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German city Kiel to host 2025 start of The Ocean Race Europe

The Ocean Race

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The 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. The event is scheduled to start on 10 August, 2025.

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.

Two teams were represented at the media event in Kiel on Wednesday – Team Malizia and Team Holcim-PRB – and both confirmed their intention to be on the starting line.

The race in 2025 will be the second edition of The Ocean Race Europe, following a debut event in the summer of 2021. This event will build on the foundations of the inaugural race and will be held under the banner of “Connecting Europe” with a race course that stretches from the Baltic Sea, through the North Sea and English Channel, into the Atlantic Ocean before a finish in the Mediterranean Sea.

Racing will take place in the newest generation of high-tech IMOCA boats that foil above the water at record-breaking speeds.

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

“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.

“This Race for the Ocean is also about creating real changes in policy for the Ocean, calling for a reset in the relationship between humanity and the Ocean. Initiatives around The Ocean Race Europe will support learning initiatives for race fans and school children while our on board 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.”

“Having the data gathered by the sailors in The Ocean Race is incredibly useful for our studies. The ocean is generally under-sampled and in places like the Southern Ocean this is especially the case, so this allows us to learn about the ocean and how it is changing over time and feeds into predictive models as well,” confirmed Léa Olivier, a researcher with the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research who is one of the scientists using the data collected during The Ocean Race.

The Ocean Race
The Ocean Race 2022-23 – 9 June 2023. Team Holcim – PRB during the Fly-By in Kiel, Germany.

Racing is scheduled to start on 10 August 2025 from Kiel and finish in the Mediterranean Sea approximately six weeks later, depending on the final race route. More city announcements are anticipated this spring.

“The enthusiasm for sailing is evident in Kiel year after year, with many local regattas and of course during the internationally renowned, Kiel Week,” said Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, the Lord Mayor of Kiel.

“Last year we were able to welcome The Ocean Race with a Fly-By – a brilliant success that proved once again that this city lives and loves sailing. The fact that we will now be the starting port of The Ocean Race Europe 2025 makes me incredibly proud.

“Our aim is to combine this event with the topic of ocean health and protection. We are really looking forward to hosting the top sailors from all over the world and proving once again that Kiel.Sailing.City is the world capital of sailing.”

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.Sailing.City.

“We are all really happy and excited to have The Ocean Race Europe starting in Kiel next year! Kiel feels like home to me and I grew up sailing here over the years. It’s also home to Geomar (one of the world’s leading institutions in marine research) and our science partners.

“This will be an amazing chance for the public to come and meet the team, see the boat and get in touch with our education programme in 2025. For me and Team Malizia this is a great announcement and we can’t wait to compete in the race!”

Rosalin ‘Rosie’ Kuiper, who joined Team Holcim-PRB after racing around the world with Team Malizia last year, participated on Wednesday via video link from Holcim headquarters in Switzerland. “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.” she said.

“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’!”

The Ocean Race Europe will have the support of the EU Mission – Restore our Ocean and Waters, an initiative to raise awareness about the Ocean and protect it from current challenges.

“Let me first congratulate the whole team of the Ocean Race and greet and thank the Mayor of Kiel for hosting this important event and for joining us in our Mission to Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030,” said Elisabetta Balzi, Head of Unit, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, Healthy Oceans & Seas.

“By connecting the people and places where the transitions need to happen with the necessary solutions and knowledge, the Mission is giving cities, and broadly speaking citizens, an enabling capacity to manage and accelerate the challenging transitions which require urgent actions,” she concluded.

“The incredible response to The Ocean Race Fly-By last summer, the thousands of visitors from Kiel and the Kiel region, we have proven that there is a big appetite for such an event,” said Uwe Wanger, the Managing Director of Kiel-Marketing.

“Planning and implementing it was a big challenge for us. But the global attention, the media coverage from around the world, the visitors on site and the overwhelmingly positive response from partners and stakeholders was a great reward and a powerful incentive to bring The Ocean Race Europe to Kiel in 2025. Now it’s time to get everyone on board again and build enthusiasm for this new opportunity.”

“Schleswig-Holstein and world-class sailing are inseparable. That’s why I’m really pleased that Kiel will be hosting the start of The Ocean Race Europe 2025 next year,” said Magdalena Finke, State Secretary in the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of the Interior.

“This is going to be very positive for our sports region Schleswig-Holstein, and also a great organisational challenge that we at the Ministry of the Interior responsible for sport will fully support to ensure we are able to celebrate a sailing event on the fjord that is recognised worldwide as an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”

Images © The Ocean Race

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