Yachtsponsorship.com are proud to announce a new offhore sailing challenge. From 2011, the Solo Crewed Monohull MultiHull With a Few Stops (SCMMWAFS) RACE will become the F1 of sailing. Only kidding. But actually is seems there is nothing stopping us doing it. If the current options don’t do it for you – if the boats are too big or too small or have too much carbon or not enough, or the race doesn’t start and end where you want or stop where you want – just start your own race.
Last week, from almost out of nowhere came the Portugal Ocean Race. Founded by Brian Hancock and Ricardo Diniz, the event also includes Team Adventure personnel including Larry Rosenfeld as CEO.
Information is a little bit thin. Like many of these events, seems all you need for is an announcement and a plan. We’ve contacted the race organisers with a whole bunch of questions, but haven’t had anything back yet. In the mean time, the event has a Twitter feed and a bunch of YouTube videos, talking about what prompted the founders to create a 2nd round the world race for Class 40 yachts.
It seems that the underlying positioning is that this is more like a rally than a race. More akin to the Clipper Race for ‘normal’ people having an adventure rather than professionals participating as part of a long term path to the Vendee Globe. The sell is all about visiting lovely Cape Town and seeing the sights of New Zealand with your family and less about racing.
The Portugal Ocean Race then is quite old fashioned. Based on a corinthian ideal (we’re still to learn what that means!), it is the ultimate travel experience for the passionate sailor. The benefits will be derived by the competitors, but it is hard to see how any sponsors will gain from the event as currently presented.
But the big question is why, given that there is already an Ocean race for Class 40 boats, is the event being staged at all? The 2008-09 Portimão Global Ocean Race which will become the Global Ocean Race 2011-12, seems to offer exactly the same product as the one announced last week. Our understanding is that there are some personalty clashes and politics going on, but it is a very real and current example of the sailing community not working together for the benefit of the sport. Why fragment a class, sponsorship dollars and any spectator interest into competing versions of the same event?
Josh Hall, Race Director of the Global Ocean Race will be speaking at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco in December, but we hope to have more information before then. Hall said this week:
“It is a great honour to be invited to speak at the WYRF this year and is very rewarding for us as an organisational team. We believe that we have the right race at the right moment – a highly competitive race that is financially achievable for professionals and amateurs alike. Our rapidly expanding entry list for the 2011-12 Global Ocean Race would appear to endorse our formula.”
Here are a couple of videos from the new promoters…