As the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 builds towards an exciting finish in June in The Hague, organisers can confirm the next edition of the race will start in 2021, under new ownership.
Atlant Ocean Racing Spain, led by Richard Brisius, Johan Salén and Jan Litborn, will take over the Volvo Ocean Race from Volvo Group and Volvo Cars, the co-owners of the event for the past 20 years.
Brisius, Salén and Litborn have extensive experience in the premier round the world race, having worked with seven Volvo Ocean Race campaigns over the past 28 years. Brisius and Salén started as sailors in the 1989-90 race, before finding success as team managers, including winning efforts with EF Language (1997-98) and Ericsson 4 (2008-09). Most recently, they managed Team SCA, the all-female entry, in the last edition of the race.
In November 2017, Brisius and Salén were named President and co-President of the current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“The history of this round the world race is inspiring and the future is very promising,” said Brisius. “This race is about people and I am humbled by the prospects to serve some of the finest athletes and sport professionals in this world as well as leading partners to the race and host cities.
“I have been fortunate as many of my dreams have come true. First my dream to sail this race, then my dream be a team manager, followed by my dream to manage the race, and now the dream to be able to steer the future of the race.
“We are in this for the long run and we are determined that the race will go from strength to strength as a sustainable premier world event. I look forward to being part of evolving this unique race by co-operating together with the teams, cities, Volvo and all our key stakeholders.”
The organisers of the race are considering having two classes of boats racing in 2021, potentially with the existing Volvo Ocean 65 one-design class and another class, yet to be determined, competing in the same race.
“We will continue to innovate, and it is promising that from day one we can think long-term as we have the resources secured to deliver the next race already,” said Salén.
“Opening the race to another existing class would allow us to tap into an existing inventory of round the world race boats that are at the cutting edge of technology. We see this as a way to challenge the best sailors in the world with a class that encourages development and sits at the forefront of the sport.”
The current leadership group of the Volvo Ocean Race will continue to engage with stakeholders in the coming weeks to move the race to the next level commercially and from a sporting perspective with a view to sharing some more details by the end of this edition of the race.
While the next race will start in 2021, additional significant racing activity is expected to take place as early as possible to offer stakeholders an extended period of activation in the build-up to the start of the next race and to allow future teams the opportunity to build an extensive training programme.
Volvo Cars will remain as a sponsor of the 2021 race, while there is an ongoing conversation already with existing host cities and sponsors for the 2021 race and prior sailing activities.
“The Volvo Ocean Race has been a great vehicle for building customer relationships, strengthening the Volvo brand and presenting our company and our products to a global audience,” says Kina Wileke, Executive Vice President, Volvo Group Communication.
“After twenty years we feel that it is time to hand over responsibility for this prestigious competition to a new and capable owner with the experience and know-how needed to develop it even further,” says Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President at Volvo Cars. “Volvo Cars will continue to support the next edition of the race as a sponsor with special focus on sustainability.”
The current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain in October 2017 and will continue as planned.
On the water, the racing has been incredibly compelling, and is building towards one of the closest finishes in the history of the race.
Off the water, this edition of the race is setting new standards for media value, race village footfall, and fan engagement, as well as a driving significant economic impact for the host cities.
The 2017-18 edition of the race is scheduled to finish in The Hague on June 30.