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Organisers of The Ocean Race have confirmed Kiel.Sailing.City as the host of the start of The Ocean Race Europe during a press conference in Kiel on Wednesday morning (14 February).

The second edition of the European race, which was confirmed last summer, is scheduled to start on 10 August 2025 and finish in the Mediterranean some six weeks later. More host city announcements are anticipated this spring.

Previously, Kiel was the finish port of the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-02 and last year the German city hosted a hugely successful ‘Fly-By’ on the penultimate leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23.

Team Malizia and Team Holcim-PRB have both confirmed their intention to be on the starting line in Kiel next year.

For Boris Herrmann, the German skipper of Team Malizia, the Fly-By in Kiel last summer was a highlight of The Ocean Race. Now he says he is looking forward to starting The Ocean Race Europe from

“Kiel feels like home to me and I grew up sailing here over the years,” said Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann. “For me and Team Malizia this is a great announcement and we can’t wait to compete in the race!”

Joining via video-link from Holcim HQ in Switzerland, Rosalin ‘Rosie’ Kuiper — who joined Team Holcim-PRB after racing around the world with Team Malizia last year — said: “Germany is such a big part of The Ocean Race and remembering the crowds who came out to support us on Malizia for the Fly-By in Kiel is amazing, so to hear we will be starting from Kiel is great news.

“Later this year we will start our crew selection process for the new team and I hope to be on the starting line in 2025 with a happy, strong, diverse team so that Boris will tap me on the shoulder and say, ’nice job’!”

Speakers and guests take an opportunity to pose with Nature’s Baton at the announcement of Kiel as the start port for The Ocean Race Europe 2025 | Credit: Rachel Eismann/Kiel-MarketingSpeakers and guests take an opportunity to pose with Nature’s Baton at the announcement of Kiel as the start port for The Ocean Race Europe 2025 | Credit: Rachel Eismann/Kiel-Marketing

The Ocean Race chairman Richard Brisius said that starting the second edition of The Ocean Race Europe from Kiel “is an opportunity to demonstrate the power of sport to connect us and serve a larger purpose”.

Brisius added: “I have no doubt that the cutting-edge, foiling IMOCA boats and the extraordinary women and men who sail them will produce an exceptional race on the water and an incredible experience for race fans in Kiel, a two-time host of sailing at the Olympic Games and a city whose Kiel Week regatta has become world-renowned as the home of the largest sailing event in Europe.

“But we are determined for The Ocean Race Europe to be more than a great sailing race. All of us here today are firm in our belief that we are in a race for the ocean, that the restoration of ocean health is key to life on our planet.”

To that end, Brisius said, initiatives around The Ocean Race Europe will support learning programmes for race fans and school children, while its onboard science programme will collect data from the race boats for experts to analyse “as they continue to learn about the changes taking place in our waters, from the Baltic Sea in northern Europe to the Mediterranean in the south”.

Published in Ocean Race

The year 2023 opened with the start of The Ocean Race from Alicante, Spain on 15 January — the first edition of the event to be raced in the high-tech foiling, flying IMOCAs, and the latest evolution in the 50-year history of the event from the Whitbread Round the World Race to the Volvo Ocean Race to The Ocean Race.

From the departure through the Grand Finale in Genoa, Italy in July, there was close, compelling racing on the water, including the longest Southern Ocean leg in race history and setting a new monohull speed record. It all culminated with the inspiring victory of 11th Hour Racing Team, the first American-flagged team to win the race, and subsequently honoured as World Sailing’s Team of the Year.

Alongside the race around the planet, another colossal effort was taking place: the race for the ocean. Throughout the year, The Ocean Race, its sailors, teams and stakeholders made efforts to support ocean health that included a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the race organisation in comparison to the previous edition.

“This past year has demonstrated once again that The Ocean Race remains the pinnacle of human achievement in sport,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race. “As we celebrate 50 years of the race and reflect on how the event has evolved over time, this point is stronger than ever and at the heart of our legacy: competing in The Ocean Race is a singular accomplishment in the life of a sailor.

“We enjoyed an incredible race featuring many new sailors taking on the challenge of The Ocean Race for the first time and we had more women participating than ever before. All of our sailors and teams faced hardship and overcame challenges, perhaps none more so than 11th Hour Racing Team with their inspiring race win.

“At the same time, we took important steps forward in our shared mission to protect and restore the ocean, whether through The Ocean Race Summits and Genova Process developing momentum for ocean rights, or our innovative onboard science initiatives and international Learning Programme. As we look to the future, this work will continue to be at the heart of what we do.”

The Ocean Race’s award-winning sustainability programme, developed in collaboration with founding partner 11th Hour Racing, engaged and inspired sailors, teams, stakeholders and fans — such as with the One Blue Voice campaign, which gathered over 32,000 signatures supporting a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights.

“This was the year when The Ocean Race became the Race for the Ocean, redoubling our previous efforts and building a comprehensive collaboration between sport and sustainability to make a meaningful difference for the ocean,” Brisius added.

Since the conclusion of the Race in the summer, a comprehensive Race Report (with Nielsen and Meltwater) has been compiled showing significant global media coverage and value generated for teams, partners, host cities and stakeholders, including a cumulative media audience of 8.1 billion and a social media listening reach of 2.6 billion. Those interested in more information on the Race Report can contact [email protected].

As 2023 concludes, the Notice of Race has been published for both The Ocean Race Europe, to take place in late summer 2025, and the next edition of The Ocean Race, starting from Alicante in 2026-27.

