Boating NZ - - Boat World -

An agree­ment be­tween Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and the In­ter­na­tional Mono­hull Open Class As­so­ci­a­tion (IMOCA) will see IMOCA 60 yachts par­tic­i­pat­ing in the next round-the-world event. “This is a first step of many in pre­par­ing for the next edi­tion of the race in 2021,” says Jo­han Salen, co-pres­i­dent of the VOR. “Mov­ing the race into foil­ing mono­hulls un­der the IMOCA class will mo­ti­vate more sailors, teams and the wider marine in­dus­try to pre­pare for the next edi­tion.

“Part­ner­ing with the ex­ist­ing IMOCA in­fra­struc­ture means the pro­fes­sional off­shore sail­ing cal­en­dar be­comes more uni­fied and ef­fi­cient. This helps the sport as a whole and helps to build a sus­tain­able busi­ness model for teams and sailors.”

The move to in­clude IMOCA boats will en­sure the race con­tin­ues to be at the fore­front of yacht de­sign and tech­nol­ogy while chal­leng­ing the best sailors in the world in a fully-crewed, off­shore en­vi­ron­ment.

“This is very ex­cit­ing,” said Bouwe Bekking, a veteran of eight Volvo Ocean and Whit­bread Round the World races. “For the younger gen­er­a­tion of sailors, they’re all about foil­ing and surf­ing and go­ing fast and you have to get the best sailors in­volved in the race. With the Open 60s, they’ve nailed it, be­cause this is what the sailors want.”

The deal means the lead­ing de­sign­ers in off­shore sail­ing will be en­gaged in the next edi­tion of the race with the goal of pro­duc­ing the fastest fully-crewed off­shore round the world rac­ing mono­hull in his­tory.

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