unique, high-level intensity with very little time to rest. The transition between what is often a tough Bay of Biscay crossing to the foot to the floor, relentless high speeds of the trade winds is often key. For many, the race lasts around two weeks, whilst the course record for the IMOCAs was set in 2014 by François Gabart, then 31-years-old, who completed the race in 12 days, 4 hours and 38 minutes.

The 2018 edition saw a dramatic finish, with Paul Meilhat taking the IMOCA title. He returns with a new boat in the colours of his new sponsor Biotherm. He is just one of seven new IMOCAs launched over the last four months. There are four pairs of sisterships now. Maxime Sorel V and B – Monbana – Mayenne is a Verdier sistership of the current APIVIA. Meilhat’s Biotherm is a Verdier sistership of LinkedOut. Yannick Bestaven’s new Maitre Coq V is a Verdier sistership of 11th Hour Racing-Mâlama and Sam Davies’ new Initiatives Coeur 4 is a sistership of the Sam Manuard designed L'Occitane en Provence.

Holcim – PRB by Kevin EscoffierHolcim – PRB by Kevin Escoffier

Three boats come from completely new moulds. There is the Verdier Holcim – PRB by Kevin Escoffier, Manuard’s Charal2 by Jérémie Beyou and the VPLP-designed new Malizia – Sea Explorer of Boris Herrmann ). All these new boats are expected to be on starting line on November 6 off Saint-Malo.

Like others in the class, Kévin Escoffier (Holcim - PRB) believes that the "new boats will not be favourites; it is will be the boats of the 2020 generation that are more reliable that will have the advantage". Four new boats were among the 'top 10' of the Azimut Challenge flagship event in mid-September.

Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) Charlie Dalin (APIVIA)

Among these boats and skippers are of course, the dominant Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut). Both have new IMOCAs in build, and this will be their last race with their current monohulls. Dalin, second in the Vendée Globe, is the recent winner of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race and June’s Vendée Arctic race and remains undefeated this season. But he has never competed in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, whilst Thomas Ruyant, who won the Transat Jacques Vabre last year, is also a contender for the win. 

A big jump for 13 rookies

But the weather conditions in November on the Bay of Biscay are frequently an acid test for the new boats, exposing early weaknesses. Proven reliability is often the most important attribute. There are certain weather scenarios – especially a lot of upwind sailing - which could prove good for the non-foiling straight daggerboard boats, especially early in the race. Among them, Conrad Colman (Imagine), Benjamin Ferré (Monnoyeur – Duo for a Job), Guirec Soudée (Freelance.com) and Éric Bellion (Commeunseulhomme powered by Altavia), who showed well last June during the Vendée Arctique.

Guirec Soudée (Freelance.com)Guirec Soudée (Freelance.com)

And there will be 13 rookies racing on the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe taking on a major solo race for the first time. Among them in the IMOCA class are the experienced Swiss sailors Justine Mettraux (Teamwork.net) and Oliver Heer (Oliver Heer Ocean Racing), the Chinese Jingkun Xu (China Dream-Haikou), and Britain’s James Harayda (Gentoo) will discover for the first time this mythical transatlantic.

All of the IMOCA skippers are expected in Saint Malo on October 26, including Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée), who is based in the Corsair city. All will take part in a parade under sail for visiting spectators who maybe can’t get to the start to see the IMOCAs in their glory. Those lucky enough to be around in Guadeloupe for the finish can expect the first boats around November 18th.

They said :

Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) : “I feel like I have known this race, the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe since I was very young. And this race has always made me dream. However, I I have never taken part and now is the time to give it a go. The competition promises to be tough. There is quantity and quality with six new latest-generation boats. The challenge will be to find the right tempo because it's neither fast like a stage of La Solitaire du Figaro, nor as long as a Vendée Globe. It's somewhere between the 100 meters and the marathon: you will always have to set your cursor in the right place ! ".