The entry period for the second edition of The Ocean Race Europe is now open, while entries for The Ocean Race 2026-27 will open on 1 February 2024 and are limited to 10 IMOCA teams with the possibility of additional wild card-entries. There is no entry fee for early registration in both races.

Published in Ocean Race

Iconic coastal cities around the European continent are expressing their interest in hosting the IMOCA fleet along The Ocean Race Europe route in 2025, organisers say.

The Ocean Race Europe is a north-south European offshore race scheduled to take place in 2025, ahead of the 2026-27 edition of the round-the-world race.

It will start in the Baltic Sea, sail across the North Sea and the Atlantic, through the Strait of Gibraltar, and finish in the Mediterranean — with up to five stops along the way in addition to the start and finish ports.

Following The Ocean Race’s announcement in May of the next major event in the 10-year planning cycle, European coastal cities from countries north, south, east and west are submitting their proposals to be a stopover Host City for this world-class event.

Under the banner of “Connecting Europe: Racing to restore our ocean and waters” — inspired by the EU mission aimed at protecting and restoring the health of our ocean and waters through research and innovation, citizen engagement and blue investments — the event is scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2025.

The advanced foiling offshore IMOCA class will compete in The Ocean Race Europe, crewed by the best men and women in the sport racing alongside each other on each boat.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race has just come to a close and we are already looking forward to seeing the IMOCA fleet back in the water,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race. “Following the success of the first event in 2021, The Ocean Race Europe will connect the continent bringing world-class sailing and Racing with Purpose to help protect and restore the ocean.”

Stopovers will welcome the fleet on a Thursday or Friday and visitors and partners will enjoy departures on Sunday. Start and finish ports will offer a longer event period.

Bringing the core pillars of the race’s sustainability programme, each of the stopover cities will host an Ocean Live Park, the dedicated race village where visitors can experience the event up-close and learn about how to protect the ocean. Activities will include learning workshops for children, high-level summits and opportunities to help people understand the race's onboard science programme.

Proposals arriving from cities all over Europe are being carefully evaluated by The Ocean Race and a maximum of five will be selected among the bidding venues. The selected cities will be announced in February 2024.

Published in Ocean Race

As the current edition of The Ocean Race returns to the northern hemisphere, race organisers are already looking ahead to the next major event in the 10-year planning cycle — The Ocean Race Europe 2025.

Following the success of the inaugural event in 2021, The Ocean Race Europe was among the first major international sporting events to resume following the initial COVID lockdowns.

Featuring 10 teams racing across two classes, the event combined world-class sport with a purpose-driven agenda. The 2025 edition has even larger ambitions.

Under the banner of “Connecting Europe: Racing to restore our ocean and waters”, The Ocean Race Europe is scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2025. It will start in the Baltic Sea and finish in the Mediterranean, with up to five stops along the way.

The IMOCA class, featuring the most advanced foiling offshore race boats, will compete in The Ocean Race Europe — crewed by the best men and women in the sport racing alongside each other on each boat, as in the current race. The sporting calendar will include offshore legs between the host cities, as well as in port racing and pro-am guest sailing experiences.

European cities along the coastline are invited to express an interest in hosting the event and in particular to demonstrate how they would partner with The Ocean Race Europe to showcase projects and approaches towards the protection and restoration of the ocean and inland waters.

“The current edition of The Ocean Race has shown the power of combining sport with a strong purpose,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race. “Alongside our stakeholders and host cities, we are passionate about the restoration of ocean health and committed to advancing the cause of ocean rights. The upcoming edition of The Ocean Race Europe is a natural extension of this work and we are looking to work with cities who share this vision.”

Boats ready for the pro-am race in Genoa during the finale of The Ocean Race Europe in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceBoats ready for the pro-am race in Genoa during the finale of The Ocean Race Europe in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race Europe is inspired by the EU Mission Restore Our Ocean and Waters. By racing through all the major sea basins surrounding Europe, the event will promote practical solutions and policies needed for restoring our ocean. The Ocean Race Europe will also contribute to scientific research and run learning programmes and workshops at all stopovers. The original The Ocean Race Summit Europe featured speakers like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries.

“Passing through several member countries, The Ocean Race Europe 2025 will be a showcase of European cooperation and identity, open borders, the European Green Deal and the power of digital transformation, as well as the European mindset of working positively and proactively across national borders to address common challenges,” Brisius said.

The current edition of The Ocean Race has generated footfall of over one million visitors to the Ocean Live Park in the first four host cities on the race route. The start city of Alicante, for example, had 303,076 visitors and generated an estimated economic impact of €71 million, creating the equivalent of 1,200 jobs.

Key to developing a successful stopover for the European event — in addition to managing the basic technical requirements — will be a strong vision from the local host city that builds upon the Ocean Live Park concept developed by The Ocean Race for the current around the world event, the race organisers say.

“We have seen the best stopovers are ones where the local host city makes a strong commitment to building an engaging local event around the Ocean Live Park concept,” said Mirko Groeschner, director of marketing and new business for The Ocean Race.

“We are looking forward to hearing from potential host cities who see hosting a world-class sporting event like The Ocean Race Europe as a way to create an engaging and purpose-led legacy for their city and region.”

A list of technical requirements to host The Ocean Race Europe is available and the selection of successful cities will be based on fulfilment of this as well as the overall vision and concept for the event.

Interested cities should contact [email protected] for more information.

Published in Ocean Race
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On the eve of the start of Leg 1 in The Ocean Race 2022-23, race organisers announced that future editions of the round-the-world yacht race will take place every four years.

In a briefing to stakeholders, race chairman Richard Brisius confirmed the next around-the-world race would start from Alicante, Spain during the winter months of 2026-27, with the exact start date to be determined.

