The following is a press release from The Ocean Race

The next edition of The Ocean Race will feature the longest Southern Ocean leg in the 50-year history of the event, an incredible 12,750 nautical mile marathon between Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil.

This is just one of the highlights of the updatedracecourse, confirmed this week.

Theraceroute for the 14th edition of the event has been rationalised in response to the logistical realities of an around the worldracein a COVID-19 environment and will start from Alicante, Spain in lateDecember/ earlyJanuary,with the final date to be announced.

From there the IMOCA and VO65 fleets will sprint out of the Mediterranean Sea to Cabo Verde, visiting this African island nation for the very first time, beforeracingdown to a perennial favourite among stopovers, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Then, a return to the roots of theRace, with a massive sojourn through the SouthernOcean, over 30 days ofracing, to Itajaí, Brazil, host of the past three stopovers in South America.

This will be the longest leg in the history of TheOceanRace, dating all the way back to the very first fully-crewed around the worldracein 1973, and will see a transit of the three great Capes – the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn – in succession, without a stopover, for the very first time.

“We believe the 12,750 nautical mile leg from Cape Town to Itajaí is a very special element – unique in history – in the nextrace,” explained Johan Salén, the Managing Director of TheOceanRace. “The ongoing and unpredictable effects of COVID have meant it is impossible, at this time, to do the planning necessary to ensure successful stops in China and New Zealand.”

“China and New Zealand remain important to the present and the future of TheOceanRace, and we plan to return to both countries again,” saidRaceChairman Richard Brisius. “We will work diligently with both to explore ways for them to have a meaningful presence in this edition as well.

“China, of course, has a strong history of hosting stopovers since 2008-09 and was the winner of the last edition of theRace, with the DongfengRaceTeam. And we consider Auckland to be a spiritual home for this event, with legends like Sir Peter Blake, Grant Dalton, Ross Field and Mike Sanderson, to name just a few among so many of the amazing Kiwis who have taken on this challenge. Their legacy is woven into the fabric of TheOceanRace.”

Following the SouthernOceanleg, and after rounding the famed Cape Horn, teams will stop in Itajaí, Brazil to recharge bodies and boats, theracecourse will take in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, before crossing the Atlantic to northern European stops in Aarhus, Denmark and The Hague in The Netherlands, before the Grand Finale finish in the Mediterranean in Genova, Italy.

Quotes from sailors and teams:

“This update to theraceroute makes it reminiscent of the originalOceanRace’s of the past, and I hope the delay of the start until after the Route du Rhum will entice more teams to join us on the start line,” said Charlie Enright, skipper of 11th HourRacingTeam. “Not only is it a simplerracefrom a logistics and organisation point of view, it should also be more cost-effective and more accessible for other IMOCA teams, particularly those looking to build-up to the 2024 Vendée Globe. The confirmed course is exciting – one month at sea,racingthrough the SouthernOcean, on the longest leg we’ve ever faced. It’s a reminder that we will need to be at the top of our game to take it on, and allows us to really hone in on our preparations, starting with the Transat Jacques Vabre this weekend.”

“When I look at TheOceanRace, I see a great opportunity,” said Paul Meilhat, winner of the Route du Rhum in 2018. “This is aracethat will push us to the limits as sailors but is also set up well for us as IMOCA sailors toracein a fully-crewed format, and showcase the fastest, foiling, offshoreraceboats to fans of the sport all around the world.”

“For Team Malizia, this is positive news,” said Boris Herrmann, who has announced an ambitious five-year programme ofracing, with a focus onoceanscience and education. “TheOceanRaceis a fantastic platform for what we are trying to achieve, both on and off the water, and the updated route and schedule puts theraceas our primary focus for 2023.”

“The updatedracesets out an epic SouthernOceanleg, even longer than when we raced from China to Rio back in the 2008-09race,” said Chris Nicholson, a six-timeraceveteran, currently putting together a campaign with W-OceanRacing. “Thisracenow combines the idealracefor the sailorswhilst still delivering for the stakeholders. I am already looking forward to it whilst also being very wary of the leg at the same time. One of the best parts of competing inTheOceanRaceis being able to push yourself and your boat to the limit, now we have been given a taller mountain to climb and I cannot wait for the challenge.”

Stopover dates will be announced shortly as the route logistics are fully confirmed.

“These are challenging but nonetheless very exciting times for international events like TheOceanRace,” reflected Brisius. “We have a clear mission ahead – to enable our sailors to achieve the extraordinary, while driving change towards a healthier, sustainable planet.

“Following on from the inaugural edition of TheOceanRaceEurope this spring, the 14th edition of the around the worldraceis the next phase in our 10-year plan of events, which includes regional and globalraces, as well as our series of TheOceanRaceSummits, designed to explore solutions and drive meaningful change towards the restoration ofoceanhealth. We will continue working with all of our stakeholders: teams, host cities, partners,racefans and media to make progress on these goals.”

Entries for theracewill be announced by participating teams over the coming months – the list of registered teams can be foundhere.

“Thisracecourse, for sailors and teams in both the IMOCA and VO65 classes, is shaping up to provide one of the toughest challenges in the long story of theRace,” Salén concluded. “Over our 50 years of history, TheOceanRacehas evolved with the times, but remained true to its core values. We’re looking forward to the next start in Alicante inDecember/Januaryto write the next chapter.”

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