Two new VO65 campaigns for the 2021 edition of The Ocean Race around the world have been revealed at a live telecast from the race’s headquarters in Alicante, Spain today.
First up, Portuguese businessman Paulo Mirpuri announced that the Mirpuri Foundation would be backing a VO65 campaign in the next race. This follows on from Mirpuri’s support for the young, mixed gender team Turn the Tide on Plastic skippered by British yachtsman Dee Caffari in the last race.
Speaking live from Lisbon, Mr. Mirpuri also disclosed that he was actively exploring the possibilities of a second entry in the race, in the new IMOCA 60 development class which will be competing for the main The Ocean Race trophy.
The second VO65 campaign was announced by Kiwi sailor Bianca Cook speaking live from New Zealand. Cook – a rookie under-30 crew member with the Turn the Tide crew in the last race – said she finished the 2017-18 edition and knowing she wanted to do it again. Since then she has been working with New Zealand ocean racing legend Tony Rae to put together a VO65 campaign.
Cook was tight lipped about who else might be involved in the campaign but said that New Zealand had plenty of talented young sailors to choose from.
The next edition of The Ocean Race will start in 2021 from Alicante, Spain, with two classes of boats racing: the high-tech, foiling IMOCA 60s and the one-design VO65 fleet that provided the closest race in the history of the event in the last edition.
Richard Mason – a veteran round the world competitor and executive director of The Ocean Race – said there was lots of other interest in VO65 entries and that he expected some of those teams being announced in the coming weeks and months.
Also on the show were Spanish yachtsman Xabi Fernandez skipper of the MAPFRE entry in the last race, and Brazilian Olympic gold medallist Martine Grael who took part in her first around the world race in the last edition as a helmsman and trimmer on team AkzoNobel.
Fenrnadez has competed in the last five round the world races and confirmed that he hoped to be on the startling in 2021 with a competitive IMOCA 60 team. Grael meanwhile remembered how challenging the last edition had been at times but nevertheless said she was looking forward to experiencing the race again in the next edition. With which team that might be was not revealed.
Also briefly appearing on the show in a short segment of prerecorded footage expounding the virtues of the latest generation IMOCA 60s were British solo around the world yachtswoman Sam Davies, and French solo skipper Paul Meilhat.
The live broadcast – which went out live on The Ocean Race website and its social media channels – also revealed the race’s new official logo since changing its name from the Volvo Ocean Race when ownership passed from the Swedish car and truck manufacturer to Atlant Ocean Racing – the management company run by Richard Brisius and Johan Salen, joint presidents of the race for the last edition.
The announcement also confirmed sustainability partners 11th Hour Racing and Blue Water were back on board for another lap of the planet, both helping to reinforce the race’s anti-plastic ocean pollution message.
Next to nothing was revealed about the possible course for the race – for that we must wait until the stopover port selection process is completed this summer – but Newport stalwart Brad Read appeared live on the show to confirm the city’s hopes of hosting a third stopover in three editions.