In addition, following the success of the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe last summer, the next event will be held late in the summer of 2025.

Both the around the world race and The Ocean Race Europe will continue on four-year cycles, organisers added.

“This is an important and exciting moment for The Ocean Race,” Brisius said. “We are on the eve of an historic around-the-world race starting [Sunday 15 January]. It is our first as The Ocean Race, the 14th edition in our history, and it comes as we celebrate our 50th anniversary year.

“On this occasion we understand that we are standing on the shoulders of all of those who have built this Race into the iconic event that it is today. From the Whitbread Round the World Race back in 1973, through 20 years of Volvo stewardship, to where we are today as The Ocean Race, the race has seen many changes.

Practice racing for the IMOCA fleet in Alicante on Tuesday 10 January | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RacePractice racing for the IMOCA fleet in Alicante on Tuesday 10 January | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

“But the core values remain: The Ocean Race is the toughest test of a team in sport and we believe in taking ever more increasing action to protect the health of the ocean, recognise the inherent rights of the ocean and listen to the voice of the ocean. This will never change.

“With that in mind, it is important that we provide certainty to all of our stakeholders, partners, teams and fans in terms of the future of the Race.

“Looking forward, we are confirming The Ocean Race Europe in Q3 of 2025 and we will be starting conversations with candidate stopover cities and other partners in the coming weeks. The next two editions of The Ocean Race around the world are confirmed to take place in 2026-27 and 2030-31."

In terms of boats, the IMOCAs, making their debut in The Ocean Race this year, will also be raced in The Ocean Race Europe in 2025 and The Ocean Race 2026-27 as well.

The award-winning Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, founded in collaboration with Premier Partner 11th Hour Racing, will continue as a fundamental element of The Ocean Race going forward.

Viewers in Ireland can catch all the action when Leg 1 begins live on Eurosport and discovery+, with the VO65 fleet start at 1pm GMT and the IMOCA fleet start at 3pm GMT. Positions for the fleet can be also followed from the start and throughout the race via the race tracker at theoceanrace.com.

Published in Ocean Race

New research from The Ocean Race Europe has found microplastics, and in particular microfibres, to be prevalent across the length and breadth of Europe.

All 36 water samples collected around the continent — including in the Baltic Sea, the English Channel, along the Atlantic coastline and in the Mediterranean Sea — were found to contain microfibres.

These tiny plastic fibres enter the environment from manufacturing, washing and wearing synthetic clothes. Fibres also originate from car tyres, ending up in the sea after heavy rain and run-off, as well as from ​​fragmented fishing gear and lines.

The data, which was captured by sailing teams competing in the first edition of The Ocean Race Europe, found that on average Europe’s seas contain 139 microplastic particles per cubic meter.

Most of these particles (83%) are microfibres, with the remaining being fragments from the degradation of larger plastic items such as plastic bottles, packaging and microbeads in toiletries. Three of the samples (two from the Channel and one from the Mediterranean Sea) contained microfibres exclusively.

Ambersail-2 in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceAmbersail-2 in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race measured microplastics in the last edition of the round-the-world race in 2017-18 in a pioneering move that combined racing and science. This summer, the race teamed up with scientific bodies GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Utrecht University to discover more about the source of the microplastics by analysing whether they are fibres or fragments.

Dr Aaron Beck, senior scientist at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, who coordinated the analysis of the microplastic samples, said: “The data clearly show that microplastics are pervasive in the ocean and that, surprisingly, the major component of these microplastics are microfibres.

“Previous research has typically focused on detecting fragments, rather than fibres, so this new data is significant and highlights the value of collaborations with partners like The Ocean Race that help us better define the make-up and distribution of microplastics in the surface of the ocean.”

The Ocean Race says its data is contributing to the development of a map of plastic in the ocean and helping inform understanding of how microplastics transfer into marine ecosystems. Microfibres are the type of microplastic that are most frequently eaten by marine species and therefore of concern for ocean biodiversity.

The Ocean Race Europe took place in May and June 2021, starting in Lorient in North West France and finishing in Genova, Italy.

Data was collected over a six-week period in May and June 2021 during The Ocean Race Europe and its prologue. Two teams, Ambersail-2 and AkzoNobel Ocean Racing, carried scientific equipment onboard to capture samples of microplastics as they raced, while a third boat, 11th Hour Racing Team, took measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), sea temperature, PH levels and salinity, which are key indicators of climate change.

AkzoNobel Ocean Racing in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceAkzoNobel Ocean Racing in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The data gathered in the race showed the Baltic Sea to have the highest levels of microplastics in Europe, with 230 particles found per cubic metre, on average double the amount found in the Mediterranean (112 particles per cubic metre) which is considered a hotspot for plastic pollution.

Dr Beck said: “The high abundance of microplastic in the Baltic Sea compared to the Mediterranean Sea is unexpected. Factors such as the time of year that the data is collected can have an impact on the distribution of microplastics. The more data we can gather, from different areas and seasons, the better we can understand the source of the plastics and where they end up.”

The ocean plays a critically important role in climate regulation. It has absorbed over 90% of man-made excess heat since the 1970s and absorbs a quarter of human made carbon CO2, helping to effectively mitigate climate change. However, this absorption causes the ocean to become more acidic, which has an adverse effect on marine life.

Measurements of dissolved CO2 captured during The Ocean Race Europe by 11th Hour Racing Team have been submitted to the Surface Ocean Carbon Dioxide Atlas (SOCAT), which provides data for the Global Carbon Budget, a yearly assessment of CO2 that informs targets and predictions for carbon reduction.