Kevin Escoffier (Holcim – PRB) : “The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe is the race of my childhood. I have memories of going round the locks and going out to sea with my father on the fishing boats. It was the 'Rhum' that made me want to go offshore racing. My objective will be to continue learning, to make the boat more reliable, to optimize and to get to know my boat better. We know that the start of the race will be very important, especially the passage through the Bay of Biscay. I aim to race to get to the finish line and do everything to I possibly can get to the finish. "

Isabelle Joschke (MACSFIsabelle Joschke MACSF

Isabelle Joschke (MACSF) : “I am so excited about the idea of ​​competing in this Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. It's a mythical race and it's also a course that I really like. Leaving France in the Autumn and crossing the Atlantic, sometimes facing great difficulties and having this great reward at the end with the finish in Pointe-à-Pitre. My objective will be to finish, to have fun. The icing on the cake would be to finish in the 'top 10'. It's nice to have so many IMOCAs on the starting line. This means that there will be a match everywhere, in front, in the middle and at the back of the fleet. It looks exciting! 

Published in Offshore
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Kevin Escoffier, a previous winner of The Ocean Race, will enter his new generation IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in the next edition beginning 15 January 2023 from Alicante, Spain.

Escoffier confirmed his entry as his rebranded IMOCA, in striking green and blue, was rolled out of the workshed in Lorient, France, and relaunched in a ceremony on Monday (22 August).

“I love racing, and The Ocean Race is an amazing race where you push 100% all the time,” skipper Escoffier said. “And you share this life with your crew. In 2014-15 it was my first race with Dongfeng Race Team and Charles Caudrelier as the skipper. In 2017-18 I was very lucky he called me back to join a winning campaign!

“Now I’m very happy to come back with my own project. It’s a short timeline. We will have to work hard. But we have a great team…

Kevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRBKevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRB

“The decision to commit to The Ocean Race was only confirmed in July so it’s come just in time… We have some work ahead and it demands some effort on logistics and preparation but it’s all good news and a fantastic opportunity.

“We’re very happy with the boat, with the new branding and looking forward to getting sailing already at the end of this week,” added Escoffier, who was the subject of a dramatic rescue by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam during the Vendée Globe in the southern Indian Ocean in December 2020.

“We have a strong, all-purpose boat, very easy to handle and I think it will be a fast boat when single-handing and in fully-crewed configuration for The Ocean Race.”

Escoffier says the team will name the crew for the The Ocean Race in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he will be competing solo in the Défi Azimut in Lorient, France in September and the Route du Rhum transatlantic race in November.

Holcim-PRB joins Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia, Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm as confirmed entries in the IMOCA division for The Ocean Race 2022-23.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Boris Herrmann’s offshore sailing team launched their new IMOCA race yacht as scheduled today, Tuesday 19 July in Lorient, Race some 18 months after design began.

Designed by VPLP, Malizia - Seaexplorer was built at Multiplast in nearby Vannes over the past 12 months, using “advanced” engineering technology and craftsmanship. The yacht will get its first big test in the Route du Rhum this November, ahead of the next edition of The Ocean Race in the new year.

“Learning from our experience in the past four years and in particular the Vendée Globe 2020-21, we wanted a boat that can maintain high average speeds even in rough sea conditions,” skipper Herrmann said at today’s launch event.

“Therefore, together with the architects from VPLP, we chose softer and rounder hull lines and a curved bow. We also made the boat even more solid than the previous one and completely redesigned the [ergonomics] and living space.”

Malizia - Seaexplorer carries the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals wheel and its hull features the team’s slogan, “A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now”, with the aim of creating awareness and inspiring ambitious climate action.

Herrmann will skipper the boat in the Route du Rhum this November across the Atlantic from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe, and his first single-handed regatta since the Vendée Globe.

