Barcelona, 13th December 2017.
The countdown to the Barcelona World Race 2018/19 kicked off this Wednesday with a presentation of the regatta for the international sailing community at the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB) headquarters in the Catalan capital. The fourth edition of the double-handed (two crew) round the world challenge is packed with new features, positioning this race as a pillar of the IMOCA World Championship calendar, alongside the Vendeé Globe.
On the 12th of January 2019, the start will be given to this brand-new edition of the two-crew, round the world regatta, where, for the first time the IMOCA 60 boats will be making an obligatory stopover in Sydney, Australia. This international move is a significant step for the regatta and the class globally. For the fourth edition of the regatta the FNOB will also have a brand-new headquarters and regatta control centre in the city of Barcelona. It will be situated in the Sea Experience space, next to the Maremagnum shopping centre, which will bring the competition closer to the public, who will also be able to visit the facilities.
The upcoming edition of the round the world challenge has already been given an enthusiastic response from international top flight offshore sailors with 16 teams adding the event to their racing schedule, 11 of which already have an IMOCA 60. The regatta has received interest from 26 international sailors who have contacted the Race Management team for information.
“For us it would be a success to have between 10 and 11 boats on the starting line of the next edition of the regatta”, said Xosé-Carlos Fernández, the CEO of the FNOB. opened the presentation by highlighting the importance of the Barcelona World Race for the sport of transoceanic racing globally and in particular for the city of Barcelona, where the regatta has become part of the city’s identity. The new relationship with Sydney will take Barcelona even further: “Until now we haven’t had an extra visibility platform for sponsors, but now we can offer that with the Sydney stopover. The city is a reference point which will make the regatta even more attractive to sponsors”.
The CEO of the FNOB placed special emphasis on the fact the Barcelona World Race brings together and expands on the core working values of the FNOB – sport, education & training, science and business & industry. It’s along these lines that transoceanic sailing has an immense potential to positively impact on the social fabric surrounding it.
Jacques Caraës, Race Director Barcelona World Race, outlined the new format for the round the world regatta, which will set off on the 12th of January 2019, Racing across two legs. The first leg, Barcelona to Sydney, some 13,500 nautical miles in length, is set to finish at Sydney towards the end of February. The second leg, 12,500 nautical miles in length, starts at Sydney on the 9th of March 2019 and should finish at Barcelona in mid-April.
Caraës explained how the optional co-skipper substitution would work for the second leg and further details on qualifying for the race. He also highlighted the importance of the Barcelona World Race in the class racing calendar: “La Barcelona World Race will be given a coefficient rating of 9 for the Globe Series, the IMOCA World Championships and completing one leg of the race will also be a qualifier for the Vendée Globe 2020. We’ve been working hard on making sure that teams have the greatest possibilities of finishing the race. There will also be the possibility of an authorised technical stopover of a maximum of 48 hours on each leg.”
Julia Casanueva, President of the Spanish sailing federation (RFEV) emphasised the importance of the event in Spain and expressed her full support for the round the world regatta.
“The Barcelona World Race offers our ocean sailors an incredible opportunity to join the international transoceanic sailing circuit. It is, without doubt, a unique platform, not only for our own athletes, but for boat owners, team captains and other professionals working in the world of sailing, who are also offered an opportunity to develop their careers through this event”.
Julia Casanueva also expressed her support for the FNOB’s role in creating a new model for sailing which brings the sport and society together, with huge benefits for both: “With the educational programmes and its industry programmes, the Barcelona World Race is making our sport more accessible for sponsors. This organisational model, which has been built over the past ten years by the FNOB has transformed sailing into a useful tool for education and training and business activities, whilst remaining a top-flight, highly-technical sport”.
Xavier Torres, president of the Catalan sailing federation (FCV): “We stand beside the FNOB and the regatta. For us the Barcelona World Race is the access route to offshore sailing for Catalan sailors. It’s a great opportunity for them. This format is more attractive and it’s no surprise that 16 teams have already pre-registered. We are also really proud of the fact that Barcelona is being promoted within the world of sailing”.
Antoine Mermod, the IMOCA class president spoke of the magnificent evolution of the Barcelona World Race since its first edition and also outlined how the regatta had earned its position as one of the pillars of the IMOCA Class World Championships: “We now have two star events: the Vendée Globe, a solo race, and the Barcelona World Race with two crew; that means a round the world regatta every two years, a formula which has worked very well and has received a great response from sailors and sponsors. With the new Barcelona World Race format, that reputation will be consolidated further. The work of the FNOB over the past ten years has been extraordinary and there’s no doubt that the fourth edition of the Barcelona World Race will be even more of a success”.
Marcus Hutchinson, well-known for his successful career in race and team management, highlighted the importance of the Barcelona World Race for the career development of young sailing talent and as a platform for the creation of sponsorship opportunities: “This format change, with two legs, is a very important move forward in the internationalisation of the IMOCA Class”.
Barcelona skipper Didac Costa closed the presentation today by confirming his interest in taking part in the fourth edition, which will be his third time racing round the world, following the Barcelona World Race 2014/15 and the Vendée Globe 2016: “I’m really supportive of this new format. For me, being from Barcelona, this regatta is very special and has been significant in my career”.