It is vital that scientists understand the levels of CO2 in the ocean to form an accurate budget and keep the world on track to stay within the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The CO2 data were also analysed by EuroSea, a European Commission-funded programme that improves the ocean observing and forecasting systems. Carbon dioxide levels were found to be highest in the Mediterranean, as a consequence of warm temperatures and very little wind.

11th Hour Racing Team in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean Race11th Hour Racing Team in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean Race

Simon Weppe, science lead at The Ocean Race said: “Climate change and plastic pollution have, in mere decades, caused a drastic decline in the health of the ocean. Through The Ocean Race’s unique collaboration between sailors and ocean research organisations, we are helping to grow understanding of these dire issues.

“The more we know of the scale of these problems the better placed we are to take action to combat them; this is crucial, as the state of the seas and the fate of the planet are completely interlinked.

"It's vital that governments act on the scientific evidence to protect and restore our ocean and all that depends on it. The race for the ocean is a race we must win.”

The Ocean Race Europe scientific data collection activity was endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, a global movement to unlock the knowledge needed to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean.

The Ocean Race’s innovative science programme has been developed in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, premier partner of The Ocean Race and founding partner of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme.

The Ocean Race Europe Science Report can be viewed HERE.

Published in Ocean Race

Class leaders Offshore Team Germany (GER) and Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team (POR) have been confirmed as the respective IMOCA and VO65 winners in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe after an exciting final day of coastal racing in Genoa today, Saturday 19 June.

The atmosphere on the pontoons was ripe with anticipation and nervous energy this morning as the 12 competing crews from around the world departed the dock in northern Italy for the final time on the new three week-long multi-stage professional yacht racing event.

The points spread was close at the top of the seven-boat VO65 and five-boat IMOCA 60 fleets, and with bonus points up for grabs for the top three finishers in each class in the planned 90-minute sprint race around the Gulf of Genoa, the final standings remained open.

Windless conditions at the scheduled start time of 1200 CEST/1000 UTC forced the race committee to postpone until a new breeze arrived and racing finally got underway at around 1340 local time. Racing took place in seven to 10 knots of southeasterly sea breeze.

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team bested the VO65s in both the coastal sprint and the race overall | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceMirpuri Foundation Racing Team bested the VO65s in both the coastal sprint and the race overall | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The VO65 start was a congested all-action affair, with two boats — Sailing Team Poland (POL) and The Austrian Ocean Race Project (AUT) — having to tack around after being forced outside the committee boat end of the start line, and three others — AkzoNobel Ocean Racing (NED), Ambersail-2 (LTU) and Team Childhood I (NED) — having to restart after being called over early by the race committee

But staying clear of the melee going on all around them was the overall VO65 class leaders Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, led by Yoann Richomme, who sailed off the line unfettered and into a clear lead.

Despite some nervous moments on the final run to the finish where they made an uncharacteristic sail handing error while hoisting the A4 spinnaker and came under attack from Bouwe Bekking’s Sailing Poland, ultimately the Portuguese team held on to their early advantage to take the coastal race win and seal overall victory in The Ocean Race Europe.

Sailing Poland’s second-place inshore race finish was enough to elevate them to second overall, tied on points with the now third-placed Dutch entry AkzoNobel Ocean Racing, led by Australian Chris Nicholson.

Coastal racing in the Gulf of Genoa on Saturday 19 June | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceCoastal racing in the Gulf of Genoa on Saturday 19 June | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Meanwhile, the battle for the overall top spot in the IMOCA class was decided in a near photo finish for second place in the coastal race between Robert Stanjek’s Offshore Team Germany and Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut.

Offshore Team Germany had led around the first two legs of the triangle-shaped race course, but dropped to second early on the final downwind leg behind the American-entry 11th Hour Racing Team after a poorly executed tack rounding the second mark of the course.

Approaching the finish, the German boat was under threat from the rapidly advancing LinkedOut — a team they would have to beat to avoid being relegated to third overall. The spectators on the water and watching on the worldwide live video feed held their breath as the two yachts were overlapped at the finish line but with Offshore Team Germany just holding on to win the race and the overall series by the smallest of margins.

“I’m super-happy. I’ve prepared this team for four or five years and I’m so happy we managed to do so well,” Stanjek said dockside after racing.

“My idea to build a successful team for The Ocean Race was to combine Olympic sailors with offshore experienced sailors and this is what we executed and it proved to be successful. We’re getting stronger every day, there are no egos on board, everyone is listening and it’s a good learning atmosphere. I’m very proud of the team.

“We learned heaps about the boat, about the profile of the race, how to manage the watch system on board, communications; it’s much more than just getting the win, we are taking a lot of lessons home with us.”

Today’s win for 11th Hour Racing Team moved them up to second place overall in the IMOCA class, one point ahead of the French crew on LinkedOut who dropped to third overall.

“We showed a lot of fight today and that shows a lot about this group,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “I’m proud of what we did.”

For the Portuguese Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, the VO65 class victory is the result of a composed and consistent performance that saw the team collect maximum points on offshore Legs 2 and 3, and in their homeport inshore race in Cascais.

The IMOCA 60 and VO65 fleets in port in Genoa | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceThe IMOCA 60 and VO65 fleets in port in Genoa | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Richomme’s crew had put in several weeks of Atlantic training prior to The Ocean Race Europe start from Lorient, France three weeks ago, and as the only team in the VO65 fleet to invest in a new sail wardrobe they began the race as favourites — a mantle they comfortably lived up to.