Then from January, he will join co-skippers Will Harris and Rosalin Kuiper on Malizia - Seaexplorer for the round-the-world challenge of The Ocean Race — another test of the new boat, this time in the rough conditions of the Southern Ocean — with the ultimate goal of the Vendée Globe 2024-25 in sight.

Team Malizia is one of 14 IMOCA teams registered for The Ocean Race, which starts from Alicante in Spain on 15 January.

A notable feature of the new yacht is its mini-laboratory, the Ocean Pack, that will allow the team to continue to collect ocean data such as sea surface CO2 levels in remote regions like the Southern Ocean.

The boat, which sails under the flag of Monaco, will be christened during the Malizia Ocean Festival on 6-7 September in its home port Hamburg, where skipper Boris Herrmann lives and Team Malizia is based.

Published in Offshore

A new IMOCA team is confirmed to participate in The Ocean Race 2022-23, as French offshore sailor Benjamin Dutreux joins forces with Offshore Team Germany Olympian Robert Stanjek, the same combination that raced to victory in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe last summer.

Jens Kuphal and Alice Potiron will provide team management for the new partnership, GUYOT environnement - Team Europe.

“The Ocean Race Europe was a great experience for all of us working together for the first time and I think now, with a new boat, we can look forward to a great race around the world with this team,” said Dutreux, who will be racing the same IMOCA he plans to use for the next edition of the Vendée Globe.

“This race is a true international race. We have been focused on the solo races, but now we have a different story to look forward to and we are happy to begin this new challenge with a crewed race, around the world, and it will be a great opportunity to learn about each other and our boat.”

Offshore Team Germany celebrate their overall IMOCA 60 victory following the Genoa coastal race in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceOffshore Team Germany celebrate their overall IMOCA 60 victory following the Genoa coastal race in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Stanjek added: “I’m very motivated and keen to build on what we achieved in The Ocean Race Europe in the big one - the race around the world. Benjamin and I already know each other well from the previous race and I think that is an advantage.

“Our philosophy is to bring different sailors with different backgrounds together and merge their skills to build a strong, overall unit and I think we proved it well in The Ocean Race Europe and we want to keep this team for The Ocean Race.”

The GUYOT environnement - Team Europe IMOCA boat has a successful pedigree under the Hugo Boss banner, finishing in second place in the 2016-17 edition of the Vendée Globe and leading the most recent Route du Rhum fleet all the way to Guadeloupe.

More recently, the boat has been equipped with new foils and used as a training vehicle for the 11th Hour Racing Team as it prepared its own project for The Ocean Race.

“This boat is already well-developed and prepared for racing at the front of the fleet,” said Dutreux, who was able to race a 15-year old boat to an impressive ninth-place finish in the last Vendée Globe. “We are starting with a reliable, fast boat and that is important as we prepare for the race.”

GUYOT environnement - Team Europe is the fourth IMOCA campaign confirmed to be on the start line in Alicante, Spain on 15 January 2023, along with Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm. The VO65 side has also grown with the recent addition of Dutch entry Sailing Team NextGen, featuring Carolijn Brouwer who crewed the 2017-18 winner Dongfeng Race Team.

“It’s fantastic to see Benjamin and Robert come together to build on what they achieved in The Ocean Race Europe,” said Phil Lawrence, race director for The Ocean Race. “We now have four competitive IMOCA teams confirmed for the race and we continue to engage with other IMOCA and VO65 projects who are working to join us in Alicante in January for the start of the race.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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French skipper Paul Meilhat will fulfil a lifelong dream in January 2023 when he leads Biotherm across the starting line of The Ocean Race on the waters off Alicante, Spain.

Meilhat and his team will be racing one of the newest IMOCA boats in the fleet, a Verdier design that is expected to compete for the title in The Ocean Race 2022-23, before Meilhat will go on to sail in the next edition of the single-handed Vendée Globe.

“I am very happy to officially announce our participation in The Ocean Race with Biotherm,” Meilhat says. “I have been working to be at the start of this event for the last three years.

