One of the stars of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco last week was the OC Group, headed up by Mark Turner. Visitors to the forum were welcomed by one of the Herbert Dercksen’s impressive eXtreme 40 catamarans, which dwarfed a formula one car, and despite the global economic downturn, the signs are strong for the future of the iShares Cup, with sponsors and teams already committed to the 2009 series.
“An Extreme 40 team, boat and entry into the iShares Cup costs between £350,000-£500,000, dependent on exploitation levels, yet can generate fantastic returns for every kind of sponsor in terms of pan-European exposure, global media coverage, business to business networking, and the unique hospitality opportunities afforded by the ‘fifth man’ positions and exciting track-side viewing at each iShares Cup village,” explained Mark Turner. “We’re big supporters of other higher cost campaigns like a £3-5 million IMOCA Vendée Globe investment or a £9-30 million Volvo Ocean Race team, but we are happy to have a product in the iShares Cup where teams can keep sponsors excited in the next few years at a much lower level as well – or use to supplement the bigger campaigns with a 40 that is tactically an excellent tool to help ROI across multiple territories.
“Recession doesn’t mean disaster for the sport – in fact after a few decades of continuous growth, it will I’m sure help the sport get more organised, sharpen up the sponsorship delivery, and separate the product offerings that provide excellent returns from those that don’t.”
One of the sailors taking advantage of the commerical opportunities offered by the eXtreme 40 is Franck Cammas, who will be competing in the 2009 iShares Cup with the support of Groupama. He said: “I have already taken part in two rounds, in 2007 & 8, on these 40 foot catamarans. They are really lively and sensitive boats. We will be racing in France, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Holland. Tanguy Cariou will be in charge of the crew and its training when I am on board Groupama 3.” Franck ended by saying “I want to take the opportunity to thanks Groupama for giving us the means to fulfil our ambitions for a twelfth year. Apart from Fleury Michon with Philippe Poupon, no owner has ever given such meaning to the word “faithful”. I am, therefore, very proud and even more determined, where it comes to 2009.