“Job done. Mission accomplished,” said Richomme from on board immediately after the finish. “I think we like to make things hard for ourselves. We lost the kite on the first hoist, and I thought we were going to end up getting passed by two boats. But we managed to get it back up in the air again.

“From the start we were leading — it was a tough one because all the boats around us were over the line, so it was quite tense.

“We could not have finished on a better note, winning this last coastal race here in Genoa. It was the best way for us to make sure we would win the event overall, so we are thrilled.

The crowds came out to see the final action of The Ocean Race Europe’s inaugural edition | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceThe crowds came out to see the final action of The Ocean Race Europe’s inaugural edition | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

“It’s been a big effort to get to here… The hard work and the training and everything we did in Cascais for months paid off. The whole crew has been fantastic. There’s a lot of talent in that crew and I think we managed to use it as best as we could.

“I think The Ocean Race Europe is a great concept; I think it should be run every year. I think it should be a month long, around Europe, very intense ­— this is the best format we can have for racing. I think having a race that links countries in Europe just makes so much sense.”

Following racing there will be an official prize-giving ceremony this evening at the event village in Genoa where the winning teams in the IMOCA and VO65 class will be presented with a trophy to celebrate their achievements in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe.

The Ocean Race Europe — Final Leaderboards

IMOCA

  1. Offshore Team Germany — 16 points
  2. 11th Hour Racing Team — 15 points
  3. LinkedOut — 14 points
  4. CORUM L’Epargne — 7 points
  5. Bureau Vallée — 5 points

VO65

  1. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team — 21 points
  2. Sailing Poland — 17 points
  3. AkzoNobel Ocean Racing — 17 points
  4. Team Childhood I — 12 points
  5. The Austrian Ocean Race Project — 10 points
  6. Viva México — 9 points
  7. AmberSail-2 — 9 points

Genoa Coastal Race Results

IMOCA

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team — 3 points
  2. Offshore Team Germany — 2 points
  3. LinkedOut — 1 point
  4. CORUM L’Epargne
  5. Bureau Vallée

VO65

  1. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team — 3 points
  2. Sailing Poland — 2 points
  3. Viva México — 1 point
  4. AkzoNobel Ocean Racing
  5. Team Childhood I
  6. AmberSail-2
  7. The Austrian Ocean Race Project
Published in Ocean Race
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After three weeks of intense offshore and inshore action that has seen The Ocean Race Europe’s 12-boat fleet race over 2,000 nautical miles from France to Italy, with stops in Portugal and Spain, the event’s inaugural edition will come to a climax tomorrow with a final coastal day race in Genoa.

All-important bonus points are on offer for the top three finishers in the IMOCA and VO65 class (three points for first, two for second, and one for third) and with the podium positions on the overall race leaderboard so tight, Saturday’s coastal race looks set to decide the final rankings in both classes.

Before the IMOCA fleet left Lorient at the end of June, few might have expected Robert Stanjek’s older-generation, non-foiling Offshore Team Germany IMOCA to be in first position when the race reached Italy.

But the crew of the German-flagged yacht — which uses straight daggerboards rather than the larger, more advanced foil systems of the other four newer IMOCAs — has sailed a canny race.

The German team took their medicine when they knew they had to, like in the fast-reaching conditions on Leg 1 in the Atlantic when they were outgunned by the foilers, but also rammed home their own design advantage at every opportunity possible.

Genoa in Italy is hosting the finale of the inaugural The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceGenoa in Italy is hosting the finale of the inaugural The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

A win in the Cascais coastal race, a second place on Leg 2 into Alicante and a stunning victory in the unpredictably light-airs third leg through the Mediterranean to Genoa sees them now at the top of the IMOCA standings with 14 points.

“I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved so far,” Stanjek said. “Now we need to prepare for the coastal race, just as we have for the other legs, and we will see what happens.”

However, the two other highly competitive podium-placed teams — Frenchman Thomas Ruyant’s second placed LinkedOut (FRA) on 13 points, and Charlie Enright’s third-placed American-entry, 11th Hour Racing Team on 12 points — will be going all out to snatch overall victory in what is being viewed as the first test of the fully crewed potential of the new generation foiling IMOCAs.

Ruyant, the Class 40 winner in the 2010 Route du Rhum and sixth-place finisher in the Vendée Globe 2020-21, is highly a competitive sailor and will be psyching his crew up for tomorrow’s final tilt at the overall IMOCA 60 top spot.

Although they struggled on the inshore course in Cascais, the French crew has been on the podium in all the offshore legs — third on Leg 1, first on Leg 2, second on Leg 3 – and will be hoping for foiling conditions on the Gulf of Genoa tomorrow afternoon.

Similarly, the crew of the third-placed United States entry 11th Hour Racing Team — who sailed in race mode across the Atlantic from their home base in Newport, Rhode Island to compete in The Ocean Race Europe — are on 12 points and will have their eyes fixed firmly on an overall victory in the Italian coastal sprint.

Swiss sailor Justine Mettraux is confident looking to Saturday’s race: “We did really well in the last coastal race in Cascais. We have to continue to work smoothly together as we’ve done so far and manoeuvre the boat well. This last part of the race is a very different exercise compared to the longer legs, but I think we will be good at this, and will definitely give our best for this final spurt.”

After a second place in leg one and in the Cascais coastal, the team was somewhat hamstrung by not being able to use their port foil after an incident at the start of the second leg from Cascais. However, Enright and his crew adapted well to their boat’s new configuration to finish third both in Alicante and in Genova.

In the VO65 class, the Portuguese entry Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team’s crew have lived up to their pre-race reputation as favourites.