“Everything about The Ocean Race excites me. It’s about the sport, but it’s also about travelling around the world and being able to discover other countries and create links with new people; all of this is great and I’m keen to feel the full story of one of the great events in our sport.

"We are lucky to have a great boat to participate in the entire IMOCA Globe Series programme. I am thrilled that we have secured our participation in The Ocean Race, which adds a new, even more international dimension to our campaign.

"This opportunity is important to both the sporting side of the project, with the sailing team hungering to take on this incredible challenge, as well as for our title sponsor Biotherm, an international skincare brand in the L’Oréal Group. Biotherm has been dedicated to ocean protection for over 10 years and the brand’s values are​ very much in line with The Ocean Race, committed to bringing people together to protect the health of the ocean.”

Like many IMOCA sailors, Meilhat is well known for his ability competing short-handed. He is a winner of the Route du Rhum and the Fastnet Race as well as being the IMOCA Globe Series champion in 2021. But he also has experience and an ambition to race in a crewed format, and says the two disciplines complement each other.

Paul Meilhat and Richard Brisius shake hands at Race Control in Alicante | Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/The Ocean RacePaul Meilhat and Richard Brisius shake hands at Race Control in Alicante | Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/The Ocean Race

“From a sporting standpoint, it's great to have the opportunity to race around the world, to test our boats and to compete with the best with a full crew on board. It’s a different culture with a lot of engagement on board between the sailors,” he says.

“The crew brings a real dynamic. On The Ocean Race Europe, we clearly saw that there was good energy on the boats and notable progress over the rest of the season.

“Racing with a crew also allows us to sail more than we do alone. During The Ocean Race we will sail almost more than on the entire IMOCA solo or double-handed programme over the next three years. This volume of racing is very beneficial, with the stopovers allowing for development, restarting, and so on.

“The new format of The Ocean Race matches perfectly with our current IMOCA programme and schedule. It's one of the great races which is consistent with what we do and which has the advantage of taking us to the Southern Ocean, sailing in difficult and challenging conditions, which helps us develop our boats and ourselves as sailors.”

The new Biotherm is expected to be launched in August and will compete in the Route de Rhum this autumn before returning to Alicante, Spain for the start of The Ocean Race on 15 January next year.

“It’s fantastic to have Paul and his Biotherm team confirm they will join The Ocean Race,” Johan Salén, managing Director of The Ocean Race said. “Paul was among the first IMOCA skippers to signal his ambition and intention to compete and we know he worked very hard over the past three years to bring this project to the start line. We’re looking forward to seeing him race.”

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm joins skipper Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia and skipper Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team as confirmed IMOCA campaigns for The Ocean Race 2022-23. The full list of registered teams in both the IMOCA and V65 classes can be found on the official race website, and The Ocean Race promises further team announcements shortly.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

At least four IMOCA teams are planning to compete in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race: Sam Davies with Initiatives-Coeur, Pip Hare with Medallia, Ollie Heer with Oliver Heer Ocean Racing and James Harayda with Gentoo 2. So far, 29 teams are among the early entries and expressions of interest for the race which is scheduled to start from Cowes, Isle of Wight on the 7th of August 2022.

The 1,805 nautical mile race around Britain and Ireland is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club every four years and is considered to be one of the toughest challenges in the sport of yacht racing. The Round Britain & Ireland Race Race Record for monohulls 60ft and less was set in 2014 by Artemis-Team Endeavour, skippered by Brian Thompson: 5 days 14 hours and 54 seconds.

MEDALLIA - PIP HARE

Pip HarePip Hare Photo: Mark Lloyd

Pip Hare shot to fame in the 2020-21 Vendée Globe, completing the solo round the world race in one of the oldest boats in just over 95 days. Pip is back with a newer generation IMOCA Medallia; the foiling 2015 VPLP/Verdier design won the 2016-17 Vendée Globe and was the second boat to cross the finish line in the 2020-21 edition. Just last week, after a major winter refit, Medallia went for a first big sea trial from Gosport to Portugal.