The team — skippered by French solo ocean racer Yoann Richomme — led for much of Leg 1 from Lorient to their homeport Cascais before dropping to seventh in the final miles. Since then, however, Richomme’s crew has picked up maximum points, with wins in the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy coastal race, and on the second (Cascais to Alicante) and third (Alicante to Genova) legs.

More coastal racing in The Ocean Race Europe earlier this month | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceMore coastal racing in The Ocean Race Europe earlier this month | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

This dominant performance has accrued the Portuguese team 18 points, and yet their position atop the VO65 leader board is not assured.

“It looks very light, but hopefully we’ll have some good conditions to race,” Richomme said. “We’re fully prepared for this. It’s down to the little details in races like this as the level across the fleet is so good. It could play any way as it’s going to be a complicated one I’m sure.”

The crew of the Netherlands entry AkzoNobel Ocean Racing have harried the Mirpuri Foundation sailors throughout this first-ever staging of The Ocean Race Europe and currently sit in second place on 17 points after finishing fifth in Leg 1, second in the Cascais coastal race and second on the subsequent legs.

Led by Australian Chris Nicholson — an Olympian and veteran of five round-the-world races — the crew of the Dutch boat are gunning for overall victory and will be looking for any opportunity tomorrow to topple their rivals from the top spot.

Likewise, third-placed Sailing Team Poland (POL), skippered by Dutchman Bouwe Bekking — who finished third in the 2017-18 around-the-world edition of The Ocean Race — is on 15 points and therefore also within striking distance of overall victory.

The Ocean Race Europe boats in Genoa await their last chance to put points on the leaderboard | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceThe Ocean Race Europe boats in Genoa await their last chance to put points on the leaderboard | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

Meanwhile, fourth-placed Team Childhood I (NED), led by two-time America’s Cup winner Simeon Tienpont (NED), is on 12 points and well aware that a win in tomorrow’s inshore race could potentially elevate them into an overall podium place.

Extremely light winds are forecast in Genoa at tomorrow’s scheduled start times for the VO65s (1000 UTC/1200 CEST) and IMOCAs (1015 UTC/1215 CEST).

If conditions are too calm for racing, there could be a postponement on the water. Under the event rules, the latest possible start time on Saturday is 1400 local time (CEST). Should there be no coastal race, due to weather, the results after Leg 3 become the final results of The Ocean Race Europe.

As soon as possible after racing, a prize-giving ceremony will take place ashore, with prizes awarded to the top three teams in the IMOCA and VO65 classes.

Watch the Coastal Race Finale on all of the usual The Ocean Race platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and at www.theoceanrace.com

The Ocean Race Europe - Overall Leaderboard (after Leg 3)

IMOCA

  1. Offshore Team Germany — 14 points
  2. LinkedOut — 13 points
  3. 11th Hour Racing Team — 12 points
  4. CORUM L’Epargne — 7 points
  5. Bureau Vallée — 5 points

VO65

  1. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team — 18 points
  2. AkzoNobel Ocean Racing — 17 points
  3. Sailing Poland — 15 points
  4. Team Childhood I — 12 points
  5. The Austrian Ocean Race Project — 10 points
  6. AmberSail-2 — 9 points
  7. Viva México — 8 points
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Offshore Team Germany — the non-foiling IMOCA 60 skippered by German Olympian Robert Stanjek — has pulled off a spectacular victory in the third and final offshore leg of The Ocean Race Europe.

After almost four days of racing since leaving Alicante, Spain on Sunday afternoon (13 June), the German team arrived in Genoa, Italy at 0936 UTC today, Thursday 17 June, having taken full advantage of their yacht’s superior light-wind performance compared to the four other foil-equipped entries.

Stanjek and his crew — navigator Benjamin Dutreux (FRA), Annie Lush (GBR), Phillip Kasüske (GER) and onboard reporter Felix Diemer (GER) — made an early split away from the rest of the fleet when they headed north soon after leaving Alicante.

At the same time, the four foiling IMOCAs — Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team (USA), Louis Burton’s Bureau Vallée (FRA), Nicolas Troussel’s CORUM L’Épargne (FRA) and Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut (FRA) — elected to stay closely grouped on a more south-easterly route over the first 48 hours.

Despite some slowdowns in the light and patchy winds around the Balearic Islands, Offshore Team Germany were mostly able to make steady progress along the 600-nautical-mile course and at one point had opened up a close to 100nm lead over the chasing pack.

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team celebrate their Leg 3 victory in the dock at Genoa | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceMirpuri Foundation Racing Team celebrate their Leg 3 victory in the dock at Genoa | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

That lead was eroded considerably in the last 36 hours as the foilers found some stronger breeze that allowed them to sail closer to their true potential. But when the German entry crossed the line in the Gulf of Genoa this morning, the chasing pack was still over 20nm away.

“Actually, it was not our plan to escape from the fleet, but sometimes things turn out a bit different than your plan it,” Stanjek said. “All our routings were north of the Balearics and so this was, for us, a clear call — and I thought some other teams would decide the same.

“We climbed up the Spanish coastline north and then we found a lane offshore with good pressure, and all of a sudden we lifted from the fleet like crazy. Within five or six hours the split was so massive and for us it was a gift. Since that moment, we were aware that we have to sail our own race because the difference between the fleet and us was already 50 miles.

“But this race was about so much more than the hardware,” Stanjek said. “I think one of the key factors to me was Benjamin [Dutreux] in this race. He’s a very good navigator, very clear and tough strategist. I think we both worked well together. It was probably me doing a little bit more the risk management on his advice — but he did a great, great job.

“And the whole team also stayed focused and awake. We had difficult parts in the race where everyone closed in, and we had no breeze at all. Sailing upwind in an IMOCA in three knots is not really fun.

“This is just the start of… let’s call it a second career. I’m not a standard offshore sailor. I’ve raced in the Olympic classes for a long, long time. But after the Olympics, I started to enjoy offshore sailing. So I hope this race will bring us closer to the start to the next Ocean Race. I can’t actually wait to to get to the starting line.”

Second place in the IMOCAs went to the blue-hulled LinkedOut, whose skipper Thomas Ruyant had been downbeat before the leg about his boat’s chances of performing well in the forecast ultra-light wind passage.

Nevertheless, Ruyant’s crew, who led the fleet offshore last night in search of more wind, were today able to overhaul the American 11th Hour Racing Team in a drag race on the approach to Genoa.

As the wind dropped away closer to shore, LinkedOut slipped across the Leg 3 finish line at a sedate seven knots with 11th Hour Racing Team completing the IMOCA podium places just minutes later.

Nearly three hours would pass before the two remaining IMOCAs crossed the line, with less than three minutes separating Bureau Vallée in fourth place and CORUM L’Epargne in fifth.

LinkedOut’s crew are all smiles at their second-place finish in the IMOCA 60 class | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceLinkedOut’s crew are all smiles at their second-place finish in the IMOCA 60 class | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The points awarded to the top three IMOCA finishers in this leg mean that each of Germany, LinkedOut and 11th Hour Racing Team will have an opportunity to win The Ocean Race Europe with the right result in the Coastal Race on Saturday.

Earlier today, it was the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team earning a spectacular come from behind win in the VO65 class over AkzoNobel Ocean Racing and Sailing Poland.

It was pitch black in Genoa when the Portuguese team, led by eminent French offshore skipper Yoann Richomme, finished the leg at 22:51:57 UTC late Wednesday night, after around three-and-a-half days of racing.

Hours earlier, Richomme’s crew — who started leg three tied on 11 points with AkzoNobel Ocean Racing at the top of the VO65 leaderboard — had been in third place, 10nm behind the longtime fleet leader Sailing Poland (POL), skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED), and four nautical miles adrift of the second placed Netherlands entry Team Childhood I, led by Dutchman Simeon Tienpont.

Sensing that the breeze along the Italian coast would fade away as night fell, the Portuguese team made the bold decision to tack away from the fleet in search of new wind further offshore. It was a move that looked risky initially, especially given that their heading initially appeared to be taking them away from the finish line.

11th Hour Racing Team on the final approach | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race11th Hour Racing Team on the final approach | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Ultimately, though, the gambit paid huge dividends as they were eventually able to tack back towards Genoa in the best breeze of the evening, and within a couple of hours had leapfrogged themselves into the lead.

“What a comeback!” Richomme exclaimed shortly after the finish. “A crazy, crazy leg — it felt like two weeks of sailing. We fought hard. We knew that until the finish it wouldn’t be over because Genova is complicated. It’s more of a game of chess in these conditions than proper sailing.

“The crew was amazing, we kept on fighting all the way, very calm. Team Poland moved into the lead with a tiny move near Mallorca and we thought we would never get them back.

“But we knew there was a little move to do in the Gulf of Genoa. We knew it was the favoured side, but then all the others kept on moving inside the bay. We thought it wasn’t going to happen for us and then suddenly things turned.

“We knew we were in the right position, but we didn’t expect to overtake Team Poland and win it — we thought we would be fighting for second.”

Also benefitting from the offshore route was Chris Nicholson’s AkzoNobel Ocean Racing. The Netherlands team was in fifth place before heading offshore in parallel with Mirpuri, but soon moved up to second as the new breeze brought them powering in from the southeast at speeds over 13 knots, overtaking Erik Brockmann’s Viva México (MEX), Team Childhood I and Sailing Poland to take second place.

“This was a big relief,” Nicholson said moments after stepping off the AkzoNobel boat. “We got ourselves behind early on in this leg and when that happens all you hope for is another chance. Fortunately, there was plenty of opportunity to be had today and we grabbed hold of several of them.

“There was plenty of thought that went into it. Our routing and everything we had told us to go the way we did go. But sailor’s instinct would have sent us closer to the shore. For once, I listened to the science, and in the end we chose what we thought had the best chance of success.”

In contrast to the excitement aboard the first two finishers, there will be disappointment for the Sailing Poland crew who had led the VO65s since early in the leg, but as a result of the late-stage reshuffle dropped back to third place and crossed the line just before 3am UTC.

Next was Team Childhood I some 80 minutes later, with Viva Méxio in fifth (04:46:44 UTC), Ambersail-2 in sixth (05:25:48 UTC) and tThe Austrial Ocean Race Project trailing in seven place, more than nine hours behind the leader (07:53:39 UTC).

Bureau Vallée in light airs making slow but steady progress to their forth-place finish in Genoa | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team consolidates its position at the top of the leader board on 18 points, with AkzoNobel Ocean Racing second on 17 points.

This sets up Saturday’s final coastal race — where points will be awarded to the top three teams only (3 points for a win, 2 points for second, 1 point for third) — as a showdown to decide the overall VO65 class standings in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe.

For the weary sailors, Friday holds the promise of a quieter day of scheduled, local pro-am sailing.

But the pressure stays on as today’s results mean both the IMOCA and VO65 podium positions for The Ocean Race Europe — and the winners of The Ocean Race Europe trophy — will be decided on Saturday 19 June.