“It has been a really hard push to get the boat ready for the sea trials, but what a ride! 25-30 knot reaching conditions,” commented Pip Hare. “On trial with Jack Bouttell and Olly Young we had a blistering sail down to Portugal, beating the shore team who went by road! We got a real taste of what is to come and it is so exciting.”

Pip Hare competed in the 2018 Round Britain & Ireland Race with Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies in the Class40 Aparito. “As friends, we wanted to do this race together, but it was a pretty old Class40 to be honest!” admitted Pip. “We did race Aparito really hard and at times we were ahead of some of the modern Class40s, which was really amazing. But we were sticking the boat back together as we were going round!”

“For the 2022 race I have an incredible boat and I am racing with a really great crew: Jack Bouttell, Ben Schwartz, Paul Larsen and Nick Bubb. Their incredible knowledge and hunger for racing will mean we can push the boat in race conditions. This will enable me to become a better sailor with the new Medallia.”

INITIATIVES-COEUR - SAM DAVIES

Sam DaviesSam Davies Photo: Initiatives-Coeur

Sam Davies has three Vendée Globe attempts in her impressive racing CV, including fourth in 2008-09. Sam Davies is the most experienced of the early expressions of interest and has a new Sam Manuard designed boat in build, hoping to be ready for the Round Britain & Ireland Race.

Sam’s first Round Britain and Ireland was in 2009 on board AVIVA, skippered by Dee Caffari, setting an all-women team course record. Sam’s last appearance in the race was as skipper of the VO65 Team SCA in 2014, setting a new outright women’s record for the course and the race: 4 days 21 hours 00 minutes and 39 seconds.

OLIVER HEER OCEAN RACING - OLLIE HEER

Ollie Heer Ollie Heer Photo:  PKC Media

Ollie Heer has competed in two previous editions of the Round Britain & Ireland Race. In 2018 as boat captain for Giles Redpath’s IRC Lombard 46 Pata Negra, Ollie was on the team for the overall win. The 2022 edition will be Ollie’s debut race in his 2007 Farr-designed IMOCA Oliver Heer Ocean Racing. The boat will have four crew composed of south coast UK sailors, yet to be announced. Ollie is no stranger to the IMOCA class having sailed over 60,000nm as boat captain for Alex Thomson’s HUGO BOSS.

“Right now, the biggest challenge is managing my time correctly and having the funding to reach a level that I aspire to,” commented Ollie Heer. “In the whole world of offshore racing there isn’t a start and finish line with a bigger history than the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, and there is a logistical advantage in starting and finishing in the Solent. This year’s race is all about reliability for me and the Round Britain & Ireland Race gives the perfect platform to test the boat: 2,000 racing miles with all kinds of conditions, where we can put the foot down and try to keep the boat in one piece. There will definitely be some challenges on the race course. For an up-and-coming IMOCA team this is the perfect race; we can’t wait to hit the start line.”

GENTOO 2 - JAMES HARADYA

James HaraydaJames Harayda Photo: Felix Diemer

Racing with a crew of four, James Harayda will be taking part in his first Round Britain & Ireland Race in his 2007 Group Finot designed IMOCA Gentoo 2. At 24 years old James is currently the youngest IMOCA skipper in the race. James has competed in many of the world’s largest offshore races and is a two-time British Double Handed National Champion with Dee Caffari.

“This is a big challenge on so many different levels; it is a massive step up and very exciting,” commented James Harayda. “The Round Britain & Ireland Race will deepen my knowledge of the boat and I am a competitive person so would also like to do well. Ollie (Heer) is a great guy and we get on really well. We intend to support one another over the next two years, but this is a race. Once we get started the gloves will be off and we will be in full-blown racing mode.”