Tune into live coverage of the coastal race in Genoa on The Ocean Race YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as www.theoceanrace.com before 11am IST on Saturday (start time TBC).

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Another 24 hours of light-wind racing out on the Mediterranean on the third and final leg of The Ocean Race Europe saw both the VO65 and IMOCA 60 fleets compress significantly today, Wednesday 16 June, as they push towards the finish line in Genoa, Italy.

In the five-boat IMOCA 60 class, the trailing group of four foilers — 11th Hour Racing Team (USA), LinkedOut (FRA), Bureau Vallée (FRA), and CORUM L’Épargne (FRA) — started to make better progress in new breeze, eating considerably into the leg-long lead established by the non-foiling Offshore Team Germany (GER) skippered by Robert Stanjek (GER).

At 0000 UTC this morning, Stanjek and his crew — navigator Benjamin Dutreux (FRA), Annie Lush (GBR), Phillip Kasüske (GER), and their onboard reporter, Felix Diemer (GER) — were 97 natural miles/180km ahead of the pack.

A moment to reflect on board 11th Hour Racing Team | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean RaceA moment to reflect on board 11th Hour Racing Team | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean Race

This afternoon at 1600 UTC/1700 CEST that lead had been more than halved to 45nm as the American-flagged 11th Hour Racing Team — made up of skipper Charlie Enright (USA), past winners of The Ocean Race Pascal Bidégorry (FRA) and Simon Fisher (GBR), Swiss round-the-world sailor Justine Mettraux and onboard reporter Amory Ross (USA) — leads a charge from the foilers in new breeze that has seen the yachts accelerate to consistent double-digit speeds for the first time in 48 hours.

“We’re trying to push hard for sure,” said Stanjek from on board the German boat. “But it’s just very tricky on this coastline. Overall, I’m very happy with the sailing on a big lead over the rest of the fleet. We just have to sail our race and bring it home safe. But we have to stay focussed — it’s not a given.”

“Well, we’re sailing these ocean-going machines inside the Mediterranean Sea, so it's very complicated,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s Charlie Enright.

On board The Austrian Ocean Race Project | Credit: Stefan Leitner/The Austrian Ocean Race Project/The Ocean RaceOn board The Austrian Ocean Race Project | Credit: Stefan Leitner/The Austrian Ocean Race Project/The Ocean Race

“There's not a lot of wind and they don’t go well in not a lot of wind. So you need to squeeze every ounce of performance out of them or you may never get started again if you stop. And we’ve done more manoeuvres in this leg probably than we have in the rest of the race combined already. So it’’s really tricky. And you got to stay on your game.”

There’s more of that to come, with another night of light winds and calm areas forecast before the IMOCA fleet finds its way to Genoa tomorrow, Thursday 17 June.

But further ahead, the seven VO65s continue to make the best of light-to-moderate conditions with the entire fleet of identical one-design yachts now within 100nm of Genoa.

Sailing Team Poland was still in front this afternoon, albeit with a dramatically reduced lead over their nearest rivals, second-placed Team Childhood I (NED) and Mirpuri Foundation racing Team (POR) in third.

The Polish-flagged yacht, skippered by Dutch serial round-the-world racer Bouwe Bekking, has led the VO65 class for the majority of this third leg from Alicante in Spain and at one point was 27nm/50km ahead of the pack. Since yesterday that advantage has been pegged back to just over 7nm at time of publication, and at one point was less than 5nm.

With just over 35nm still to race to Genoa, some 40nm separates the VO65 leader Sailing Team Poland from seventh-placed The Austrian Ocean Race Project (AUT), which is currently the fastest in their class.

The Polish team’s nearest rivals — Team Childhood I, skippered by Simeon Tienpont (NED), and the Yoann Richomme (FRA)-skippered Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Racing — are between 7 and 8nm behind and ready to pounce.

Facing the elements on board Ambersail-2 | Credit: Aiste Ridikaite/Ambersail-2/The Ocean RaceFacing the elements on board Ambersail-2 | Credit: Aiste Ridikaite/Ambersail-2/The Ocean Race

But with the chances high of a breeze shutdown tonight on the approach to Genoa, at this stage none of the chasing fleet can be ruled out of a leg-three podium position.

“We managed to get away from Mallorca and Minorca with the Polish, although they were leading by 10 miles and managed to pull away from the rest of the field by almost, you know, 20 miles…” said Yoann Richomme on board the Mirpuri Foundation boat. “Luck can turn and it’s still a long leg to Genoa.”

“There’s still a lot to fight for,” said navigator Will Harris with the fourth-placed AkzoNobel Ocean Racing. “We’ve got Poland who were 22-23 miles ahead of us last night; now that’s down to 13 miles. So we’ll see kind of how the opportunities come up. But still a whole load of snakes and ladders to play before we get to finish.”

Forty winks for the crew on board VO65 leaders Sailing Poland | Credit: Ewa Fijoleck/Sailing Poland/The Ocean RaceForty winks for the crew on board VO65 leaders Sailing Poland | Credit: Ewa Fijoleck/Sailing Poland/The Ocean Race

Latest estimates predict that the earliest arrivals in Genoa would be near midnight tonight, but there is significant uncertainty in that ETA. If the wind holds as it is, the leading VO65s could arrive over two hours earlier.

But if the wind dies out as forecast, the boats could be drifting, becalmed, within just miles of the finishing line well into the morning hours.

There will be live coverage of the finishes in Genoa on The Ocean Race YouTube and Facebook platforms as well as www.theoceanrace.com. Track the latest fleet positions on The Ocean Race website HERE.

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