Pip Hare commented on the new British based IMOCAs competing in the Round Britain & Ireland Race: “It is exciting to have more IMOCAs in the UK and on the start line for this race. This race is not just about who has got the most up-to-date boat. Racing around Britain and Ireland is massively tactical and hugely challenging. I have been that under-dog and I remain humble and respectful to my competitors; nothing is for granted.”

The Round Britain & Ireland Race is scheduled to start from Cowes on Sunday 7th of August 2022. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, the fleet race east through the Solent, past the headlands of the South West of England and into the Celtic Sea and the West Coast of Ireland. The Atlantic racing continues past St Kilda, up to the most northerly point of the course, Muckle Flugga on the 61st parallel. Turning south through the North Sea, then along the English Channel and then the Solent, the race finally finishes back in Cowes.The Round Britain & Ireland Race is scheduled to start from Cowes on Sunday 7th of August 2022. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, the fleet race east through the Solent, past the headlands of the South West of England and into the Celtic Sea and the West Coast of Ireland. The Atlantic racing continues past St Kilda, up to the most northerly point of the course, Muckle Flugga on the 61st parallel. Turning south through the North Sea, then along the English Channel and then the Solent, the race finally finishes back in Cowes.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

The IMOCA Class has enjoyed a vintage and innovative year in 2021 and now it is time for the finale - one of the classics in the repertoire - the 15th edition of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre.

Over the past few weeks, the IMOCA bases in Brittany have been a hive of intense activity as crews have prepared for the longest two-handed race in the sport in what in many cases are now finely-optimised boats, with or without foils.

No less than 23 IMOCAs will take the start from Le Havre on November 7th, for this classic test when co-skippers will look to push hard 24 hours-a-day for up to 17 days on a 5,800-nautical mile course, finishing at Fort-de-France on Martinique in the Caribbean.

In addition to foiling front-runners like Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat on APIVIA, Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière on LinkedOut and Jeremie Beyou and Christopher Pratt on Charal, the fleet includes five mixed male-female crews. Among them are Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux on 11th Hour Racing Team-Alaka'I, Isabelle Joschke and Fabien Delahaye on MACSF and Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly - making her debut in the IMOCA Class - on Kostum-Lantana Paysage.

This race also sees the return to competition of Vendee Globe winner Yannick Bestaven sailing with Jean-Marie Dauris on Maître CoQ IV which was forced to retire from the Rolex Fastnet Race after a collision at the start. Another closely-watched performer will be the new 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA, Malama, co-skippered by Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidegorry, which had to retire from the Defi Azimut 48-Hours with steering failure.

Published in Vendee Globe

The full race route and schedule have been announced for The Ocean Race Europe next month.

Some of the best sailors of the world will race in stages from Lorient in France to Genoa in Italy in two classes: the one-design VO65 and IMOCA.

They will set off from Lorient on Saturday 29 May, with stops in Cascais, Portugal (coastal race on Saturday 5 June and leg start on Sunday 6 June) and Alicante, Spain (leg start Sunday 13 June) before the finish in Genoa with a coastal race on Saturday 19 June.

Each of the offshore legs will last around three to four days and will be scored equally, with bonus points available to the top three finishers in the two single-day coastal races.

The full race route and schedule have been announced for The Ocean Race EuropeThe full race route and schedule have been announced for The Ocean Race Europe

The VO65 and IMOCA fleets will be competing in separate divisions for their own The Ocean Race Europe trophy.

Seven teams are expected in the VO65 class, including entries from Austria (Austrian Ocean Race Project), Lithuania (AmberSail2), Mexico (Viva Mexico), the Netherlands, Poland (Sailing Team Poland) and Portugal (Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team).

There will be at least five entries in the IMOCA fleet, representing France (Bureau Vallée, CORUM L´ Épargne and LinkedOut), Germany (Offshore Team Germany) and the USA (11th Hour Racing Team, with a possibility of up to two more teams still to confirm participation.

All the teams are seeing this event as the first stop on the road to the 2022-23 edition of The Ocean Race, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the round-the-world challenge.

Prior to the race start in Lorient, four of the northern European-based VO65 teams will be sailing in The Ocean Race Europe Prologue, with stops in Klaipeda, Lithuania; Gdynia, Poland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

In addition to the on-the-water action, The Ocean Race Europe will support a robust sustainability programme, including education initiatives, on-board science data collection and social and environmental policy roundtable events aimed at driving solutions towards ocean health and reducing the impact of climate change on the ocean.

Teams will be encouraged to fully participate through The Ocean Race Guardians Award for best sustainable practice.

And several teams will carry scientific equipment on board to capture measurements of microplastics in the water and data about the impact of climate change on the seas — vital information about the impact that humans are making on the ocean.

Fitting of the microplastic data equipment on the AkzoNobel boat in Auckland on 3 March 2018Fitting of the microplastic data equipment on the AkzoNobel boat in Auckland on 3 March 2018 Credit: Jesus Renedo/Volvo AB

Mairéad O’Donovan, The Ocean Race’s Science Programme lead said: “We know how important the ocean is, not just to the sport we love, but in regulating the climate and providing us with food, jobs and the oxygen we breathe. We also know that human impacts are seriously degrading the ocean.

“By capturing data about the state of our seas, through this unique collaboration between sailors and ocean research organisations, we are able to contribute to increased understanding of ocean health.

“It’s a privilege to be able to provide data of value to the scientific community and it’s vital that governments act on the scientific evidence to protect and restore our ocean and all that depends on it.”

Race organisers will have a strict Covid-19 protocol in place, including testing and small group ‘bubbles’ that limit interaction between sailing teams and outsiders.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

With the arrival of Jeremie Beyou this weekend at the Vendee Globe in Les Sables d'Olonne, the IMOCA Class can now confirm the winner and the top-10 of the 2018-21 IMOCA Globe Series Championship*.

The German skipper Boris Herrmann, who finished in fifth place in the Vendee Globe on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, is the new IMOCA Globe Series champion, after a remarkably consistent campaign by his Team Malizia over the last three years.

The championship is calculated by accumulating the scores of skippers and their teams in the major IMOCA Class races, among them the Vendee Globe, the Route du Rhum, the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Bermudes 1000 and the Vendee Arctique.

Herrmann, aged 39 from Hamburg but now based in Lorient, entered all of those races and completed every one. He came out at the head of the championship with Vendee Globe winner Yannick Bestaven (Maitre CoQ IV) second, and Vendee Globe runner-up and line honours winner Charlie Dalin (APIVIA) third.

The German skipper, who is among the very best ambassadors for the IMOCA Class, said the plan for his team going back to 2018 was to aim for the Vendee Globe and to try to put together a competitive entry. That meant doing all the races leading up to the round-the-world race and he said he is delighted to emerge at the end of it as the new champion.

Top 10 of the IMOCA Globe Series 2018-21

  • 1 - Boris Herrmann (GER) - Seaexplorer-YC of Monaco - 526 points
  • 2 - Yannick Bestaven (FRA) - Maître CoQ IV - 517 points
  • 3 - Charlie Dalin (FRA) - APIVIA - 512 points
  • 4 - Thomas Ruyant (FRA) - LinkedOut - 460 points
  • 5 - Jeremie Beyou (FRA) - Charal - 422 points
  • 6 - Damien Seguin (FRA) – Groupe APICIL - 417 points
  • 7 - Louis Burton (FRA) - Bureau Vallee 2 - 415 points
  • 8 - Giancarlo Pedote (ITA) - Prysmian group - 404 points
  • 9 - Clarisse Cremer (FRA) - Banque Populaire X - 370 points
  • 10 - Jean Le Cam (FRA) - Yes We Cam! - 368 points
Published in Vendee Globe
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